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Panel of experts advising independent review into Intellectual Property and Growth announced
Mark Schankerman appointed

Panel of experts advising independent review into Intellectual Property and Growth announced

The panel of experts includesProfessor Mark Schankerman and will be advising the independent review into the intellectual property system was announced today.

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox revealed the panel will consist of Tom Loosemore, Roger Burt, Professor David Gann, Professor James Boyle and Professor Mark Schankerman.

The review was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron during a speech to an audience of high tech businesses and entrepreneurs in London's East End last month.

In his speech, the Prime Minister set out the Government's ambition for London's East End to become a world-leading technology city to rival Silicon Valley.

The panel of experts will advise the review chair, Ian Hargreaves. He is currently the chair of Digital Economy at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Cardiff Business School.

Baroness Wilcox said: "This review will help the government create the right conditions for businesses to grow. It will look at barriers to growth within the intellectual property system and the improvements that could be made to support businesses.

"It is essential the review is guided by a strong team with varied backgrounds and I am delighted we have achieved that."

The review is expected to report in April next year and will look at:
  • Barriers to new internet-based business models, including the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders;
  • The cost and complexity of enforcing intellectual property rights within the UK and internationally;
  • The interaction between IP and Competition frameworks;
  • The cost and complexity to SMEs of accessing services to help them protect and exploit their IP.

News Posted: 08 December 2010      [Back to the Top]

2011 Leontief Prize
Awarded to Nicholas Stern and Martin Weitzman

Tufts University's Global Development And Environment Institute announced today that it will award its 2011 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought to Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics and Harvard's Martin Weitzman. The award recognizes the critical role played by these researchers in analyzing the economic dimensions of climate change. The ceremony and lectures will take place on March 8, 2011 at Tufts University's Medford campus.

"Climate change is a fundamental challenge to the survival of human civilizations. It also poses a critical challenge to economic theory and practice," says GDAE Co-director Neva Goodwin. "Nicholas Stern and Martin Weitzman have vigorously and effectively addressed that challenge, demonstrating with theoretical rigor and empirical analysis that we can afford the economic adjustments needed to address climate change. In fact, we can't afford not to."

The Global Development And Environment Institute, which is jointly affiliated with Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, inaugurated its economics award in 2000 in memory of Nobel Prize-winning economist and Institute advisory board member Wassily Leontief, who had passed away the previous year. The Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought recognizes economists whose work, like that of the institute and Leontief himself, combines theoretical and empirical research to promote a more comprehensive understanding of social and environmental processes. The inaugural prizes were awarded in 2000 to John Kenneth Galbraith and Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen.

Nicholas Stern brings a long and distinguished history of research on the economics of development, but he is best known for his path-opening Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. This comprehensive assessment directly challenges the assertion, common in the field of economics, that the costs of addressing climate change outweigh the benefits. Demonstrating the theoretical fallacies in such arguments, and highlighting the importance of both international and intergenerational equity, Stern called for prompt and aggressive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He has stated that climate change calls for "radically transformed development paths on the back of a technological revolution" and that "publicly supported low-carbon development can both create jobs, reduce risks for our planet and spark off a wave of new investment which will create a more secure, cleaner and attractive economy for all of us."

Stern has served as Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank (2000 - 2003) and as Chief Economist and Special Coun sellor to the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (1994 - 1999). He is now the I.G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government and the Chair of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics (LSE). In the academic year 2009-10, he was Professor at the Collège de France.

Martin Weitzman, a Professor of Economics at Harvard University, has distinguished himself for his work on the economics of uncertainty and, in recent years, the implications for understanding climate change. While most economic models focus on the likely range of projected climate scenarios, Weitzman has argued that, given the levels of uncertainty about the extent and impacts of climate change and the prohibitively high costs of extreme climate disaster, economic analysis should pay special attention to the risk of a climate catastrophe.

This builds on earlier theoretical contributions. Weitzman demonstrated the theoretical basis for using declining discount rates over time in long-run economic modeling. His seminal work in 1974 focused on the use of price versus quantity controls in economic policy, an issue that has renewed relevance in the policy debates over carbon taxes (a price-based instrument) or a cap-and-trade system (a quantity-based policy). Weitzman's insight that uncertainty affects the choice of the optimal policy measure has important implications for a range of environmental regulatory regimes. Weitzman's 1984 book, The Share Economy: Conquering Stagflation, demonstrated the value of basing wages on profit-sharing, with employees receiving higher wages when a company is doing well.

