Economics is increasingly a multi-disciplinary subject. In this interview with Diane Coyle, she discussed her research in three inter-connected areas: productivity, as a driver of higher living standards over time; improved statistics and methods of measuring the economy; and how to include broader environmental and social issues into growth models. She explained her work on country but also industry level productivity, giving examples from her analysis of the health, telecoms and construction sectors. One of the key messages from the Bennett Institute’s Wealth Economy Research Programme is that sustained prosperity will depend on stewardship of the whole portfolio of society’s assets, not only labour, finance and technology but also natural, social, and institutional capital. Diane explained some of the measurement issues and value judgements related to narrower and broader measures of GDP and future growth. The discussion turned to the digital economy and the resource of data, its capture by different entities, its distribution, and future regulation. Lastly, Diane set out some thoughts on the need for greater diversity in the economics profession, to help broaden the range of issues being examined, and made suggestions on the role of economists in advising government, business and society to take better decisions as economies rebuild following the pandemic.
Diane Coyle CBE is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, with a particular interest on research into progress and productivity. She is also a Director of the Productivity Institute, a Fellow of the Office for National Statistics, an expert adviser to the National Infrastructure Commission, and Senior Independent Member of the ESRC Council. She has served in several public service roles: as Vice Chair of the BBC Trust, and a member of the Competition Commission, of the Migration Advisory Committee, and of the Natural Capital Committee. Her latest book ‘Markets, State and People – Economics for Public Policy’ examined how societies reach decisions about the use and allocation of economic resources.
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