Author Archives: cm894

Six weeks to go until School moves to new home

With less than six weeks to go until the School of Economics moves the brand new Kennedy Building, work is under way to prepare the building for the move in at the start of July.

Inside the building, furniture is being installed, final checks are being made before the School vacates Keynes College and moves to the state-of-the-art Kennedy Building. In an effort to reduce waste, the School is making a conscious effort to recycle where possible, instead of throwing things away. The recycling efforts will continue in the Kennedy building with the removal of personal bins. Outside the building, plants and grass are beginning to take shape, greatly helped by the recent spring weather.

If you are on campus, why not take a walk past to see the latest developments.

Labelled loans and sanitation investments

Dr Bansi Malde co-wrote a blog post on her research into sanitation in India, which featured in the Ideas for India blog. Rural Indian households report lack of affordability as the main reason for not having a toilet. Bansi’s article investigates – through an experiment in rural Maharashtra – whether microcredit labelled for sanitation can increase sanitation investments. It finds that targeted households demand the sanitation loans, and toilet uptake increases by 9 percentage points; however, roughly half of the loans were not used for sanitation.

See full Ideas for India blog post here.

School welcomes Prof Jeffrey Wooldridge for Q&A and book signing

On Wednesday 15 May, the School of Economics had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Jeffrey Wooldridge from Michigan State University for a Q&A and book signing, followed by a drinks reception. Professor Wooldridge is a globally recognised econometrician, lecturer and author, who wrote Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach, which is one of our core textbooks.

The Q&A session was hosted by Dr Olena Nizalova, who had been taught by Professor Wooldridge during her studies. The session focused on both the personal and professional aspects of Professor Wooldridge’s life, during which he discussed the role of education and what is needed to truly evaluate teachers and schools. He examined the challenges that analysts face when dealing with large amounts of money and talked about his work as a consultant for the US government and for large international cooperations.

Following the Q&A session, both students and staff enjoyed the opportunity to get their textbooks signed by the Professor, together with a photograph. Professor Wooldridge’s publishers Cengage and Blackwell’s bookshop were also present at the event.

A video of the Q&A session is available here. 

Prof Tony Thirlwall

40th anniversary of Tony Thirlwall’s influential paper

2019 marks the 40th anniversary of Tony Thirlwall’s influential paper ‘The Balance of Payments Constraint as an Explanation of International Growth Rate Differences’ published in the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, March 1979, which now has 1,700 Google Scholar citations.

To commemorate, there will be a Special Issue of the Review of Keynesian Economics devoted to the paper; also a Spanish translation of the paper in the Mexican journal, Investigacion Economia, and a Portuguese translation in the Brazilian journal, Nova Economia.

School holds second alumni meet up in London

On Thursday 2 May, the School held its second London Alumni Meet Up. This year, we headed to The Yorkshire Grey for drinks, food and a catch up.

Professor Iain Fraser, Dr John Peirson, Professor Alan Carruth, Dr Bill Collier and Dr Alastair Bailey were in attendance and enjoyed reminiscing and hearing about the achievements of our alumni.

If you haven’t already please connect with us on LinkedIn. 

Prof Jeffrey M. Wooldridge Q&A and book signing

Professor Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, author of the Cengage textbook Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach, from Michigan State University will deliver a Q&A session at the School of Economics, led by Dr Olena Nizalova. The event will take place on Wednesday 15 May from 6.00PM to 7.00PM in KLT1 (Canterbury campus) and will examine his work which has helped find answers to real life questions. Audience participation is encouraged, so email any questions you may have to prior to the event.

The Q&A session will focus on:

  • Education and what is needed to truly evaluate teachers and schools
  • The challenges that analysts face in situations that involve large amounts of money
  • His consulting work for the U.S. government
  • The challenges of obtaining empirical findings which go against your political beliefs

The Q&A session will be followed by a book signing and drinks reception hosted by Cengage.

About Professor Jeffrey M. Wooldridge
Jeffrey Wooldridge is an American Econometrician at Michigan State University. He is known for his theoretical contributions to analysis of cross-sectional and panel data.

Book a space
For more information, email:

Dr Amrit Amirapu

The cost of labour regulations in India

A working paper by Dr Amrit Amirapu (University of Kent) and Dr Michael Gechter (Pennsylvania State University) has been featured on VoxEU.

‘We inform the debate on labour regulations in India by costing their burden on firms and studying the role corruption plays in increasing these costs.

In policy debates and academic literature, restrictive labour regulations have been blamed for some of the most significant problems faced by developing countries, including low labour force participation rates and low levels of employment in the formal sector (Besley and Burgess 2004, Botero et al. 2004, Djankov and Ramalho 2009). But there is a bit of a puzzle: why are labour regulations so costly in a developing country setting, where enforcement agencies are typically characterised by severe resource constraints, low compliance and widespread corruption (Svensson 2005, Chatterjee and Kanbur 2013, Kanbur and Ronconi 2015)? Moreover, how do you measure a regulation’s effective cost to firms if its enforcement differs in practice from what is written in the text of the laws?’

Read the full blog post here. 

School of Economics holds annual networking evening

On Tuesday 12 March, seven of our alumni came back to Kent to talk to our current students about their experiences of life after graduation.

The returning alumni were using their Economics degrees in diverse careers such as finance, government, marketing and think tanks.

Over 50 students had a fantastic opportunity to talk to our alumni and we would like to send a huge thank you to Gary Chimuzinga, Dean Hochlaf, Peter Shaw, Fahad Sawar, David Mensah, Nick Hayes and Aniq Ahmed for attending.

Road pricing key to solving UK traffic woes

Emeritus Professor Roger Vickerman explains why tackling congestion on UK road requires innovative new ideas, chiefly a form of road pricing that charges for use rather than simply vehicle ownership.

‘A year on from the report that UK drivers spend an average of 31 hours a year in traffic jams we now have evidence on the most congested roads in the UK. And this shows that although the worst trouble spots are in London the problem affects all our big cities. I have argued before that what is needed is a nationwide system of charging for roads by use – road pricing. But this would need to be embedded within a much more strategic rethink of how we provide the transport we need for our cities and towns.

‘We already have blunt instruments such as the London Congestion Charge, but a sophisticated system of electronic tolling would charge drivers for their actual use of the system and by differentiating by the time of day can encourage those with the flexibility to adjust their journeys to times of lower traffic volumes. The current system of charging motorists is a tax on car purchase and ownership, and doesn’t distinguish by area of residence or actual use.

‘Cars spend an average 95% of their life parked. Residents of rural areas, many of whom have no alternative to using a car, typically travel on the least congested roads, but pay the same in road tax and fuel duty. Such drivers would be better off under a system which charged for the actual use of roads that reflected levels of congestion. The overall cost to road users would be less; the estimated average cost of that 31 hours of wasted time is £1,168; that would pay for a lot of miles. The usual response is to call for more road building, and whilst that and junction improvements can help in some cases, the evidence suggests that traffic typically expands to fill the space available.

‘But it is not just about cars competing for road space. Much of the increase in traffic in towns comes from van traffic – typically delivering our online purchases – we have to recognise that this too has a cost that will have to be paid for. Eventually, as with any limited resource, the only solution is one that uses price as a means of allocation – that’s how we charge for the alternatives such as bus, rail or air. And if all modes of transport were priced on the same basis we could make a better-informed choice of the right one to use for each journey.

‘This shows the need for a much more integrated approach to transport planning embracing new technologies both in the delivery of transport services and in paying for them. Politicians need to grasp this nettle now.’

Original article by Dan Worth, University of Kent Press Office