The Global Development And Environment Institute was founded in 1993 with the goal of promoting a better understanding of how societies can pursue their economic and community goals in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. The Institute develops textbooks and course materials, published on paper and on its web site, that incorporate a broad understanding of social, financial and environmental sustainability. The Institute also carries out policy-relevant research on globalization, climate change, and the role of the market in environmental policy.

In addition to Amartya Sen and John Kenneth Galbraith, GDAE has awarded the Leontief Prize to Paul Streeten, Herman Daly, Alice Amsden, Dani Rodrik, Nancy Folbre, Robert Frank, Richard Nelson, Ha-Joon Chang, Samuel Bowles, Juliet Schor, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Stephen DeCanio, José Antonio Ocampo, Robert Wade, Bina Agarwal, and Daniel Kahneman.

For further information please see:

Global Development And Environment Institute

2011 Leontief Prize

News Posted: 18 November 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP: Recent Publications
Tim Besley: The Logic of Political Violence

This paper (joint with Torsten Persson) is forthcoming in The Quarterly Journal of Economics


This paper offers a unified approach for studying political violence whether it emerges as repression or civil war. We formulate a model where an incumbent or opposition can use violence to maintain or acquire power to study which political and economic factors drive one-sided or two-sided violence (repression or civil war). The model predicts a hierarchy of violence states from peace via repression to civil war, and suggests a natural empirical approach. Exploiting only within-country variation in the data, we show that violence is associated with shocks that can affect wages and aid. As in the theory, these effects are only present where political institutions are non-cohesive.

Link to article.
News Posted: 27 October 2010      [Back to the Top]

LSE Housing and Communities Event
Poor Areas and Poor Health: Health inequalities and the built environment - 24th November 2010

An action planning workshop following the Marmot Review of Health

Date and Time: Wednesday 24th November 2010

Location: National Communities Resource Centre, Trafford Hall, Chester

Trafford Hall Website:

  • £75 per delegate (covers all refreshments including delicious organic and locally sourced lunch and homemade cakes, a copy of the summary of Sir Michael Marmot's pathbreaking report and other materials)

  • Special concessions to community organisations and for multiple bookings (reduced fee £50).

  • Book a place online now
Programme: Summary of the event:
This workshop will bring together ground level experts from low income areas, policy makers in public health, primary care and government to work out how neighbourhood approaches to area and health problems together can create healthier, more sustainable communities, involving communities directly in making places better.

The Marmot Review on Health Inequalities Task Group on Area Inequalities and Poor Health found that children in disadvantaged areas have up to four times less green and play space, up to double the amount of traffic, and up to five times the number of car accidents compared with the average. There are many other indirect health consequences of area decay such as empty buildings, provoking aggression, vandalism and anti-social behaviour among young people, causing mental distress and anxiety in whole communities. Derelict sites cause rubbish dumping and other kinds of abuse that can lead to infestations, fire risk and depression.

The workshop is extremely timely as it anticipates the Public Health White Paper. Preventive Health is likely to be a major priority in the future, and this workshop will help to pave the way for this. It will be of great interest to housing associations, local authorities, local police services, schools and other educational bodies, voluntary sector organisations, churches and faith groups, and community groups, as well as health services. We will be showcasing not just the ideas of the Marmot Review itself, but also beacon health initiatives that have contributed to creating better communities and healthier conditions already. There is a lot to learn and a lot to do.

The workshop is not about high cost transformation, unlike major regeneration schemes that run over 10-20 years. It will focus much more on how we organise and manage our existing assets and resources, how we deploy effort at the front line and how we unleash community-oriented initiatives that can help disadvantaged communities. There are many ideas out there that are not normally linked to public health, and that is exactly what we want this workshop to achieve. For sustainable places depend as much on people as on place, and healthy communities, the main target of public health, are a shared responsibility. We all pay the price if we fail.

