While economic statistics play an unprecedentedly large part in public debate, and many experts make use of them, the UK did not – until recently - have a dedicated academic centre of expertise. All this changed in November 2016 with the creation of the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (ESCoE), an investment by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in response to the findings of the Bean Review. NIESR is proud to be leading the consortium of prestigious institutions which make up the Centre, namely King’s College London, innovation foundation Nesta, University of Cambridge, Warwick Business School (University of Warwick) and Strathclyde Business School. ESCoE’s focus will be to provide analysis of emerging and future issues in measuring the modern economy. The centre will offer the capacity for fundamental methodological and conceptual work, which will include best ways to address the challenge of measuring new forms of economic activity in a globalised world, meeting the needs for local area statistics and the productivity puzzle. Moreover ESCoE will offer a platform for constructive discussion and dialogue around official statistics, to feed into the development and improvement of ONS economic statistics and data processing methodologies. The Centre will generate mechanisms for greater collaboration between ONS and external experts. Operating from NIESR’s office in central London, the Centre will be a venue for lecture series and masterclasses, a meeting point for researchers and stakeholders, and a common base for international visitors and secondments to the ESCoE, as well as a common base for ESCoE PhD students and junior researchers. The ambitious core research programme consists of thirteen projects in three broad areas: National Accounts and Beyond GDP, Productivity and the Modern Economy, Regional and Labour Market Statistics. For further details of our research programme see here.
Rebuilding Macroeconomics Network
After economists and traditional economic models failed to predict the financial crash of 2008, many called for a rethink on how we study macroeconomics - the branch of economics that deals with how the wider economy behaves and which is concerned with issues such as economic growth, inflation, employment and financial stability. This is what led to the creation by the Economic and Social Research Council of a new Network, ‘Rebuilding Macroeconomics’, to be led by Dr Angus Armstrong, Director of Macroeconomics here at NIESR. The Network will champion new interdisciplinary approaches to studying the macroeconomy, and investigate new methodologies which offer alternatives or complements to mainstream macroeconomic models. It will fund innovative new research initiatives and explore creative and fresh approaches and methods to studying the field. The aim of the Network is to transform the field of macroeconomics into one that is once again useful and relevant to policymakers and the public, asking and answering questions about economic issues affecting the real world and the people in it. The Network will also directly engage the public with macroeconomics, exploring relevant issues through an extensive out-reach programme ranging from 'town hall' style debates across the UK to a series of broadcast radio debates and podcasts. The Network will consist of between four and six 'research hubs', each of which will address a fundamental macroeconomics question. It will be led by a team of 25 world leading experts taken not only from different branches of economics, but also from psychology, anthropology, sociology, neuroscience, economic history, political science, biology and physics. In order to make sure that the research is relevant to current policy issues, the team of academics will work closely alongside senior policy makers, representatives from civil society groups, business organisations and the public. The ultimate goal is to explore which new research questions are valuable, and which new research ideas would benefit most from future research investment.
The Centre For Macroeconomics is a research centre that brings together a group of world class experts to carry out pioneering research on the global economic crisis and help design policies to alleviate it. Chaired by LSE’s Nobel Prize-winning economics professor, Christopher Pissarides, the centre encompasses experts from Cambridge University, LSE, University College London (UCL), the Bank of England and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. Five major research programmes address the key issues of unemployment, fiscal austerity, financial markets, shifts in the world economy and the development of new methodologies. It is hoped that new methodologies and better communication with policy makers will enhance the research and will lead to better policy decisions.
This ESRC-funded Research Centre investigates the role of lifelong learning in promoting economic competitiveness and social cohesion, and in mediating the interactions between the two. The Centre is hosted by UCL Institute of Education, University College London. Key areas of research include: i) the social and cultural foundations of learning, knowledge production and transfer, and innovation, within the context of a changing economy, and ii) the effects of knowledge and skill distribution on income equality, social cohesion and competitiveness. It has a programme of multi-disciplinary and mixed method research which addresses these issues at the level of the individual life course, through studies of city-regions and sectors in the UK, and through comparative analysis across OECD countries. LLAKES aims to work with policymakers, education and training professionals, employers, trade unions and other interested parties to improve the way in which national and international research evidence is shared and used.
The Money Macro and Finance Research Group is a study group which exists to promote and disseminate economic research in these fields of study, primarily in the UK. The group was founded in 1969 as the Money Study Group and quickly established itself as a key national forum for monetary economists in the UK. It was the first of the study groups to be funded by the Social Science Research Council. It has broadened its focus and its label - The Money, Macro and Finance Research Group - reflects this. Membership is open to all interested parties in the UK and around the world.
A dynamic microsimulation model for non-specialists The Simulator of Individual Dynamic Decisions (SIDD) is a modelling project that has been in development at NIESR since 2002. Its purpose is to make current best practice economic analysis of savings and labour supply decisions accessible to non-specialists. It has also been designed to reduce the set-up costs involved in adapting such methods to alternative economic contexts. We have made the SIDD model freely available with the objective of increasing the policy impact of this exciting field of microeconomic research.