Presentation on theme: "SEC3 2014 Engaging Leeds Yes and No Minister: working as a policy economist How to be a Successful Policy Economist A vocational approach to Economics."— Presentation transcript:
SEC3 2014 Engaging Leeds Yes and No Minister: working as a policy economist How to be a Successful Policy Economist A vocational approach to Economics Cathy Dolan and Andy Ross
Drivers The Dearing report (NCIHE 1997) sparked a debate on HE and employability. External factors such as the economic crisis and the expansion of HE has resulted in a competitive jobs market for graduates. The Association of Graduate Recruiters (2012) reports an average of 75 applicants for each vacancy. The University of Leeds introduced the employability curricula thread. In 2012 the Economics Network surveyed employers (Pomorina 2012) and reported that the ability to communicate complex ideas to non-economists was highly valued but mostly lacking in graduates. As economics developed their employability strategy this new, innovative module was added to the portfolio.
Recruitment to the Government Economic Service 2012 UniApplicantsSuccessful---- (N)(N)% Leeds14536 Oxford24 833 Edinburgh13431 LSE20630 Bristol22627 York11327 Cambridge23522 Source: GES
$ £ UNCLASSIFIED MV≡PY Y ≡E WR≡Y € ¥ MV≡PT
Leeds University is proud of its erudition, objectivity & rigour We’re here to change all that!
Syllabus: Vocational orientation What professional practitioners do The power of big ideas and good stories Choosing one thing over another What’s on the policy horizon? Why most applicants fail How to spin, and when you shouldn’t Why it’s a lot more than science Policy case studies Strengths and weaknesses of economics for policy
GES and Bank of England conferences etc. Broad agreement that economics students need: more history and real-world context better practical data-handling skills to communicate to non-specialists to appreciate the limitations of modelling a pluralistic approach to economics, deductive and inductive reasoning
SEC3 2014 Engaging Leeds Please re-arrange the following in order of frequency of use by government economists: Cost-benefit analysis Analysis involving maths Game Theory Synthesising Evidence Econometric analysis
GES frequency of use 2012 Synthesising Evidence 84.4% Cost-benefit analysis 68 % Analysis involving maths 53.2% Econometric analysis 51.5% Game Theory 15 % The usual university prioritisation Analysis involving maths Econometric analysis Game Theory Cost-benefit analysis Synthesising Evidence
You can mislead without lies There are over 1000 people living in Leeds today who have more than the average number of legs!
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I’ve removed your card UNCLASSIFIED
Leading questions from ‘Yes Minister’ Are you worried about the number of young people without jobs? Are you worried about the increase in drugs and crime committed by teenagers? Are you concerned about the lack of discipline in our schools? Do you think that young people would welcome some authority and leadership in their lives? Do you think young people would respond to a challenge? Would you vote in favour of compulsory military service? Yes, you probably would, especially after all your other responses. UNCLASSIFIED
OR Are you concerned about the danger of a terrorist war? Are you worried about the growth of the weapons industry? Are you concerned about the increasing availability of firearms on the street? Do you think there is danger in teaching people how to use guns to kill people? Do you think it’s wrong to force people to take up arms against their will? Would you vote against compulsory military service? Yes, you probably would, especially after all those ‘yes’ answers. UNCLASSIFIED
Gordon Brown April 2009 "I take full responsibility for what happened - that is why the person that was responsible went immediately” UNCLASSIFIED
Misrepresentation by Narrative? Dec 2012 Teresa May: “..we asked the Migration Advisory Committee [MAC] to look at the effects of immigration on jobs, and their conclusions were stark.” UNCLASSIFIED
What MAC actually said "In particular, any link between immigration and employment of British-born people cannot be proved to be causal. Rather, it should be thought of as an association.“ [and not even substantiated by wider research] UNCLASSIFIED
What did MORI/YouGov respondents say? What percentage of people in Britain today are immigrants (that is, born outside the UK)? What percentage of the UK population is Muslim? What proportion of benefits are claimed fraudulently? UNCLASSIFIED
The average response for the percentage of the UK population that people think are Muslim is a quarter (the actual figure is 5%). 5% of people think over half of the British population is Muslim. What proportion of benefits are claimed fraudulently? The actual answer is about 0.7%, MORI said 24% (similar to the 27% that YouGov got). What percentage of people in Britain today are immigrants (that is, were born outside the UK)? People said 31%, The actual figure is 13%. What did MORI/YouGov respondents say:
‘Evidence based policy’ versus ‘policy based evidence’ A) Get the facts to support your case B) Try to disprove your case: If it holds you might begin to have confidence in it A is much more common than B B lacks appeal, so sell it as being about ‘What Works’ UNCLASSIFIED
Production of Briefing Material 75.3% Policy Advice 69.6% COMMUNICATION A very different style from academic writing! What have GES members done in the past year?
Practise writing economics in plain English UNCLASSIFIED
Brief for the Development of UK Atomic Bomb
Participation10 per cent Group Interview10 per cent 2 hour exam80 per cent 30 mins < Seen Topic ~ 30 mins Plain English Minister’s briefing on seen question 1:30mins > unseen short response questions: Assessment
Job Getting Tips- (Go to the GES EAC Open Day!) Fill in all the form, including the bits you don’t think you fit well e.g. ‘extra-curricula’ Watch the cut & paste! At interview: It’s OK to be nervous- better than being arrogant Sell yourself- but you’re not expected to be the finished product Know the basics well & show you can apply them Read the FT – you are an economist! UNCLASSIFIED
GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES Recent GES Fast Streamers UNCLASSIFIED