Author Archives: cm894

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.’

-ENDS-
Original article by Dan Worth, University of Kent Press Office

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Undergraduate Survey Month at Kent (including prize draw for Economics students who complete NSS!)

The National Student Survey (NSS) and the Undergraduate Survey (UGS) launched on 28 January 2019. School of Economics students need to complete either the NSS (mainly for final-year undergraduate students) or the UGS (you don’t need to complete both!).

National Student Survey (NSS)
All eligible students who complete the NSS by Monday 18 February 2019 can claim a £10 Amazon voucher. In addition, Economics students will be entered into a prize draw for an iPad* and four £50 vouchers!

If you’re eligible to participate in this year’s survey, you will have received an email invitation from Ipsos MORI on Thursday 31 January.

To claim your £10 Amazon voucher:
• complete the survey before Monday 18 February 2019 and forward your NSS survey completion confirmation email to nssawards@kent.ac.uk by 18 February

To enter the School of Economics prize draw:
• complete the survey and forward your NSS survey completion confirmation email to economics@kent.ac.uk.

Join us to complete the survey on a computer:

The School has booked computer rooms at the following times, and we’re providing a FREE drink and chocolate!!

Week 17
Tue 12 Feb 11.00-12.00 (SibPC1)
Wed 13 Feb 11.00-12.00 (KSA1)
Fri 15 Feb 15.00-16.00 (KSA1)

Week 20
Mon 4 Mar 13.00-14.00 (KSA1)
Wed 6 Mar 09.30-11.00 (CSPC1)
Wed 6 Mar 11.30-13.00 (KSA1)
Thu 7 Mar 13.00-15.00 (KSA1)

If you’ve already completed the survey, email your confirmation to economics@kent.ac.uk to enter the prize draw, or come along and join us for a drink!

* The prize draw for an Apple iPad will take place if the School of Economics reaches its 80% student completion target.

The NSS is an annual independent survey giving students across the UK the opportunity to give their feedback on their experiences of university study – both what you liked and what you think could be improved. It will run from Monday 28 January 2019 until Tuesday 30 April 2019 and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

For more information, and to take the survey, visit http://www.kent.ac.uk/student/surveys

Undergraduate Survey (UGS)

Throughout February, the University is also running the Undergraduate Survey (UGS) – the UGS is an internally run survey of all students on Undergraduate level programmes at the University of Kent (excluding those who are eligible to complete the NSS). It launched on 28 January and closes on Friday 1 March 2019.

If you are eligible, you will have received an email from Professor April McMahon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education. Completing this survey helps the University understand what we do well and what we need to do better and is one of the most powerful ways you can have your voice heard at Kent.

The survey asks the same questions that are in the NSS as well as a section about accommodation and some research questions for the Q-Step Centre and the Student Success Project. It should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete.

Grant success for Amrit and Zaki

Congratulations to Amrit Amirapu and Zaki Wahhaj who have obtained a research grant from the UK Department of International Development’s EDI research programme to study peer effects in traditional marriage customs. In developing countries, where the state often has a weak capacity to enforce laws, social pressures and expectations can play an important role in hindering or accelerating behaviour proscribed by marriage laws. The project will build on an ongoing EDI project in Bangladesh to test these ideas, using an experimental design that exploits a recent change in child marriage laws. They are partnering in this research with the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and the research firm Data Analysis and Technical Assistance in Bangladesh.

The image is taken from a psychological test designed to measure the impact of the new law on attitudes towards early marriage practices among men and women in rural Bangladesh.

Prof Denise Osborn leads talk on Women in Economics

On Tuesday 13 November, we had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Denise Osborn to the School of Economics. Both Secretary General for the Royal Economics Society and Emeritus Professor at the University of Manchester, Denise delivered an inspirational talk on the role of women in Economics, focusing on research and her own personal experience.

Looking back on her career, she examined the perception of women in the field of Economics over time, comparing and contrasting the start of her career in 70s, where she was very much a minority, to now where more and more women are joining the field. Denise compared the gender distribution of researchers within Economics and looked into why Economics is still one of the lowest STEM subjects for its percentage of women. Denise concluded her talk by looking at the actions that are being taken to challenge gender norms and encourage more women to consider a career in Economics. The session finished with a lively Q&A session with the audience.

School holds its annual ‘Working in Finance’ event

On Tuesday 16 October, the School of Economics held its annual ‘Working in Finance’ talk. Two of our alumni, Nuno Nunes and Michael Thurlow, returned to Kent to talk about their experiences of working in the financial sector.

The event was a great success, with some interesting discussion and useful advice followed by an informal networking session.

Huge thank you to Nuno and Michael for giving up their time and making the event such a success. The School would also like to thank Katie Marshall and Harriet Mowatt-Dykes for organising such a great event.

Listen to a recording of the event here. 

School holds workshop on Networks in Economics

On Friday 12 October 2018, The School of Economics hosted the second Kent Workshop on Networks in Economics. Organised by Nizar Allouch and Bansi Malde, it featured leading researchers from across the UK and Europe, including Francis Bloch (Paris School of Economics), Christian Ghiglino (Essex), Mich Tvede (UEA), Pau Milan (UAB, MOVE and Barcelona GSE), Anja Prummer (Queen Mary) and Luis Candelaria (Warwick). The workshop program can be found here.

Academic Promotions 2018

The School of Economics are delighted to announce that three of our academics have received academic promotions over the summer:

  • Dr Sylvain Barde, promoted to Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Fernanda Lopez de Leon, promoted to Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Zaki Wahhaj, promoted to Reader

These are effective from 1st October 2018. Many congratulations to all for this well-deserved achievement.

Jaye launches Pawfect Match app to find pets new homes

One of our former students, Jaye Graham has recently launched her app called Pawfect Match for dogs and cats in need. Her dating-style app aims to match homeless pets to adoptive families.

Seeing the pressure that rescue centres are under and the time it takes to adopt a pet, Jaye decided to create an app, which would be a fun way to quickly match pets to owners. She’s hoping that the app will revolutionize pet adoption throughout the United Kingdom.

The process is simple: Rescue centres upload pictures of pets and users can search for pets based on their characteristics and household needs. Users swipe left to pass on to the next pet and swipe right to add a pet to their favourites. Once a user has found a match, they can simply message the rescue centre through the app.

Pawfect Match is now available for download on Google Play or on the App Store.

Keynes College

Alan, Alex and Charlotte awarded Above and Beyond Awards

Congratulations to Alan Carruth, Alex Klein and Charlotte Ransom from the School of Economics have been awarded Kent Union Above and Beyond awards.

Above and Beyond awards recognise tutors who have exceeded expectations and gone “above and beyond” to enhance the student experience.

Students commended Charlotte on being friendly and approachable, spending countless hours helping the Economics Society. She has also helped build an academic community within the school and has been an attentive listening ear to student feedback. Alex received the award for his excellent teaching style, which encouraged students to learn and made it enjoyable.  Alan was praised for his dedication to teaching, running extra revision sessions for students before exams.

The School of Economics would like to congratulate Alan, Alex and Charlotte for their wonderful achievements.