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For 250 years, consistent improvements in productivity have created an engine for economic growth, greater prosperity and better standards of living. Since the Global Financial Crisis, that two-and-a-half century winning streak has stalled: productivity has flat-lined.
Productivity – how to generate it and sustain it – constitutes one of the most complex and serious challenges facing contemporary economies. It is also the focus of LRI Roundtable No. 2, to be held on 8 November 2019 at Queen’s University Belfast. Our discussion will focus on understanding the factors that drove such a dramatic take-off in productivity, how it was sustained over such a long period of time, and how and why in recent years growth has slowed.
Productivity constitutes a serious challenge both for enterprise and for public policy – inside firms and across the national and international economies. For businesses, productivity is a driver of profits and a catalyst of scale and growth within businesses. The lack of strategic focus on productivity improvement holds back many companies: repeated failure to invest, or to deploy technology are two of the most serious problems. Yet, the challenge is not only about investment and technology deployment: commentators also point to the need to develop managerial culture and practices as equally important in delivering productivity improvements. How can business leaders ensure that their managers are suitably equipped for this task?
For policymakers, a different but complementary set of considerations are at play. A broad range of policy factors relating to investment, innovation, technology, enterprise, and skills are linked to productivity growth. How can policymakers stimulate innovation ecosystems, whilst enabling businesses to leverage subsequent breakthroughs?
This is the grand challenge that we will be addressing in this LRI Roundtable event. The event offers the opportunity to consider what business leaders and policymakers can do to address the challenge of low productivity and discuss related issues such as the future of work and the role of business schools and universities in driving innovation and improvements in management education that positively affect productivity.
8th November 2019
2pm – 4pm
Queen’s University Belfast
Keynote speaker: Andy Haldane (Chief Economist, Bank of England)
Chair of roundtable: Kevin Lynch (former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet of the Canadian government)
For further details of the event and to confirm attendance please contact Michael Aldous, Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The LRI are delighted to support the launch of the new book, An Economist’s Guide to Economic History, Edited by Dr Matthias Blum and Dr Chris Colvin, colleagues at Queen’s University Belfast, and with chapters contributed by LRI Directors, Professor John Turner and Dr Michael Aldous. The book will be formally launched at an event at QUB on the 18th January with a Roundtable Discussion including contributions from Prof. Wendy Carlin, Prof. Nicholas Crafts and Paul Winfree. If you are interested in the LRI agenda please check out the book and/or come along to the launch for a stimulating discussion on the importance of history in economics.
Edited by Dr Matthias Blum and Dr Chris Colvin, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
Without economic history, economics runs the risk of being too abstract or parochial, of failing to notice precedents, trends and cycles, of overlooking the long-run and thus misunderstanding ‘how we got here’. Recent financial and economic crises illustrate spectacularly how the economics profession has not learnt from its past.
This important and unique book addresses this problem by demonstrating the power of historical thinking in economic research. A carefully curated collection of short chapters guides economics lecturers and their students through the field of economic history, and advises them on how they can actively engage with economic history in their own teaching and learning.
Matthias Blum and Christopher L. Colvin bring together important voices in the field to show readers how they can use their existing economics training to explore different facets of economic history. Each chapter introduces a question or topic, historical context or research method and explores how they can be used in economics scholarship and pedagogy. In a century characterised to date by economic uncertainty, bubbles and crashes, An Economist’s Guide to Economic History is essential reading.
THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF ECONOMICS
Riddel Hall, 18 January 2018, 1:30PM
A roundtable discussion on the past, present and future of economics as a discipline, with a particular focus on how it is taught at university and understood by the general public.
• Professor Wendy Carlin CBE (University College London), economist and director of the CORE Econ project, which aims to overhaul the way introductory economics is taught at university.
• Professor Nicholas Crafts CBE (University of Warwick), economic historian and expert on UK productivity across the past two centuries.
• Mr Paul Winfree (Heritage Foundation, Washington DC), health economist and former senior advisor on budgetary policy in Donald Trump’s White House.
Event to coincide with the official launch of An Economist’s Guide to Economic History, a new edited volume aimed at introducing economic history as a field of study to economics lecturers and their students. Published in December 2018 by Palgrave Macmillan and edited by Dr Matthias Blum and Dr Chris Colvin of Queen’s University Centre for Economic History, the book’s website is http://www.blumandcolvin.org/.