News and events
See the latest news and events from the Department of Economics
graduation december 2017
Many congratulations to all of our BSc and MA students who graduated this December! Good luck with whatever the future holds for you - we wish you every success!
Special congratulations go to our Department Prizewinners: Fari Aftab - Best Dissertation, Jacob Kenny - Best MPP student and Megan Sullivan - Best Overall Academic Performance.
brexit and big social data
Brexit continues to dominate public discourses, the news and our lives, and yet the majority of us, regardless of how we voted in the referendum, still struggle with the complexity of the issues involved in leaving the EU, and do not have a clear understanding of the consequences. Is it because government, the press and the experts have not done a good job informing us? Or is it that we do not trust them, and prefer to base our decisions on other sources of information?
Click here to read the report of the workshop on 1st December.
housing for older people
On 20th November Professor Geoff Meen was invited to give oral evidence to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee. The Committee is investigating housing for older people and, in particular, whether this group is "over-consuming" housing to the detriment of younger households who are facing serious housing shortages. On official measures based on a bedroom standard, approximately 70% of the over-60s are "over-consuming". However, these figures are misleading and the fact that many older owner-occupiers are living in large homes simply reflects that most have already paid off their mortgages and have adequate incomes. Therefore, there is no reason for them to downsize unless there are physical reasons for them to do so. It is unsurprising that many choose to remain in the family home for as long as possible. Full details of the evidence session can be found at:
freight transport history workshop
Freight Transport History Workshop
By Fabian Hiscock
The University hosted, in conjunction with the Railway and Canal Historical Society, a small day-long workshop on the history of Freight Transport on 24th Nov. Led by Professor Mark Casson, it was mainly aimed at UK travel systems, but there were papers covering European waterways and the development of the distribution system for the Danish Co-Op just to keep the picture broad.
Railway, road and waterway freight transport featured equally. The debunking of the myth that Army Surplus lorries generated the post-WW1 boom in road transport was especially well received, but there was also plenty of time to look at cranes, competition affecting the Shropshire Union Canal Company, goods moving between the steelworks and factories of Sheffield, the logistics of brewing before the WW1 and the highly successful computerised management of British Railways' freight business between 1950 and 1990.
In summing up the day, which had been intended to bring together the academic and the non-academic enthusiast for transport history, Mark Casson observed that about the only mode not to feature at all was the air, although sea traffic hadn't been prominent. Reflecting on several of the papers, and wondering if the railways had always had a problem with customer satisfaction, he encouraged the speakers to finish off what was clearly in many cases work coming to completion. It was clear to everyone that the event had been a successful 'first', and another in the same style will be considered.
2nd European Workshop on political macroeconomics (ewpm)
On behalf of the EARG and SPEIR, Dr Alexander Mihailov organised and hosted the second European Workshop on Political Macroeconomics (EWPM) on 9-11 October 2017 at Park House on our Whiteknights campus. According to the feedback from our guests, the event was very successful and enjoyable.
Please click here for the full report.
UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE)
The Economics Department, the School of Real Estate and Planning and the School of Architecture are members of a new housing research centre funded by the ESRC, AHRC and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) is directed from Glasgow University, but consists of a network of universities from across the country. The picture shows members of the network at the first meeting of CaCHE held in Glasgow in September. The Department's representative, Prof. Geoff Meen, is in the second row from the back.
Housing has long been an area of research strength in the Department and an initiative is currently on-going to integrate more fully inter-disciplinary housing research across the University. In policy terms, these are important times in housing with a White Paper published by the Government earlier this year and a forthcoming Green Paper. CaCHE and Reading are heavily involved with research to aid government policy.
ASGS Conference - 6th October 2017
Dr Marina Della Giusta will be speaking at the Association of State Girl's Schools' Annual Conference. Please click here for info on how to book your place.
Congratulations to Dr. Mark Shanahan and Dr. Simonetta Longhi who have both been awarded the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy of the UK.
European Association of Labour Economists (EALE)
Dr Simonetta Longhi presented her paper 'The Role of Location in the Estimation of Ethnic Wage Differentials' at the conference of the European Association of Labour Economists (EALE) 21-23 September. The conference brings together researchers working on topic related to the labour market http://www.eale.nl/29th-eale-conference-st-gallen/).
Dr Marina Della Giusta and Dr Sarah Jewell also did poster presentations at EALE.
Marina Della Giusta, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom ; Sarah Jewell, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom ; Danica Vukadinovic- Greetham, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
Sarah Jewell, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom ; Pantelis Kazakis, University of Economics Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Understanding Society conference and ARC Discovery Project
This summer, Dr Simonetta Longhi presented a paper at the Understanding Society conference 11-13 July, along with Dr Vivien Burrows (see below). The paper was entitled 'Is Unemployment of Ethnic Minorities the Result of Occupational Segregation?'.
