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Festival of Social Science 2019 at NIESR

Event date
Monday, 4 November, 2019
Event time
09:00 to 17:30
Event place
National Institute of Social and Economic Research
Event Type
In-person event
  • This event has passed.



In recognition for its growing profile and its commitment to impact and engagement, NIESR was awarded an Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) from the Economic and Social Research Council in Spring of this year. As part of this, NIESR is delighted to be hosting its first ever Festival of Social Sciences this November. With events ranging from the inaugural lectures of two brand new series to an open lecture on the emotional economics of football fans, it is set to be an engaging and dynamic week...

Download the full brochure here

Our planned events are:  

Monday 4th November

Inaugural Prais Lecture on Productivity:  How not to miss the productivity revival once again

Speaker:  Bart Van Ark (Chief Economist at The Conference Board. New York)

Venue: NIESR 

Time: 17.30-18.30, followed by a drinks reception 

You can watch a video of this event here and a summary video here

This will be the first of a series of annual lectures in honour of renowned economist Professor Sig Prais. Bart van Ark will explore the sources of long productivity slowdowns, including that of the past decade, with a special look at the importance of education and skills in the workplace. He will discuss how productivity has typically revived after previous episodes of slow growth, and address the prospects for a recovery in today’s economic, demographic, technological and political context.

Earlier that day, NIESR in partnership with ONS Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence will be delivering a talk on ‘Public Understanding of Economics’ to Year 12 and 13 students at Charter School, North Dulwich. [This event is closed to the public]  

Tuesday 5th November 

Practitioner Workshop:  The Past and Future of Evidence Based Policy.  
Venue: NIESR
Time: 14.30 – 17.30  
In this workshop we will consider the past and future of evidence in UK political debate. Why has the evidence-based approach proven vulnerable to populist politics and can the approach be renewed? What are the origins of EBP and what were its most notable successes and failures? Our panel of speakers from academia, politics, policy-making and journalism will provide a rich discussion of these questions.
The workshop be followed by an evening drinks reception for the launch of the NIESR IAA Parliament and Government Unit

Wednesday 6th November 

NIESR Based ESRC Rebuilding Macroeconomics team, in conjunction with Girton College Cambridge, will host: Celebrating Women in Macroeconomics

Venue: Girton College, Cambridge
Time: 9.00– 18.30
A one-day conference intended for a general audience with the aim to celebrate women in macroeconomics, offering a space where female macroeconomists can showcase their work while sharing their career. 
Speaker: Martin Weale, Professor of Economics at King's College London and former NIESR Director 
Venue: NIESR
Watch a summary video of this event here and a full video here
Time: 17.30-18.30 followed by a drinks reception
This is the first of an annual series of lectures in honour of prominent economist Christopher Dow. In this lecture Martin Weale reviews some of the influences on firms’ key expectational variables as measured in the Confederation of British Industry’s Industrial Trends Survey. He focuses in particular on whether expectations of price changes affect outcomes, a relationship of particular importance in the economic models widely used in central banks. Finally he explores the relationship between expectations and outcomes, finding reasons to doubt that, as a generalisation, expectations are on average correct. He suggests some implications of the results for policy-making

Thursday 7th November 

Speaker: Prof Peter Dolton
Venue: NIESR
Time: 18.00 to 19.00 followed by a drinks reception

Using data from 40,000 people collected from frequent ‘pings’ to smart phones over 3 years, Prof Dolton's research finds that football – on average – makes us unhappier – so why would we anyone go through the psychological pain of following a football team? The lecture will attempt to explain this behavioural choice paradox and investigate why we go on following our teams, even though matches make us more unhappy on average.


Friday 8th November  

Practitioner Workshop: Regional Disparities in the UK: Policy and Practice​​ 

Venue: NIESR

Time: 13.00 to 17.30 

In this event we will explore regional and other place-based disparities in the UK. We aim to discuss how spatial disparities are underpinned by processes of political marginalisation and inequality in economic opportunities, and whether the perceptions that they create are increasingly critical to Britain’s economic and political development. This half-day event will bring together researchers from NIESR, Glasgow and Cardiff universities as well as other research institutions, business and policy agencies from throughout the UK. It is our aim to describe ways in which current research is addressing regional issues to work out priorities for policy and forge new partnerships for future work.
This workshop will be followed by drinks to make the launch of the NIESR IAA Regional Unit.  
Earlier in the day Dr Stefan Speckesser will be giving a lecture as part of the Second North London Schools Economic Conference, Woodhouse College, Finchley on Economics and Career Earnings. [This event is closed to the public] 


Saturday 9th November  

Conference : Evidence and Impact: Demonstrating the change LGBT+ groups make

Venue: NCVO, Regents Wharf

Time: 9.00 to 17.00

Our final event of the Festival is a one day conference in partnership with Consortium. The event seeks to explore the issues faced by the UK’s LGBT+ community, and the role the voluntary and community sector has in addressing them. Bringing together experts across research and policy, this event will outline the significant changes already being made by LGBT voluntary and community groups, in order to explore what can be done to best measure their impact and support the sector to achieve long-term sustainability.  .

If you are interested in attending any of the above events, or would like to be kept updated on the Festival, please email us at foss [at] niesr.ac.uk  



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4 November 2019,09:00
9 November 2019,17:30


National Institute of Social and Economic Research
2 Dean Trench StreetSmith Sqaure
London, SW1P 3HE United Kingdom


In-person event