Spinoza Foundation Programme

The Spinoza Programme on Institutions, Organizations and Growth supports research and events at the LSE.
It looks at contemporary challenges in economic policy formation to support long-run development.

For further information please visit the Spinoza Foundation website.


Spinoza Political Economy Seminars

Political Economy Seminar

Monday 17 June 2019

32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, 16:30-18:30

Joint seminar by Professor Anne Case (Princeton University) and Professor Sir Angus Deaton (Princeton University and a Nobel Laureate in Economics) who will present their new book manuscript "Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism".


The book discusses some of the failings of markets and government which have contributed to the opioid epidemic and an increase in self‐destructive behaviours in the United States, particularly among white men aged 45-54. They also offer a range of policy recommendations to address the problems.


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Work in Progress Seminars

Work in Progress Seminar

Wednesday 15 May 2019

32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, Room 32L.1.04, LSE, 12:00-15:00

Three ad hoc informal work-in-progress seminars by three young scholars organised as part of the STICERD Spinoza Program on Institutions, Organizations and Growth. The first two will be by visitors to the programme who will each spend a short while in STICERD: Didac Queralt from Yale Political Science and Matt Lowe from the Briq Institute, and the last will feature our former PhD student, Nicola Limodio, and.


Didac Queralt: The Legacy of War on Fiscal Capacity

Didac is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Yale University. His interests lie at the intersection of comparative and international political economy, and examine the origins of fiscal institutions from three different angles: war, trade, and international finance.


Matt Lowe: Now You See Me: The Returns to Visibility for Politicians

Matt is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the BRIQ institute who will be joining the University of British Columbia as an Assistant Professor of Economics next academic year. He is working in development, behavioural economics and political economy.

Read the abstract
I use a long-running natural experiment in British Parliament to estimate the returns to visibility for politicians. Each week a lottery determines which politicians get the chance to ask the Prime Minister a question in front of a packed House of Commons chamber. Using online and archival data from over 1,300 lotteries and over 9,000 questions asked from 1981 to 2010 I find that: (i) asking a question increases the probability of holding a ministerial-level position by up to 2.3 percentage points (15%), (ii) these career effects persist for five to six years, and (iii) visibility does not improve re-election chances, suggesting that it is visibility to party leaders, not voters, that explains career effects. Consistent with a learning channel, returns to visibility are diminishing – while the first question a politician asks in a session matters for advancement, subsequent questions do not. In addition, visibility has broader long-run health returns – asking a question reduces the probability of mortality as of 2019 by 8%. Together these wide-ranging returns to visibility provide empirical motivation for the pervasive visibility-seeking found in modern politics.


Nicola Limodio: Institutions, Competition and Non-Tradables; Global Evidence

Nicola is Assistant Professor at Bocconi Univerity. His research focuses on corporate finance, development economics and political economy.



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Spinoza Seminars

Colin Mayer: Prosperity Workshop

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Vera Anstey Room, LSE, 16:30-18:00

A workshop hosted by the Spinoza Foundation, the Department of Economics and the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR). Professor Colin Mayer of Said Business School, University of Oxford will reflect on themes raised in his recent book Prosperity.

The book covers a range of central issues affecting modern economic life. In it, he examines our notions of business, its roles and responsibilities, and the way it operates, argues that the prevailing beliefs about business cause inequality, low growth, poor innovation, and environmental degradation, and sets out a renewed vision of how the corporation can create both economic and social wellbeing, and how regulatory and taxation can make this a reality. The discussion will focus on implications for corporations, systems of accounting and regulation.

The workshop is by invitation only and will be held under the Chatham House rule. It will be chaired by Professor Tim Besley and Professor Martin Lodge.


LSE Seminar 'Hayek at the LSE'

Monday 18 February 2019

32L.1.04, 17:00-18:30

A seminar hosted by the Spinoza Foundation, the Department of Economics and the STICERD Institutions, Organizations and Growth programme, in which Peter Boettke will talk about his recent book F. A. Hayek: Economics, Political Economy and Social Philosophy, in particular, about Hayek’s time at LSE.

Peter Boettke is University Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, at George Mason University. The seminar will be chaired by Professor Sir Tim Besley.

The seminar is open to academic and research faculty, and research students. Please contact Emma Taverner to reserve a seat.


LSE Workshop 'Unelected Power'

Thursday 29 November 2018

A half-day workshop hosted by the Spinoza Foundation, the Department of Economics and the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR). Sir Paul Tucker of the Harvard Kennedy School (and former deputy governor of the Bank of England), will reflect on the themes raised in his recent book Unelected Power.

The book covers a range of issues in economics and politics particularly raising issues around the move towards the greater use of experts to make and inform policy decisions.

The discussion will focus on three central themes: design precepts and unelected power; regulators and central banks in the “emergency state” and central bank independence.

The workshop is invitation-only and will be held under the Chatham House rule. The workshop will be chaired by Professor Sir Tim Besley and Professor Martin Lodge.


The Future of Capitalism

Friday 12 October 2018

A public lecture hosted by the Spinoza Foundation, the Department of Economics, and STICERD, in which Professor Sir Paul Collier discussed the topics covered in his most recent book, The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties.

The book examines the economic, social and cultural rifts opened by modern capitalism. As well as including his personal reflections moving from working-class Sheffield to Oxford and working between Britain and Africa, he offered a wider perspective on ethics, economics and the capacity of our system of government to respond to the challenges that he identifies.

The event was free and open to all, and was chaired by Professor Sir Tim Besley.

For further information please visit the event page.

The audio recording of the lecture is now available on Soundcloud.


CIFAR meeting on Institutions, Organisations and Growth

29 June to 1 July 2018

The Programme extended support to the meeting of the Institutions, Organisations and Growth Programme of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).

For further information about the meeting, please see the agenda.


Panel Discussion on Private Currencies

Wednesday 17 January 2018

A panel discussion to launch a collaboration between the Spinoza Foundation and LSE was held in the Shaw Library at the LSE before an audience of invited guests on the afternoon of Wednesday 17 January 2018.

The discussion, which was held under Chatham House rules, explored the issues surrounding private currencies (with particular reference to bitcoin). The panel comprised Andy Haldane, the Chief Economist at the Bank of England, Minouche Shafik, the Director of the LSE, and Tim Besley, Professor of Economics and Political Science and W Arthur Lewis Professor of Development Economics.

The panel was chaired by David Smith of the Sunday Times.


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