Dr Sarah Jewell also attended two days of a four day research workshop at the University of Venice for an ARC (Australian Research Council) Discovery Project that she is involved in entitled 'So What do you Do?: tracking creative graduates in Australia and the UK' . Information about the project (she will be added soon to the list of investigators) can be found at: https://www.canberra.edu.au/research/faculty-research-centres/cccr/research-projects/so-what-do-you-do
urop and the big data group
Over the summer, a number of students worked with members of staff on the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme. These are opportunities for students to become involved with the research work that members of the department are involved with.
The Big Data Group (Giuseppe Di Fatta, James Reade, Sylvia Jaworska, Danica Vukadinovic-Greetham, Marina Della Giusta and Sarah Jewell) together with four UROP students (Holly Vincent and Nick Bolitho in Mathematics, Tirgram Sagomonian in Linguistics and Hamza Nadeem in Economics), have used a large Twitter dataset during the referendum campaign alongside publicly available data from social surveys to address a set of issues.
Please click here to read the full report.
josh summerfield - summer scholarship in china
Click here to read Josh's report.
Understanding Society Conference, University of Essex
In July, Dr Vivien Burrows presented her paper on 'Mortgage equity withdrawal, risk preferences and financial capability' at the Understanding Society Conference at the University of Essex www.understandingsociety.ac.uk/scientific-conference-2017. The three-day conference brought together researchers from universities, government departments, charities and other research institutions to discuss research findings based on longitudinal household panel surveys. Topics covered included health, education, employment, income and wealth, and ethnicity. Dr Burrows' research looked at how individuals' financial capability affects their borrowing behaviour, focusing on borrowing that is tied to the value of individuals' homes.
Dr James Reade - What has sport got to do with economics?
This summer I visited two places of great sporting and historical significance. The first, with UROP student Owen Gittings, was the MCC Archive at Lord's, the "home of cricket". The first cricket match at this iconic venue took place in 1787, and it is steeped in history. The second was the National Football Museum's Archive at Deepdale, Preston North End's football stadium. Preston were the invincibles in the early days of English football, and remain the only team to win the League Championship winning every single game in a season.
What have famous sporting venues, and historical archives, got to do with economics? Well, sport is leisure, and leisure is the counterpart to work, in the utility maximisation framework. It is also economic activity since many play sport professionally. Sport is central to the social fabric, and the development of sport appears to have mirrored the more general economic development, particularly of the UK.
Sport also offers a lot of data, and often, a lot of retained records. Numbers that interest economists. How many people went to watch a game, and how much did each of them pay? Have managerial decisions got better over the years? Are things measurably different now that players have more freedom of movement? Or should things go further? What can we learn about regional economic development by considering sport across the regions?
These are all questions I'm hoping to investigate in the coming months. If you're interested in helping me out with some research assistance, and have some spare time, please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Niaz Asadullah - International policy commentary publications
Asadullah, M Niaz and Maliki (2017) "Bottling Indonesia's Gini". The Project Syndicate, 01 September.
Asadullah, M Niaz, Samia Huq, Kazi Mukitul Islam, and Zaki Wahhaj (2017) "Gender stereotypes in Bangladeshi School Textbooks" World Education Blog, Global Education Monitoring Report (GMR), UNESCO, 30 May.
2nd European Workshop on Political Macroeconomics (EWPM)
Dear colleagues and PhD students,
You are kindly invited to attend the 2nd European Workshop on Political Macroeconomics (EWPM), to be held at University of Reading on Monday-Tuesday, 9-10 October 2017.
The goal of the annual EWPM is to bring together economists with a strong interest in political economy and macroeconomics, creating a productive atmosphere and aiming to inform policymakers on topical macro-debates. It was initially intended as a small-scale and collaborative research event, but one that may grow over the years into a larger forum. The 1st EWPM was held in Mainz on 29-30 March 2016 and consisted of closed presentations followed by discussions. Different from the 1st EWPM in Mainz, the 2nd EWPM in Reading now opens up the attendance and discussions to a wider audience. And, since the EWPM is this year in the UK, we decided to convene a "topical panel" on Brexit. We also introduce a "special talk" on incorporating virtue ethics into social welfare functions of normative economics.
Colleagues and PhD students specialising at the intersection of macroeconomics and political economy - as well as (less so) in public policy - will find the workshop of immediate interest and use.
Attendance is free; to register, please use the following Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/2nd-european-workshop-on-political-macroeconomics-ewpm-2017-tickets-36538011175.
We look forward to seeing many of you at the 2nd EWPM!
child development and entrepreneurship experts elected to british academy
Read about Professor Mark Casson being named as a Fellow of the British Academy, the UK's national body for the humanities and social sciences here.
Congratulations to all of our students who graduated on 6th July 2017 - we are so proud of your achievements and are sure you will go on to achive many more great things!
