Spinoza Foundation Programme
The Spinoza Seminars are part of a series of events hosted by the Spinoza Foundation and STICERD and held at the London School of Economics.
The aim of these events is to educate the general public and to raise awareness of topical issues and discuss public policy solutions to create a better society.
Spinoza Seminar: Populism in the post-Covid-19 world
23 July 2020
An online panel discussion with guests Andrés Velasco, Sara Hobolt and Michael Ignatieff in occasion of the launch of the first issue of the new LSE Public Policy Review, Beveridge 2.0: Populism. This is part of the Spinoza Seminar under the Spinoza Foundation Programme. Until Covid-19 hit, populist politicians of the right and the left - many of them with evident authoritarian leanings - were on the rise around the world. This panel will focus on the causes and consequences of this populist surge, and will discuss ways in which liberal democracies can respond to the challenge of authoritarian populism. Because populist governments have been especially ineffective in dealing with the pandemic, the panel will also ask whether populists will pay a price at the polls or whether, on the contrary, the economic crunch resulting from Covid-19 will further enlarge their base of political support.
Spinoza Seminar with Nicholas Stern
06 February 2020
Unlocking the inclusive and resilient growth story of the 21st century: the drive to the zero-carbon economy and the role of policy and finance.
Work in Progress Seminars
15 May 2019
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 were by visitors to the programme who each spent a short while in STICERD: Didac Queralt from Yale Political Science and Matt Lowe from the Briq Institute, and the last featured our former PhD student, Nicola Limodio.
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.
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.
Spinoza Seminar: Colin Mayer, Prosperity workshop
06 March 2019
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"
18 February 2019
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.
LSE workshop "Unelected power"
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.
Spinoza Seminar: The future of capitalism
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.
Spinoza Seminar: CIFAR meeting on Institutions, Organisations and Growth
29 June 2018
The Programme extended support to the meeting of the Institutions, Organisations and Growth Programme of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).
Spinoza Seminar: Panel Discussion on Private Currencies
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.