Who should attend:
  • housing associations
  • local authorities
  • local police services
  • local health services
  • schools and other educational bodies
  • voluntary sector organisations
  • churches and faith groups
  • community groups
For further information about this event, please contact

News Posted: 18 October 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP: Recent Publication
Henrik Kleven: Unwilling or Unable to Cheat? Evidence from a Tax Audit Experiment in Denmark

This paper is forthcoming in Econometrica


This paper analyzes a tax enforcement field experiment in Denmark. In the base year, a stratified and representative sample of over 40,000 individual income tax filers was selected for the experiment. Half of the tax filers were randomly selected to be thoroughly audited, while the rest were deliberately not audited. The following year, threat-of-audit letters were randomly assigned and sent to tax filers in both groups. We present three main empirical findings. First, using baseline audit data, we find that the tax evasion rate is close to zero for income subject to third-party reporting, but substantial for self-reported income. Since most income is subject to third-party reporting, the overall evasion rate is modest. Second, using quasi-experimental variation created by large kinks in the income tax schedule, we find that marginal tax rates have a positive impact on tax evasion for self-reported income, but that this effect is small in comparison to legal avoidance and behavioral responses. Third, using the randomization of enforcement, we find that prior audits and threat-of-audit letters have significant effects on self-reported income, but no effect on third-party reported income. All these empirical results can be explained by extending the standard model of (rational) tax evasion to allow for the key distinction between self-reported and third-party reported income.

Link to article.
News Posted: 14 October 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP Recent Publications
Henrik Kleven: Transfer Program Complexity and the Take Up of Social Benefits

This paper is forthcoming in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy


This paper models complexity in social programs as a byproduct of efforts to screen between deserving and undeserving applicants. While a more rigorous screening technology may have desirable effects on targeting efficiency, the associated complexity introduces transaction costs into the application process and may induce incomplete take up. The paper integrates the study of take up with the study of classification errors of type I and type II, and argues that incomplete take up can be seen as a form of type I error. We consider a government interested in ensuring a minimum income level for as many deserving individuals as possible, and characterize optimal programs when policy makers can choose the rigor of screening (and associated complexity) along with a benefit level and an eligibility criterion. It is shown that optimal program parameters reflect a trade-off at the margin between type I errors (including non-takeup) and type II errors. Optimal programs that are not universal always feature a high degree of complexity. Although it is generally possible to eliminate take up by the undeserving (type II errors), policies usually involve eligibility criteria that make them eligible and rely on complexity to restrict their participation. Even though the government is interested only in ensuring a minimum benefit level, the optimal policy may feature benefits that are higher than this target minimum. This is because benefits generically screen better than either eligibility criteria or complexity.

Link to article.
News Posted: 14 October 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP: Recent Publications
Maitreesh Ghatak: Thanks for Nothing? Not-for-Profits and Motivated Agents.

This paper (joint with Hannes Mueller) has been published in the Journal of Public Economics.


We re-examine the labor donation theory of not-for-profits and show that these organizations may exist not necessarily because motivated workers prefer to work in them, or that they dominate for-profits in terms of welfare, but because the excess supply of motivated workers makes the non-profit form more attractive to managers. We show that if Firms had to compete for motivated workers then not-for-profit would be competed out by for-profit Firms. Therefore, in the choice between not-for-profit and for-profit provision, other than incentive problems, the distribution of rents between management and workers, and consequently, the relative scarcity of motivated workers may play an important role.

Link to article.
News Posted: 14 October 2010      [Back to the Top]

Report Launch
CASEreport 63, Housing Futures: our homes and communities. A report for the Federation of Master Builders

Small Land Sites Could Solve Housing Crisis

Reusing small empty sites of up to two acres could more than meet the UK's housing demand without building on green field land. This must be coupled with upgrading existing buildings, reclaiming and remodeling empty buildings, converting and upgrading homes to make existing neighbourhoods attractive. These are key findings from a new research report commissioned by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) from the London School of Economics (LSE). This approach would generate local jobs but requires new skills, more training and apprenticeships, the report argues.

The report, 'Housing Futures: Our Homes and Communities', written by Professor Anne Power and Laura Lane of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the LSE examines the four big pressures - supply and affordability of homes; environmental limits; social cohesion; and economic change - driving the future of housing policy in the UK.

The report highlights that there is capacity within existing communities to create all the new homes we need. Small available sites of under two hectares within built up areas are rarely counted and micro-sites of half an acre of less are literally too numerous to count. Yet it is estimated that even in inner London, where population density is highest and land scarcest, there are enough micro-sites to supply all the new homes we need.

If we make our existing homes greener and more energy efficient, the research found that the building industry had enough work in this field to keep every small and medium sized builder running to stay on top for the next 30 years. The retrofitting market for small builders offers, the report says, 'a very rosy future painted green', as homeowners realize the savings that could be made through making their homes more energy efficient. To capitalize on this growth market, the report calls for higher standards within the building industry, particularly the 200,000 Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) which make up 99 percent of building industry. A 'Code for Sustainable Existing Homes' would drive up the energy efficiency standards of our existing homes and conversions. Accreditation and Competent Person Schemes enhance the status of the building industry, as long as they are linked to real experience and hands-on training.