Further congratulations to our 2017 Prizewinning students (l-r) Lena-Katharina Gerdes - Joint Degree Department Prize for Academic Excellence, Oscar Lomas - Joint Head of Department Prize for Academic Excellence, Cameron Smith - Department Prize for Academic Excellence - First Class Achiever, Emma Lobo - Department Prize for Academic Excellence - First Class Achiever, Helen Bonney - Peter Hart Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Department, Rheanna Norris - Peter Hart Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Department, Freddy Farias-Arias - Peter Hart Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Department, and Professor Giovanni Razzu.
research life in pictures - people's choice winner
Shamsa Al Sheibani, a PhD student in Economics, was the People's Choice winner for Research Life in Pictures at the recent Doctoral Research Conference. Shamsa presented a poster titled "Hanging wonders of Reading".
"In a world of grey be red, be Reading". This is the slogan of the University of Reading by which all students, faculty and other employees are inspired to aim for greater heights and towards excellence in academic and professional arenas. This image shows bright red cubes hanging in an innovative and beautiful way from the ceiling of a building in a world of grey, and so the doctoral life is a striking and magnificent experience which enables students to distinguish themselves from others through their new and genuine research that is worth reading and applicable to real life.
The hanging wonders of Reading are not mythical. They are real. They are you and me. They are Reading. Shamsa Al Sheibani.
Congratulations to Shamsa!
2017-18 Placement Students
We are delighted that 14 Economics students will be doing a one year placement in 2017/18. The Government Economic Service (GES) placement scheme has proved a popular choice again as Reading students return to the Office for National Statistics, HM Treasury, as well as a new GES destination, The Food Standards Agency.
Other Economics students have chosen a variety of placement roles at the following organisations: Bank of England, CSI Ltd, Intel, Knorr-Bremse Rail Systems (UK) Limited, Lloyds Bank and Travelport. Congratulations to all the students: Olivia Bald, Aidan Beresford, Chloe Felton, Roberto Marrocco, Sam Mernagh, Lloyd Phillips, Jimmy Philp, Fraser Ritchie, Rachel Strachan, James Wignall, Jake Wilson, Yunfei Zhu.
We look forward to welcoming you back to Reading in 2018.
Summer Research Internship
Congratulations to Michael Georgiev, who has been awarded a Summer Research Internship by the School of Politics, Economics and International Relations. Michael will work with Stefania Lovo from the Economics Department on a project to investigate the unintended effects of environmental regulation on firm performance. The quantitative project focuses on Indian firms and will investigate whether a 2006 reform of the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure has raised entry barriers in certain states with consequent effects on incumbents' performance.
British Academy Post Doctoral Fellowship Award
Congratulations to Neha Hui (Ph.D. in Economics, 2017) who has been awarded a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Neha will be working on 'Understanding Post Emancipation Indentured Labour Migration from the Indian Subcontinent to Trinidad'.
QS World University Rankings 2017
The QS World University Rankings 2017 by subject areas places the Department of Economics in the top 20 in the UK for Economics and Econometrics. The ranking is created by evaluating four parameters: academic reputation based on a survey of academics, reputation among employers (based on recruiter opinions), research citations per paper and the H-Index, which measures the prolificacy and impact of research publications.
"The new QS ranking represents an important recognition of the hard work that goes on in the Department and highlights the high calibre of the students and the placements that they find, as well as the result of our excellent teaching and research," says Giovanni Razzu, Head of the Department of Economics.
P&R Research Output Prize runner-up explains: Is your name holding you back from a life of riches?
From nine very strong outputs and strong competition, the paper "The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization" by Costanza Biavaschi (U Reading), Corrado Giulietti (University of Southampton) and Zahra Siddique (University of Reading) was awarded this year's P&R Research Output Prize runner-up.
Most Americans and Europeans have heard stories of ancestors migrating to the U.S. and Americanizing their names in the early 20th century, but what exactly was the extent of this phenomenon? What consequences did it have on migrants' economic success? In this paper the authors quantify for the first time the magnitude and consequences of name Americanization. Digging through thousands of 1920s naturalization papers from New York City, the authors find that more than 30% of European migrants abandoned foreign-sounding names to adopt a popular American name. This widespread practice paid off: migrants who Americanized their names achieved higher economic success than those who did not.
The selection panel was very impressed by the research, noting in particular the innovative data collection and statistical methods, but also that it addressed an important and timely topic, and the accessibility and clarity of the writing. Many congratulations to Costie and Zahra!
Along with Dr Sarah Jewell and Dr Marina Della Giusta, Dr James Reade has been awarded an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) award. This means that in the summer they will be able to employ two undergraduate students in between their second and third years as research assistants on projects.
The project with Sarah is entitled "The Economics of Cricket and Football over the Centuries", and the project with Marina is entitled "The Economics of Board Games". Both will involve thinking creatively about applying economics into very interesting areas of life, and both will involve using data to draw more general conclusions about the way economic agents interact with each other.