Blog: February 2017
The problem of teacher shortages is rarely out of the news. Only this week the Education Select Committee concluded that the government is failing to take adequate measures to tackle "significant teacher shortages" in England. Gaps in the classroom are being filled by supply teachers, some hired by agencies. Yet, while agency staff usage and spending in the NHS frequently attract headlines in the national media, much less attention is paid to the spiralling costs of agency supply teachers in England’s state schools.
It has been said many times that the NHS is at breaking point. Talk of bed shortages, wasted resources, understaffing and missed targets saturate the media. A Government Adviser has even said recently that hospitals are in a ‘state of war’. High rates of use of agency workers are seen as a symptom of a sick NHS but the reasons for their spiralling use are poorly understood. New research by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) set out to explain why agency workers seem to be keeping the NHS alive. The research diagnoses the root causes of high agency spending, revealing that agency working is only the symptom of a much larger, chronic problem around NHS staffing.
There is a growing sense that globalisation, by equalising the international price for labour and for capital, has acted to reduce both real wages and real interest rates – the former means that labour earns less but the latter tends to inflate asset prices. This wedge in the return to capital and labour may help us understand why income and wealth inequality has increased in the recent past.
Last year, I was invited to present a keynote address to the 20th annual conference of the FMM Research Network on Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Policies, “Towards Pluralism in Macroeconomics”, held in Berlin on October 20th – 22nd.
The February 2017 National Institute Economic Review discusses the possible consequences for the US economy of the significant changes in economic policy promised by the new US administration.
In yesterday’s blog post we discussed findings from our research on older workers and the workplace. Our focus was on the experiences of older workers, but today we consider the employer perspective. The fact that older individuals are remaining in work is good news for the individuals concerned, since working is associated with higher incomes and better health. It is also good for the Exchequer, increasing the tax take. But is it good for employers?
More and more older individuals are working. It’s good news that more people are working longer, with potential benefits for both individuals and the economy. But employment rates still drop notably when people reach their 50s and 60s.
Rules have become an increasingly prominent – even defining – feature of EU economic governance as a result of the various reforms undertaken to resolve the euro crisis. There are now rules on fiscal deficits and debt levels, set out in the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), and an EU Directive required Member States to enshrine fiscal rules in their national legal order.