Professor Anne Power, Professor of Social policy at the LSE said:
"We need to modernize our housing stock, reclaim and remodel empty buildings, fit new homes into small spaces within existing communities, and do all this with a fraction of the energy, materials and waste of the current building industry. This approach should generate many new jobs and skills in existing neighbourhoods; it should support training, apprenticeships and accreditation schemes; it should foster a new eco-retrofit supply chain. It will be quickly embraced by go-ahead small builders who know which side their bread is buttered on!"

Richard Diment, Director-General of the FMB said:
"Retrofitting is becoming an important part of any small builder's workload but this can only increase if SMEs can demonstrate the value and skill of their work which is why the FMB is investigating the need to start its own competent person scheme. We hope to use this to further improve the reputation of members that join the FMB, through regular on-going training and a clear grading system. Construction SMEs carry out almost 50 percent of all construction work in the UK, yet builders are often viewed with suspicion. In many other countries building is a respected trade, almost on a par with the professions and this is mainly due to accreditation and competency schemes. We recognise the important role such schemes will play in improving the reputation of the UK building industry."

Download the report: CASEreport 63, Housing Futures: our homes and communities. A report for the Federation of Master Builders by Anne Power and Laura Lane, June 2010.

For further information please visit the Federation of Master Builders website

News Posted: 17 September 2010      [Back to the Top]

The Observer
Babies don't suffer when mothers return to work, study reveals

A ground-breaking study has found that mothers can go back to work months after the birth of their child without the baby's wellbeing suffering as a result.

By assessing the total impact on a child of the mother going out to work, including factors outside the home, American academics claim to have produced the first full picture of the effect of maternal employment on child cognitive and social development. Their conclusion will provide comfort for thousands of women who re-enter the employment market within a year of giving birth.

The new study, 'First-Year Maternal Employment and Child Development in the First 7 Years' by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Wen-Jui Han, and Jane Waldfogel, was published last week by the Society for Research in Child Development.

See also press coverage from
News Posted: 01 August 2010      [Back to the Top]

Applications for STICERD desks
Call for applications - STICERD desks (LSE PhD Students ONLY)

STICERD offers a limited number of desks to LSE economics doctoral students, who work in applied microeconomics. STICERD is a research centre located on the fifth floor of the Lionel Robbins Building. It offers a vibrant research environment and a unique opportunity to interact with other researchers. Each desk includes a PC and the use of STICERD facilities, but there is no associated grant or fee support. More information about STICERD can be found on:

We now welcome applications for the year 2010/1 from PhD students and MRes students, who:

- have already successfully passed their three core courses (Ec441, Ec442, Ec443)
- are interested in applied microeconomics, including (but not restricted to): development, public finance, organizations, political economy and IO.
Students who are assigned STICERD desks are required to:
-make a full use of their office space
-take part regularly to the centre's activities, including weekly seminar series in their areas of interest and STICERD own work-in-progress seminar series
-help out with small RA tasks for resident faculty (up to four hours per week).
Desks are assigned for a period of three years that can be extended for a further year conditional on satisfactory research advancement and supervisors’ support.

To apply please email Oriana Bandiera ( and Henrik Kleven (, with copy to Sue Coles (

-a brief research statement explaining why you are interested in STICERD
- a CV, including your marks at the LSE and two primary areas of research interests

Applicants will be selected on the basis of their academic record at the LSE and on how close their research interests are to those of other STICERD members.

Deadline for applications is August 31. Interviews will be held during the last week of September.

News Posted: 09 July 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP Upcoming Special Event
Summer School on Empirical Methods for Economic Development (23-26 June 2010)

Oriana Bandiera is organizing the Second AMID Summer School on Empirical Methods for Economic Development on June 23-26 at the LSE.

The school is intended for PhD students, post-docs and junior faculty members. The aim is to provide young researchers with a detailed overview of the main methods used in empirical development research. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss their own research projects with leading researchers in a relaxed and open atmosphere.

Lectures will be delivered by Esther Duflo (MIT), Greg Fischer (LSE), Radha Iyengar (LSE), and Eliana La Ferrara (Bocconi) on topics including difference in difference estimators, event studies, instrumental variables, randomised control trials and regression discontinuity approaches. Selected projects by participants will be presented and discussed during the day.

