Monthly Archives: March 2016

Professor Miguel Leon-Ledesma

German wages and international current account imbalances

It is often said that wage moderation in Germany was the primary cause of the current account imbalances in the euro area that emerged prior to the financial crisis. A new study by the School’s Professor Miguel León-Ledesma and Dr Timo Bettendorf, a Research Economist in the Economic department of the Bundesbank and former PhD student at the School, puts this hypothesis to the test. An article on their research has featured in Research Brief  (2nd Edition, March 2016) published by the Deutsche Bundesbank Eurosystem Research Centre.

Persistent current account deficits can be problematic as, on account of the rise in external debt that they cause, they have the potential to make economies more vulnerable to shocks. Current account deficits arise when aggregate cross-border expenditure on goods and services, together with income payments and transfers sent abroad, exceed corresponding revenue. While many euro-area member states were posting such deficits, especially in the years prior to the financial crisis, Germany was recording high current account surpluses. Some observers even viewed these imbalances as the root cause of the sovereign debt crisis in the euro area…

You can read the full article here:;jsessionid=0000XDKRV6D-6aUMI8jsp7CR2q7:-1

Plus the article was included on the home page of BuBa:



Workshop: Economic and Psychological Perspectives on Social Issues using an Experimental Approach

The Eastern ARC Quantitative Social Sciences section at the University of Kent would like to invite academic staff and postgraduate research students to participate in the workshop ‘Economic and Psychological Perspectives on Social Issues using an Experimental Approach’ to be held at the University of Kent on 20-21 April 2016.

The purpose of the workshop is to highlight the synergy of research in economics and psychology with the aim to foster collaboration among students and faculty. Potential topics of interest include, but other topics falling within the remit of the workshop will also be considered:

  1. Cognition and Coordination, e.g. focal points in bargaining, social communication, reasoning in games
  2. Group Processes, e.g. peer effects, pro-social behaviour, social exclusion, prejudice and discrimination, honesty and cheating
  3. Risk attitudes and social/redistribution preferences, e.g. evaluation of environmental risk and uncertainty, attitudes to fairness and inequality, response to punishment or reward, poverty and self-control problems

The faculty participants will include:
Dr Edward Cartwright, Professor Roger Giner-Sorolla, Dr David Hugh-Jones, Dr Fernanda Leite Lopez de LeonDr Subhasish Modak Chowdhury, Dr Anders Poulsen, Dr Odile Poulsen, Dr Anna Stepanova, Dr Giovanni Travaglino, Professor Ayse K Uskul,
Dr Zaki Wahhaj.

To participate please submit an abstract for a spoken presentation (20 min), OR an abstract for a poster. Abstracts should be between 100-200 words. Please send submissions to Katy Wade  ( by 25 March 2016, under the title ‘SUBMISSION EXPERIMENTAL WORKSHOP’. Announcements will be made on 31 March 2016, the final programme will be available soon after.

The workshop is free for all Eastern ARC staff and PG students to attend. Travel support for staff and PG students from UEA and Essex might be provided for by their respective EARC institutions.

The University of Kent, Canterbury Campus:

Directions for travel:

Denise Lovett
Dr Edward Cartwright
Dr Fernanda Leite Lopez de Leon
Dr Odile Poulsen


Seminar on impact of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

The Board of the European Association of Agricultural Economists has approved the CEAS (Centre for European Agri-Environmental Studies) proposal for a seminar on the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on rural job creation.

CEAS, in partnership with the Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development at the Polish Academy of Sciences, is organising a Pan-European seminar on ‘Analysis of the contribution of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to European rural employment – past, present and future’.

This is a timely topic considering that the maintenance and creation of employment is a primary rural development objective, and is being pursued alongside those for competitiveness and environmental sustainability, and within a context of increased migration, both into Europe and between European states. The recent past has witnessed a continuous substitution of capital for labour both on farms, and in the associated sectors. Nevertheless, job creation, or at least job maintenance, is now – implicitly if not explicitly – an aim of the current CAP. This seminar will analyse the association of CAP expenditure with the development of agricultural and rural non-agricultural employment across the EU, and ask how further CAP reforms might address rural job creation in the socio-economic conditions beyond 2020. The seminar will place special emphasis on both conceptual and methodological and data issues.

The seminar will take place on 1st and 2nd December in Warsaw. Further details can be found on the seminar website:

The School’s Professor Sophia Davidova chairs the International Programme Committee and Dr Alastair Bailey is a member of the Committee.

School’s Professor Chadha appointed next Director of NIESR

The School would like to congratulate Jagjit Chadha on his appointment as the Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), with effect from May this year.

Jagjit Chadha is currently a Professor in the School of Economics and Mercers’ School Memorial Professor of Commerce at Gresham College. He has held previous academic posts at the Universities of Cambridge, Southampton and St Andrews and has also worked as an economist at the Bank of England and BNP Paribas.  Throughout his career he has been a commentator and researcher on a wide range of macro-economic policy issues.

NIESR aims to promote, through quantitative and qualitative research, a deeper understanding of the interaction of economic and social forces that affect people’s lives, and the ways in which policies can improve them. The Institute is based in central London and has provided impartial research on a range of topics since 1938 when it was set up using charitable funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust among others. Recent Directors have included Andrew Britton, Martin Weale and Jonathon Portes.

Jagjit will continue to be involved with the School during his appointment, including supervising his postgraduate students, and we would like to wish him the very best of luck in this new post.   Jagjit says: “I have myself benefitted from a wonderful education from my own time at Kent and hope to stay in close touch with my many excellent colleagues.”

Read the NIESR’s news release here.



Francis Darko

Is there a mission drift in microfinance?

A new discussion paper by Francis Awuku Darko, KDPE 1603, March 2016


This paper considers the possibility of mission drift in microfinance; a situation where Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) move away from targeting the poor and towards better-off clients. Using two different measures of poverty, the paper examines whether microfinance institutions in Uganda follow a developmental objective by expanding their access to poorer districts; and if the pattern observed varies across different types of MFIs. The analysis is conducted on 118 MFIs over the period 2009–2013; adopting a static count data model and dynamic regression approach. We find that MFIs in Uganda are more likely to target richer districts during earlier years; however, poorer districts tend to catch up over time.

This finding suggests that MFIs may wish to signal an improved financial performance by first establishing branches in better-off districts and then only later reaching out to poorer districts, employing cross-subsidisation. We also show that Commercial Bank MFIs are more likely to increase their presence in poorer districts than other types of MFIs, suggesting that protection against regulation and greater access to capital markets may make commercial MFIs the most qualified institutions to expand outreach to the unbanked segment of the world’s poorer population.

Dr Alex Klein

Dr Alex Klein appointed to Czech research review panel

Dr Alex Klein, Senior Lecturer in Economics at the School, has been appointed by the Council for Research, Development and Innovation (CRDI), an advisory body to the Government of the Czech Republic, as a panel member of the Verification and Review Panel for Research Assessment (Oborový verifikační a hodnotící panel (OVHP) in Czech).

The purpose of the panel is to assess the quality of research conducted at Czech research institutions, and is an equivalent of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in the UK.