LSE LSE Research Laboratory LSE
LSE Research Laboratory (RLAB)

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

The Irish Examiner
Northern farmers 'hardest hit' by Brexit fallout

Professor Michael Curran, an economist at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, said that while the UK's decision to leave the EU was ''unambiguously bad'' for Ireland and the UK as a whole, Northern Ireland would be hardest hit. ... Prof Curran also warned that the potential reintroduction of border and custom controls would significantly dent Northern Ireland's GDP: ''Some research has shown... that just these non-tariff barriers could raise costs for NI farmers by between 2% and 4% and a recent study by the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) found that a 2% increase in non-tariff barriers could actually reduce [the North's] GDP by 1.4% in the long-run.''

This article was published online by The Irish Examiner on July 27, 2016
Link to article here

Related publications
The complete series of Brexit Papers are available online here

Related links
Holger Breinlich webpage
Swati Dhingra webpage
Hanwei Huang webpage
Gianmarco Ottaviano webpage
Thomas Sampson webpage
John Van Reenen webpage
Trade Programme webpage
Growth Programme webpage

It turns out that companies don't do better when bosses have very high pay - but this will have to change after Brexit

Brian Bell and John Van Reenen of the London School of Economics' Centre for Economic Performance have carried out a similar exercise looking at top bosses' pay at 500 large listed UK companies between 1999 and 2014. Unlike in the MSCI study, the two researchers did find that executive pay was correlated with stock market performance over the period.

This article was published online by the Independent on July 27, 2016
Link to article here

Related publications
Bankers and their bonuses, Brian Bell and John Van Reenen, Centre for Economic Performance Occasional Paper No.35, February 2013
Extreme Wage Inequality: Pay at the Very Top, Brian Bell and John Van Reenen, Centre for Economic Performance Occasional Paper No.34, February 2013

Related links
Brian Bell webpage
John Van Reenen webpage
Growth Programme webpage

Royal Economic Society - Media Briefings
Misery of work second only to illness: UK evidence

British people are at their least happy while at work - except when they are sick in bed - according to a study forthcoming in the Economic Journal. The researchers Alex Bryson and George MacKerron analysed more than a million responses uploaded to a smartphone app, called Mappiness, that sporadically asks users questions such as how they are feeling, where they are and what they are doing.

This media briefing was published online by the Royal Economic Society on July 27, 2016
Link to the briefing here

Related publications
Are you happy while you work?, Alex Bryson and George MacKerron, Centre for Economic Performance Discussion Paper No.1187, February 2013
Are you happy while you work?, Alex Bryson and George MacKerron. Article in CentrePiece Volume 18, Issue 1, Summer 2013

Related links
Alex Bryson webpage
Labour Markets Programme webpage

Tania Burchardt to become Director of CASE
from September 2016


After over 18 years in the role, John Hills will be stepping-down as Director of CASE from mid-September, reflecting the increasing demands on his time as Co-Director of the recently established LSE International Inequalities Institute.


Tania Burchardt, currently Deputy Director will become Director of CASE.  Tania will be supported by Abigail McKnight, Kitty Stewart and Polly Vizard as Associate Directors, while Anne Power will continue to direct the LSE Housing and Communities Group. 


CASE colleagues are delighted that John will continue to be involved in an advisory function as Chair of CASE and through continuing research as part of the centre.

Three new major evidence reviews for the
European Commission are now available


Over the last year or so we have been conducting three major evidence reviews for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.  We were given the opportunity to present findings to the EU’s Social Protection Committee, the European Social Policy Network and at a half-day seminar at the European Commission.  We are pleased to inform you that these evidence reviews have just been published by the Commission and are free to download.

Evidence review - Creating More Equal Societies: What Works?

 by Abigail McKnight, Magali Duque and Mark Rucci

The aim of
this review is to assess the effectiveness of education, wage setting institutions and welfare states in reducing inequality. Education both empowers people and provides them with tradeable skills to secure a decent income – greater equality in individuals’ ability to generate income in the labour market is key to producing more equitable outcomes.

Evidence shows that imbalances in power result in some workers being underpaid while others are overpaid. Collective wage bargaining and minimum wages have proved to be successful in reducing wage inequality.

Curbs on the power of top executives, power which has allowed them to take an increasing share of the wagebill to the detriment of other workers and form a politically powerful elite, need further development.

Welfare states need to evolve to meet the challenges of ‘new inequalities’ and changing employment landscapes, but are essential now and will continue to be essential in the future to help individuals redistribute income over their own lives as well as between the rich and poor.


Evidence review - Low pay and in-work poverty: preventative measures and preventative approaches


by Abigail McKnight, Kitty Stewart, Sam Mohun Himmelweit and Marco Palillo


The evidence presented in this review highlights the benefits of preventing individuals entering low paid work as they can become trapped in low paid jobs or end up cycle between unemployment and precarious, low quality work. In countries where collective wage bargaining institutions declined or even disappeared in the latter part of the 20th Century, governments have been forced to piece together a number of policies to replace the role they played in creating wage floors and reducing inequality. These include minimum wages and (costly) in-work benefits. Reducing the incidence of low pay also has the benefit of reducing in-work poverty. 

However, the review emphasises that an effective anti-poverty strategy requires a portfolio of additional measures as well – not all low paid workers are living in poor households and not all workers living in poor households are low paid.  These additional measures include improving job stability and quality, increasing maternal employment and encouraging greater sharing of paid and unpaid work within the household, and – crucially – supporting families with children through universal child benefits and/or tax credits to lower earning households. The role of the latter is particularly important, both because of the higher incidence of in-work poverty in households with children, and because of the long-term consequences of growing up in poverty for children’s lives and opportunities.


Evidence review - The Strength of the Link between Income Support and Activation


by Abigail McKnight and Arnaud Vaganay

integration of the administration of income support claims and public employment services in many countries has had a number of benefits which include cost savings, reinforcement of the link between benefit receipt and the need to find work, and easier access to labour market programmes. 

The effectiveness of linking activation with income support receipt depends on the suitability of the activation programme.  The review concludes that in the short-term activation programmes that ‘push’ jobseekers into work may appear to be more effective than programmes that invest in the employability of jobseekers.

However, in the longer term there is a greater tendency for jobseekers pushed to take the first available job to cycle between unemployment and precarious forms of employment while programmes that seek to improve the job match and enhance the skills of jobseekers result in better longer term employment outcomes.

Latest in the series of blogs for Trust for London
Inequalities and disadvantage in London – focus on ethnicity

The new London Mayor Sadiq Khan was elected in May on a platform of fairness, with commitments to a more equal London, the creation of a new economic fairness unit within the GLA and tackling low pay. In this latest blog we look at disparities in key economic outcomes (unemployment, youth unemployment, low pay, income and wealth) in London by ethnic group.

The findings are drawn from our comprehensive report on inequality and disadvantage in London published last year, The Changing Anatomy of Economic Inequality in London (2007-2013). The report provided a detailed picture of what happened to different population groups in London in the wake of the crisis and downturn. In a series of blogs we are expanding that analysis by ‘drilling down’ into different aspects of inequality in London.

Other blogs in this series:

What happened to inequality in London following the crisis and downturn?

Inequalities and disadvantage in London – focus on Disability

Inequalities and disadvantage in London: focus on Religion and Belief