For further details, go to the website

News Posted: 14 June 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP Upcoming Special Events
CEPR Public Policy Symposium (18-19 June 2010)

Oriana Bandiera and Henrik Kleven, along with Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics and CEPR) and Emmanuel Saez (University of California, Berkeley and CEPR) are organizing a symposium on public economics to bring together economists in the field from across Europe and key researchers from outside the region.

The symposium will feature a keynote lecture entitled 'Public Finance and Development' to be given by Professor Timothy Besley.

The conference hopes to provide a unique opportunity for researchers from different universities and countries to discuss their work in a relaxed atmosphere and to develop long-term collaborative relationships. It also aspires to provide young researchers with the opportunity to meet and discuss their work with senior economists.

For further details, go to the website

News Posted: 14 June 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP Special Event
Conference on The Formation of Family and its Intergenerational Consequences (14-15 June 2010)

The Conference on The Formation of Family and its Intergenerational Consequences was organised by the Departments of Economics and Management and sponsored by STICERD. The key organizers were Leonardo Felli, Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, Maitreesh Ghatak, and Yona Rubinstein. Distinguished speakers included Gary Becker, Pierre-Andre Chiappori, Bernard Salanie, among others.

For further informaiton on the conference programme and to view the papers presented visit the conference page the conference page

News Posted: 13 June 2010      [Back to the Top]

Award to EOPP Associate
Johannes Spinnewijn wins CESifo Affiliate Award

Johannes Spinnewijn has won the Distinguished CESifo Affiliate Award during this year's CESifo Annual Area Conferences. Each year, the award is presented to a young economist for the " scientific originality, policy relevance and quality of exposition of their paper presented at the conference." in his or her specialist research area.

Johannes Spinnewijn's winning paper for the Employment and Social Protection Research Area was entitled Unemployed but Optimistic: Optimal Insurance Design with Biased Beliefs

Further information about the award can be found on the CESifo website.

News Posted: 04 June 2010      [Back to the Top]

LSE Housing and Communities Event
Community Energy Saving Workshop - 25th May 2010.

LSE Housing & Communities and the National Communities Resource Centre invite you to an exciting and important one-day workshop on Community Energy Saving

Date and Time: Tuesday 25th May 2010, 9am-5pm

Location: National Communities Resource Centre, Trafford Hall, Chester

Trafford Hall Website:

  • £75 per delegate with discounts for second and subsequent delegates from the same organisation.

  • Reduced rates available for representatives of non-profit organisations, community-based and environmental groups, tenants and individuals working in this area.

Aim of workshop:
Energy saving be will be a high priority in UK policy whatever the outcome of the election this week. The Department for Energy and Climate Change’s energy saving strategy has cross-party support. Many policies are already coming into play, but delivery is proving incredibly difficult. Therefore the Government will rely on local authorities, housing associations and community based organisations to deliver new energy saving programmes.

Community energy saving dominates this agenda for many reasons:
  • It means lots of new, easy access jobs for young people offering training, new skills and a boost, to local economies.

  • It will put local authorities and housing associations at the forefront of the shift to more localised energy supply, use and saving.

  • It will involve communities directly, because of the imperative to tackle fuel poverty, to upgrade the existing stock and to help energy saving. The steep rise in energy prices has a major impact on low income communities, and on the whole population.

  • A follow-through to Decent Homes is in the offing. This reinvestment programme will not involve large amounts of money per property, since the costs of upgrading are much lower than any newbuild or regeneration scheme. Applied over the very large stock of rented housing and low income owner-occupied housing in deprived areas, it is a massive injection of money. It will create many jobs on the ground through small repairs and building firms, and through suppliers of materials and equipment to training and accreditation bodies.

We really want this event to be hands-on as well as giving people essential tools to help them reduce energy in their homes, communities and originations.

Please bring any material with you for display, distribution or discussion.

This could be printed information or actual energy saving devices.

If you would like to send anything in advance, please email Anna Tamas at LSE, Email:; OR post to Chris Locker at Trafford Hall (Address: Trafford Hall, Ince Lane, Wimbolds Trafford, Chester CH2 4JP).

View presentations in Adobe PDF format.

Download the draft programme for this event in Adobe PDF format.

Download the registration form for this event in Adobe PDF format.

