The following sessions were broadcast live and accessible online free of charge. Please feel free to post your questions and comments.
Inequality in the Quality and Access to Education
The papers in this session study inequalities in both the quality and access to education across countries.
Nick Bloom, Renata Lemos, Raffaella Sadun, and John Van Reenen investigate disparities in managerial and organizational practices across schools and the extent to which these differences may influence educational outcomes in developed and developing countries. Stephen Machin and Richard Murphy investigate how the rapid influx of overseas students has affected enrolment of domestic students. Martin McGuigan, Sandra McNally, and Gill Wyness investigate the knowledge of 15-year-olds and their receptiveness to information campaigns about the costs and benefits of staying on in education.
IGC Plenary: Africa Rising
During the past decade Africa’s opportunities have been transformed as a result of Chinese growth. One effect is the discovery of natural resources; the other is the scope for breaking into manufacturing.
The surge in resource prices triggered a wave of resource discoveries; during the coming decade these new discoveries will be extracted. Both the infrastructure needed for this extraction and the ensuing resource revenues will open up major opportunities for development. However, the history of development through resource extraction is replete with failures. Paul Collier will discuss what we have learnt about the economic and political steps needed for successful development.
The remarkable rise in Chinese wages is finally opening up opportunities for low-income countries to break into manufacturing. Will this process of Chinese offshoring be confined to Asia or can Africa also break in? John Sutton focuses on the prospects for advances in industrial development in five countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania , Zambia and Mozambique. All five are poised on the threshold of moving into middle manufacturing. Will it happen? And what can be done to improve the odds?
Scottish Independence and its Macroeconomic Framework
Five months after the Royal Economic Society’s 2014 Annual Conference residents of Scotland will vote on the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Whatever the outcome, the economic and possibly constitutional arrangements between the nations of the UK are likely to change.
If there is a ‘Yes’ vote, this would end a political union which has existed for over three centuries. This would have profound consequences for both sides of the border. An independent Scotland would require a new macroeconomic framework, which would include a central bank and currency policy, a debt management office, a financial regulator, and a finance ministry and fiscal policy framework. If there is a ‘no’ vote, the Scotland Act already involves further economic changes and opinion polls suggest a clear preference for further devolution of economic powers. If more substantial devolution is agreed, then some of the UK’s fiscal, financial and monetary policy institutions might have to be redesigned.
The Scottish question is being raised in the wake of the global financial crisis, which has had a profound impact on the economic environment around the world. Policy priorities have changed, as has the institutional environment. For example, the role of central banks in ensuring financial stability and the acceptance of fiscal exposures all but ends the idea that central banks act purely to achieve price stability in a given fiscal setting. These issues extend far beyond Scotland’s border, but the referendum brings them into focus when thinking about economic arrangements between independent or substantively devolved countries. This special session is an opportunity to examine what an optimal macroeconomic framework for a small economy might look like in light of the lessons learned from the past six years.
The Economics of “Financial Fair Play” (FFP) in European Soccer (EJ Special Session)
The governing body for European soccer (UEFA) has announced a set of FFP regulations on clubs that wish to qualify for its pan-European competitions (Champions League, Europa League); some individual leagues in the European spectrum have also decided to impose similar regulations on all their clubs.
A cornerstone of FFP is the break-even requirement, whereby clubs’ expenditure on players must not exceed their soccer-related income, thus constraining perhaps the influence of so-called benefactor (or sugar-daddy) club owners. The focus of the session will be the economics of this quite unusual regulatory policy, which is receiving a lot of attention in the press and other media, and in academic circles.