A land down under….

This is a link to a nice conference on the Australian economy which colleagues at the Melbourne Institute ran a week or two ago.   Some good presentations (audio links also available).   Education session is good – I thought Andrew Leigh gave a great presentation which hits a lot of issues and views that I would share (raise quality and quantity).  Ditto innovation.   Some of the political speeches are as you would find them anywhere although I thought the Education Minister gave a smart and focused look at what their priorities are in this domain.

The papers by Van Ours and Gregory repeat a point made often here on labour market response – Van Ours nails this as get active in labour market and keep folks at work, nothing is irreversible, this is a crisis response and not a ‘steady state’ labour market strategy so don’t compare to the literature on Active Labour Market Policies which, he agrees, are pessimistic and carry sizable deadweight.

DEW Conference – November 2nd

The third in the series of Dublin Economics Workshop meetings on the Irish economy will take place on November 2nd at the Radission SAS Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 2.   The programme details are as follows:
1300 Registration
Session 1
Chair and Discussant – John Fitzgerald (ESRI)
1330-1415 David Blanchflower (Dartmouth) – What Should Be Done About Rising Unemployment?
1415-1445 Colm Harmon (UCD) – Education and Innovation Strategies
1445-1515 Discussion and Q&A
1515-1530 Coffee Break
Session 2
Chair and Discussant – Colm McCarthy (UCD)
1530-1600 John McHale (NUIG) – The Other Crisis:  Whither Irish Pensions?
1600-1630 Philip Lane (TCD) – Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Adjustment in Ireland
1630-1700 DIscussion and Q&A
Please RSVP to emma.barron@ucd.ie (many thanks to those who have already done so!).  We are looking forward to a full house and a lively meeting.

Public Lecture – James Smith (RAND)

On the 15th of October 2009, UCD will award the Ulysses medal to Professor James Smith, former head of the Labour and Population Centre at RAND and two-time recipient of the National Institute of Aging Merit Award. Professor Smith’s lecture will take place in the Conway Lecture Theatre in the UCD Conway Institute at 4pm. The title of the lecture is “Effects of Childhood Mental and Physical Health on Adult Socioeconomic Status”. There will be coffee both before and after the lecture. Those wishing to attend, please rsvp to geary@ucd.ie

Further details of Professor’s Smiths work are available on the webpages below.


DEW Conference – November 2nd 2009, Dublin

Event: Third DEW Policy Conference

Venue: Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin (http://www.radissonblu.ie/royalhotel-dublin/location)

Date and Time: November 2nd, 2pm to 5.30pm

The third DEW conference will take place on November 2nd between 2pm and 5.30pm in the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Golden Lane in Dublin city centre. The conference continues the general themes from previous events surrounding the Irish economic position. Speakers to include David Blanchflower (Dartmouth College), Colm Harmon (UCD), John McHale (NUIG), Patrick Honohan (TCD), Karl Whelan (UCD). A full agenda will be posted on this site in September and at the UCD Geary Institute and Irish Economic Association sites.

Due to the usual issues of venue size and logistics we would appreciate if people could register as soon as possible by emailing emma.barron@ucd.ie

Norman Glass

Readers of this blog might recall my support for the establishment of something modelled on the UK Government Economic Service.   I was sad to hear of the passing last week of a great Irish economist though perhaps one of the least known – Norman Glass – who was in many ways one of the architects of the GES.

The Guardian obituary is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jun/29/obituary-norman-glass

Norman was a pioneer in economics within policy circles.   He was the first economist in the UK Department of Health for example in the early 1970s.   But it was his time at the Treasury where he really made his impact, becoming in effect the Chief Microeconomist and the driver of the microeconomic revival at the Treasury during the early days of Blair and Brown particularly in the aftermath of the Bank of England independence move.  The development of the working families tax credit, the innovations in linking labour supply policy and welfare strategies, major initiatives in education and health – Norman was central to all of these moves and to the early success of the ‘New Labour’ era.   Norman also developed an interest in the early skills formation agenda, designing SureStart (and later became a vocal critic of what the UK Government did with that programme in letting it become bloated and without direction).   On retirement from the Treasury he went on to lead NatCen, perhaps the largest and best social research company in Europe.

Norman was a complete gentleman, quietly interested in what went on in Irish economics, hugely supportive of students and researchers who made contact with him.   He is also perhaps amongst the most influential Irishmen of the late 20th century, albeit also one of the most modest and ‘backroom’, completely anonymous in his homeland.

I thought it might be interesting to readers to learn about Norman, but in passing I can’t help but think that as we face up to the consequences of terrible decisionmaking in economic policy over the past 15 years or so, and how little evidence there is of clever thinking in economics within the Irish civil service, one of the most important figures in policy decision making and in creating the infrastructure for economics in Government in the UK system, was an Irish economist.   Knowing Norman, I suspect he would have found that funny too!