For further information about this event, please contact

News Posted: 04 May 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP: Recent Publications
Gerard Padro-i-Miquel: Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk

A paper by Gerard Padro-i-Miquel (joint with Sylvain Chassang) entitled 'Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk' will be published in Quarterly Journal of Economics.

The authors examine the determinants of cooperation and the effectiveness of deterrence when fear is a motive for conflict. They contrast results obtained in a complete information setting to those obtained in a setting with strategic risk, where players have different information about their environment. These two strategic settings allow them to identify and distinguish the role of predatory and pre-emptive incentives as determinants of cooperation and conflict. In their model, weapons unambiguously facilitate peace under complete information. In contrast, under strategic risk, the authors show that increases in weapon stocks can have a non-monotonic effect on the sustainability of cooperation. They also show that under strategic risk, asymmetry in military strength can facilitate peace, and that anticipated peace-keeping interventions may improve incentives for peaceful behaviour.

News Posted: 29 March 2010      [Back to the Top]

CASE Book Launch
The Guardian: Britain leads in war on poverty, according to US academic

Despite claims that Britain is "broken", a book released today in New York highlights that by most measures things have improved for more than a decade.

Jane Waldfogel, professor of social work at Columbia University, spent a year examining Labour's record and found it had turned the tide of child poverty in a way that was "larger and more sustained than in the United States". Her book, Britain's War on ­Poverty, shows that the number of children in"absolute poverty" had fallen by 1.7 million since 1999. Latest figures show 13.4% of British children remained in"absolute poverty" whereas in the US the figure was approaching 20%.

Related Links:
News Posted: 24 March 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP: Recent Publications
Robin Burgess: Can Openness Mitigate the Effects of Weather Shocks? Evidence from India's Famine Era

A paper by Robin Burgess (joint with Dave Donaldson (MIT)) entitled 'Can Openness Mitigate the Effects of Weather Shocks? Evidence from India's Famine Era' is forthcoming in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings.

Rural citizens of developing countries are often highly exposed to weather shocks that affect the incomes they earn and the food they eat, often resulting in widespread hunger and loss of life. There exists intense debate over what role openness to trade in food might play in mitigating or exacerbating the mortality impact of weather and death. However there exists a fundamental ambiguity in this regard as openness makes nominal incomes more responsive to production shocks (due to both increased specialization and dampened offsetting price movements), but consumer prices less volatile, such that the net effect on real incomes is unclear. This paper employs a colonial era Indian district-level database for the period 1875 to 1919 to provide some preliminary insights into the weather-trade-death relationship. The results suggest that the arrival of railroads in Indian districts dramatically constrained the ability of rainfall shocks to cause famines in colonial India.

News Posted: 16 March 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP: Recent Publications
Oriana Bandiera: Heterogeneous Class Size Effects: New Evidence from a Panel of University Students

A paper by Oriana Bandiera (joint with Valentino Larcinese (LSE) and Imran Rasul (UCL) 'Heterogeneous Class Size Effects: New Evidence from a Panel of University Students' is forthcoming in the Economic Journal.

Over the last decade, many countries have experienced dramatic increases in university enrolment, which, when not matched by compensating increases in other inputs, have resulted in larger class sizes. Using administrative records from a leading UK university, this paper presents evidence on the effects of class size on students' test scores. The authors observe the same student and faculty members being exposed to a wide range of class sizes from less than 10 to over 200. They therefore estimate non-linear class size effects controlling for unobserved heterogeneity of both individual students and faculty. The authors find that -(i) at the average class size, the effect size is -.108; (ii) the effect size is however negative and significant only for the smallest and largest ranges of class sizes and zero over a wide range of intermediate class sizes from 33 to 104; (iii) students at the top of the test score distribution are more affected by changes in class size, especially when class sizes are very large. This paper presents evidence to rule out class size effects being due solely to the non-random assignment of faculty to class size, sorting by students onto courses on the basis of class size, omitted inputs, the difficulty of courses, or grading policies. The evidence also shows the class size effects are not mitigated for students with greater knowledge of the UK university system, this university in particular, or with greater family wealth.

News Posted: 16 March 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP: Recent Publications
Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, Selim Gulesci and Munshi Sulaiman: Participation in Adolescent Training Programs

A paper by Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, Selim Gulesci and Munshi Sulaiman (joint with Markus Goldstein (World Bank) and Imran Rasul (UCL)) entitled 'Participation in Adolescent Training Programs: New Evidence from Uganda' is forthcoming in the Journal of the European Economic Association, Papers and Proceedings.

