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Latest RLAB News

Below are the latest headlines for CEP and STICERD. For full coverage see the CEP News and Visitors Site and the STICERD News and Visitors Site

Financial Times
Europe will benefit from Greece being given a fresh start

Letter to the Financial Times: signatories include Prof Christopher Pissarides

First, a further conditional increase in the grace period, so that Greece does not have to service any debt, for example for the next five years and then only if Greece is growing at 3 per cent or more, and until Greece has recovered at least 50 per cent of the gross domestic product it has lost since 2008.

This article appeared in the Financial Times on 23 January 2015 link to article

Related links
Christopher Pissarides webpage
Macro Programme webpage
Christopher Pissarides CEP publications webpage

The State of the Union kicked off Obama's push for paid parental and sick leave

During Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced his plan to expand paid leave for workers, starting with the federal government. Even with three months available to them, few Americans can take that much leave without pay. And as Baby Boomers age, more and more Americans will need to provide care for elderly family members. ''[Obama] is also proposing $2 billion in new funds to encourage states to develop paid family and medical leave programs,'' Stevenson says. At the same time, Obama is using his authority over the federal workforce to extend more benefits.

Businesses that adopt paid leave policies often see positive results: A study of more than 700 firms by the Centre for Economic Performance, a London-based think tank, found that companies with work-life balance policies had higher productivity. Other research suggests that it can even boost corporate profits.

This article was published online by PRI (Public Radio International) on January 21, 2015
Link to article here

Related publications
Work Life Balance, Management Practices and Productivity, Nicholas Bloom, Tobias Kretschmer and John Van Reenen, Centre for Economic Performance Report, January 2006.
Work-Life Balance: the Links with Management Practices and Productivity, Nicholas Bloom, Tobias Kretschmer and John Van Reenen. Article in CentrePiece Volume 11, Issue 1, Summer 2006

Related links
Nicholas Bloom webpage
John Van Reenen webpage
Productivity and Innovation Programme webpage

The three way fight for the future of the Green Belt

Consider the example of planning policy. On one side of the barricades, there are those opposed to new development - perhaps not in general, but certainly when it comes to any specific attempt to build much-needed new housing. Lined up against them is the pro-development lobby who want to see the existing restrictions on new-build swept away. Looking on a map the biggest such restriction is the Green Belt - which the radicals want to get rid of. Their arguments are neatly encapsulated in a piece for City AM by Ben Southwood, who makes a number of interesting points:
''According to LSE professor Paul Cheshire, new build houses are about 40 per cent bigger in the Netherlands and 38 per cent bigger in Germany than they are in England. And yet housing goes for 45 per cent less per square metre in the Netherlands and, in Germany, prices did not rise throughout the entire 1971 to 2002 period ''

This article was published online by Conservativehome on January 21, 2015
Link to article here

Related publications
Turning houses into gold: the failure of British planning, Paul Cheshire. Article in CentrePiece, Volume 19, Issue 1, Spring 2014

Related links
Paul Cheshire webpage
Spatial Economics Research Centre webpage

Public Economics Annual Symposium 2015

The 2015 CEPR Annual Public Economics Symposium will take place on 14-15 May at the London School of Economics. It will be hosted by STICERD and co-funded by the International Growth Centre.

The goal of the symposium is to provide a forum for high-quality work in public economics and to bring together economists in the field from across Europe as well as key researchers from outside the region.

This year's symposium features a keynote talk by Professor Emmanuel Saez, UC Berkeley. The symposium will also include a number of sessions devoted specifically to the theme of "public economics and development". The event provides 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 is also a great opportunity for young researchers to meet and discuss their work with senior economists.

For more information about this event please go to

CASE/SPCC Special Event
The Coalition's Social Policy Record: Policy, Spending and Outcomes 2010-2015

Wednesday 28th January 2015

09.00am to 10.15am (Breakfast Briefing on Overall Findings)
10.45am to 12.30pm (Additional Presentations)

Mary Sumner House, 24 Tufton St, Westminster, SW1P 3RB (next to Westminster Abbey - see map)

Book now to secure your place at the launch of findings of a major research programme examining the Coalition's social policies and their impact. To reserve a place email:

Researchers from the LSE and Universities of Manchester and York will launch nine new reports including an overview of the Coalition's social policy record and separate papers on:
  • taxes and benefits,
  • health,
  • adult social care,
  • under fives,
  • further and higher education and skills,
  • employment,
  • housing,
  • area regeneration
A further paper on schools will be launched on 10th February, following release of further GCSE results in late January.

Each paper contains thorough analysis of policy, spending and trends in outcomes, showing how the Coalition has tackled the fiscal and social policy challenges it faced in 2010. What has it protected from austerity measures and what has been cut? What has been the effect on services and the people receiving them? What has happened to poverty, inequality and the distribution of other social and economic outcomes? Has the government kept to its pledges to cut the deficit while protecting those most in need, radically reform the welfare state and increase social mobility? What challenges remain as further austerity looms?

Details of the event are:

08:30-09:00 Light breakfast available
09:00-10:15 Overview Briefing on the Coalition's record overall
(Ruth Lupton and John Hills)
10:15-10:45 Short break for coffee and networking
10:45-11:45 Choice of optional breakout groups covering more detailed evidence around:
  • Employment, Tax, and Benefits (Abigail McKnight and John Hills)
  • Health, Social care and Housing (Polly Vizard, Tania Burchardt and Becky Tunstall)
  • Early years, Schools, and Further and Higher Education (Kitty Stewart and Ruth Lupton)
These groups will include questions and discussion
Free copies of the individual summaries, and links to the full reports as well as copies of the summary overview report will be available.

The work is part of the Social Policy in a Cold Climate research programme, which is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Nuffield Foundation and Trust for London. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the funders.