ESRI annual Geary lecture — Tax and welfare reform: The challenge of labour market inequality

Professor Richard Blundell, David Ricardo Chair of Political Economy at University College London, will deliver the ESRI’s annual Geary lecture.

The Geary lecture is organised each year to honour Dr R. C. Geary (1896 –1983), the first Director of the ESRI. Lectures have been given by some of the world’s foremost scholars in the fields of economics, statistics and sociology, including a number of Nobel Prize winners. More information about the annual lecture series is available here.

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Guest speakerProfessor Richard Blundell CBE FBA

Lecture topic

The structure of work and of families is changing, reflecting growing earnings inequality for men and women, with evidence of adverse labour market ‘shocks’ for the low educated and low-skilled, especially men. When we place people in families in local labour markets, with childcare, marriage, savings and human capital decisions we get a different take on some key tax and welfare design questions. It is increasingly clear that we can’t address all the concerns about (earnings) inequality through tax and welfare reform alone. The challenge is how to design the best balance of policies. How do we reform the tax and welfare system in the new work environment, acknowledging the changing role of families and human capital? How do we balance tax and welfare-benefit policy with other policies: minimum wages, with regulation in the product and labour markets, and with human capital policies? 

Speaker Bio

Professor Blundell holds the David Ricardo Chair of Political Economy at University College London where he was appointed Professor of Economics in 1984, and was Chair of the Department 1988 - 1992. He is a graduate of the University of Bristol and London School of Economics. He was awarded a Knighthood in the 2014 New Year Honours list for his services to Economics and Social Science. He was awarded a CBE in 2006. Since 1986 he has been Research Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), where he is also Director of the  ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy.  He was awarded a Leverhulme Personal Professorship in 1998. He has held visiting professor positions at UBC, MIT and Berkeley.

He holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of St.Gallen, Switzerland; the Norwegian School of Economics, NHH, Bergen, Norway; and the University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany; University della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano; University of Bristol; and University of Venice, Ca' Foscari.

He was President of the European Economics Association. He was President of the Econometric Society in 2006. He was President of the Society of Labor Economics in 2010. He was President of the Royal Economic Society 2011-2013.