Almost one third of the population in less developed countries is under age 15. Hence improving the effectiveness of policy interventions that target adolescents might be especially important. This paper analyzes the intention to participate in training programs of adolescent girls in Uganda, a country with perhaps the most skewed age distribution anywhere in the world. The training program the authors focus on is BRAC's Adolescent Development Program, which emphasizes the provision of life skills training, entrepreneurship training, and microfinance. The paper presents evidence on the individual and household determinants of the intention to participate of adolescent girls into this program. In particular, it is shown how: (i) individual demographics, skills, beliefs, and life satisfaction; and, (ii) household resources and experiences with NGOs in the past, determine the intent to participate. We discuss how these factors vary across and within villages, and whether and how they affect the likelihood to attend per se, and the intended frequency of attendance. The results have implications for the design, management, and evaluation of similar programs throughout East Africa.

News Posted: 16 March 2010      [Back to the Top]

EOPP: Recent Publications
Tim Besley, Daniel Sturm and Torsten Persson: Political Competition, Policy and Growth: Theory and Evidence from the United States

A paper by Tim Besley, Daniel M. Sturm and Torsten Persson (IIES) entitled 'Political Competition, Policy and Growth: Theory and Evidence from the United States' is forthcoming in the Review of Economic Studies.

This paper develops a simple model to analyze how a lack of political competition may lead to policies that hinder economic growth. The authors test the predictions of the model on panel data for the US states. In these data, the authors find robust evidence that lack of political competition in a state is associated with anti-growth policies: higher taxes, lower capital spending and a reduced likelihood of using right-to-work laws. The paper also documents a strong link between low political competition and low income growth.

News Posted: 16 March 2010      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications
Tim Besley: Estimating the Peace Dividend: The impact of violence on house prices in Northern Ireland

This paper joint with Hannes Mueller is forthcoming in the American Economic Review

News Posted: 10 March 2010      [Back to the Top]

Award to STICERD Director
John von Neumann Award 2010 given to Prof. Tim Besley

The 2010 John von Neumann Award has been given to Prof. Tim Besley for his research on political institutions by the Rajk László College for Advanced Studies at Corvinus University of Budapest. The award was established in 1995 and is presented annually to leading scholars whose influential works have had a substantial impact on the studies and intellectual activity of the students at the College.

Previous award holders include John Harsanyi (UC Berkeley), Hal Varian (University of Michigan), Janos Kornai (Harvard University and Budapest College), Jean Tirole (University of Toulouse), Oliver Williamson (UC Berkeley) Jon Elster (Columbia University), Avinash K. Dixit (Princeton University), Maurice Obstfeld (UC Berkeley), Gary S. Becker (University of Chicago), Glenn C. Loury (Brown University), Matthew Rabin (UC Berkeley), Daron Acemoglu (MIT), Kevin Murphy (University of Chicago) and Philippe Aghion (Harvard University).

Further information on Prof. Besley's research can be found on Tim Besley's website. For more information on the John von Neumann Award see the Rajk László College for Advanced Studies website.

News Posted: 16 February 2010      [Back to the Top]

LSE Housing, LSE Cities and Joseph Rowntree Foundation Lecture, Debate and Book Launch
Phoenix Cities - surviving financial, social and environmental turmoil in Europe and the US?

Date: Tuesday 16th March 2010 18.00-19.45
Location: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, Lower Ground Floor, New Academic Building, London School of Economics
Cost: The event is free but a ticket is required
For tickets and further information please see:, or contact Anna Tamas, Email:


This lecture and debate mark the launch of a new book Phoenix Cities: The fall and rise of great industrial cities.
  • Lord Richard Rogers, international prize-winning architect, will offer his vision what the urban renaissance means for the 21st century;
  • Bruce Katz, Head of the Metropolitan Program and Vice-President of the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, will report on the future of divided US cities in Obama’s America;
  • Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics will outline the dramatic decline, turnaround and prospects of seven struggling European cities;
  • Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, will round-up the event.
This event will debate where next for Phoenix Cities, given the economic shocks, the pressures of climate change and the social inequalities that sharply divide struggling cities. A panel of city reformers from European cities will give their reactions to these questions and Sir Howard Davies, Director of the London School of Economics, will Chair the lecture.

For tickets and further information please see:, or contact Anna Tamas, Email: Phoenix Cities will be available to purchase at the event at a discounted rate of £20. Registration and refreshments will be from 5.15pm and a reception will follow the event 7.45-8.30pm.

For more details please see the Phoenix Cities flyer (in Adobe PDF format)

News Posted: 12 February 2010      [Back to the Top]

The Guardian
Unequal Britain: richest 10 per cent are now 100 times better off than the poorest

'An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK' - the Report of the National Equality Panel - which was launched on Wednesday 27 January 2010, addresses questions such as how far up or down do people from different backgrounds typically come in the distributions of earnings, income or wealth.

Below are the links to some of the media coverage of this report:

Unequal Britain: richest 10 per cent are now 100 times better off than the poorest
Commissioned by Harriet Harman, minister for women and equality, the National Equality Panel has been working on the 460-page document for 16 months, led by Prof John Hills, of the London School of Economics.
Link to artcle

Gap between rich and poor at its widest since the war
The divide between rich and poor is greater after 13 years of Labour rule than at any time since the Second World War, according to the Government's own report into inequality. The report was written by Professor John Hills, at the London School of Economics and the new National Equality Panel.
Link to artcle

Financial Times
Social advantages still shape life chances
People's origins shape their life chances from cradle to grave, the biggest study of equality and inequality in Britain has demonstrated. John Hills, the panel's chair and professor of social policy at the London School of Economics, quoted.
Link to artcle

BBC News
Rich-poor divide 'wider than 40 years ago'
Neighbourhood renewal policy action is needed, according to the report. "Most political parties and people subscribe to the ideal of 'equality of opportunity'," panel chair Professor John Hills, of the London School of Economics, told the BBC.
Link to artcle

Daily Telegraph
Labour's failures are breeding inequality
Harriet Harman has declared herself the champion of equality, and in this role is pushing legislation through Parliament in the best levelling spirit. It is noted that she commissioned a report from the National Equality Panel, chaired by Professor John Hills of the LSE.
Link to artcle

Related links:
Listen to John Hills on the Today Programme (available for 5 days after broadcast)
Download the report, summary, executive summary and charts and statistical annex
The National Equality Panel
John Hills webpage

News Posted: 27 January 2010      [Back to the Top]

BBC Radio 4 - The Today Programme
The gap between rich and poor in the UK is wider now than it was 40 years ago, according to a National Equality Panel report.

The gap between rich and poor in the UK is wider now than it was 40 years ago, according to a National Equality Panel report. John Hills, the panel's chair and Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics, explains its findings.

'An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK' - the Report of the National Equality Panel - was launched on Wednesday 27 January 2010.

The independent National Equality Panel was set up at the invitation of the Government in 2008 to investigate the relationships between the distributions of various kinds of economic outcome on the one hand and people's characteristics and circumstances on the other. The report addresses questions such as how far up or down do people from different backgrounds typically come in the distributions of earnings, income or wealth.

Related links:
Listen to John Hills on the Today Programme (available for 5 days after broadcast)

Download the report, summary, executive summary and charts and statistical annex

The National Equality Panel

John Hills webpage

News Posted: 27 January 2010      [Back to the Top]

Report Launch
A Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK - Report of the National Equality Panel

Wednesday, 27 January 2010: 3.15pm - 4.50pm

New Academic Building, Wolfson Theatre
London School of Economics

Chair: David Piachaud, London School of Economics

Presentations from:
  • John Hills, LSE and Chair, National Equality Panel
  • Stephen Jenkins, Essex University and member of National Equality Panel
Responses from:
  • Tony Atkinson, Visiting Professor, LSE
  • Lisa Harker, Co-Director, Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Max Wind-Cowie, Progressive Conservatism Project, DEMOS
The National Equality Panel was set up in October 2008 at the invitation of Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, Minister for Women and Equality, to investigate how inequalities in people's economic outcomes (such as earnings, income and wealth) are related to their characteristics of circumstances (such as gender, age and ethnicity). The Panel's report is published on 27th January 2010.

This seminar will present and discuss the main findings of the report.

The full report, summary and executive summary, charts and statistical annex are available to download from the CASE publications website at

News Posted: 27 January 2010      [Back to the Top]

Recent Publications: The Financial Express
What crisis has taught economics

In his latest article for the Financial Express, Maitreesh Ghatak looks at the legacy of Paul Samuelson, who pioneered the use of formal models in economics.

Read the articles:
What crisis has taught economics, published Jan 09, 2010

News Posted: 09 January 2010      [Back to the Top]