Keynote Speakers 

Monday 15 April

President's Invited Lecture

Getting 'Beyond GDP': A new social framework

The debate about measurement of economic progress going ‘Beyond GDP’ has been under way for some years, with some extensions including environmental change and intangibles being progressively incorporated in the System of National Accounts (SNA). But although the 2025 SNA revisions will take further steps, this incremental approach is unlikely to satisfy GDP’s many critics. Their proposed alternatives may lack firm theoretical foundations and generally do not provide an accounting framework. Yet the statistics gathered under the existing SNA, reflecting the structure of the leading economies in the 1940s,  are an increasingly inadequate framework for measuring and managing the economies of the 2020s. This lecture will discuss what a new ’social framework’ might require if it is to address the widespread disenchantment with the way economists assess growth. 

Professor Dame Diane Coyle

Bennett Professor of Public Policy
University of Cambridge

Professor Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. Diane co-directs the Bennett Institute where she heads research under the themes of progress and productivity. Her latest book is 'Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be’, exploring the challenges for economics particularly in the context of digital transformation. Her current research focuses on productivity and on economic measurement: what does it mean for economic policy to make the world ‘better’, and how would we know if it succeeds?

Diane is also a Director of the Productivity Institute, a Fellow of the Office for National Statistics, and an expert adviser to the National Infrastructure Commission. She has served in public service roles including as Vice Chair of the BBC Trust, member of the Competition Commission, of the Migration Advisory Committee and of the Natural Capital Committee. Diane was Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester until March 2018 and was awarded a DBE for her contribution to economic policy in the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours.

Tuesday 16 April

The Adam Smith Lecture

The Dynamics of Welfare Reform 

Welfare reform in the US has introduced time limits that restrict the number of years of benefits for welfare recipients. We show that these time limits cause women to defer claiming benefits in anticipation of future needs, an effect that depends on the probabilities of marriage and divorce. Marriage and divorce changes insurance against income shocks and changes the value of the social safety net. We use quasi-experimental evidence and a lifecycle model of marriage, divorce, welfare claiming, labour supply and savings to understand the impact of time limits on behaviour and well-being. Time limits lead to reduced benefit claiming, increased employment and reduced divorce. However, time limits cost women 0.5\% of life-time consumption, net of revenue savings, with some groups affected much more. 

Hamish Low

James Meade Professor of Economics
Nuffield College

Hamish is the James Meade Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellow at Nuffield College. He is also a Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Hamish joined the Department of Economics in 2018 from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Professor of Economics and Fellow of Trinity College, and where he had been a member of the Faculty of Economics since 1998. Hamish holds a PhD in Economics from University College London, and an MPhil in Economics and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford.Hamish’s research agenda is focused on three connected sets of issues: first, what sort of uncertainty do individuals face over their life-times; second, how do individuals respond to this uncertainty; and third, what is the role of government, especially through social insurance, in mitigating this uncertainty. The uncertainty that individuals face is partly due to economic risks, such as to their future wages or employment, to the value of their assets, such as housing and pensions, and economy-wide risks such as of recessions or financial contractions. Individuals also face risks to their health and to family structure, and these risks often have economic implications, such as when health shocks mean individuals are unable to work. These issues are both microeconomic and macroeconomic, which are addressed using computer simulation and structural econometrics to model and estimate realistic economic environments. Hamish’s work has been published in leading economic journals including the American Economic Review and Econometrica.

Wednesday 17 April

Policy Keynote Address

Who bears the risk? The management of fiscal sustainability and devolution 

National governments are increasingly focussed upon questions of long-term fiscal sustainability. But how are structural fiscal issues – including the transition to net zero and demographic change – being managed across tiers of government? To what extent are budget risks clearly identifiable across national, regional and local government levels and what tools are available to manage such risks? As Chair of the Scottish Fiscal Comission – the independent fiscal authority for Scotland – Professor Graeme Roy will discuss issues of fiscal sustainability from a Scottish perspective highlighting lessons for other countries with large regional governments. 

Professor Graeme Roy

Chair, Scottish Fiscal Commission and University of Glasgow

Graeme is Dean of External Engagement in the College of Social Sciences. He supports academics across the College in communications, research, impact, and stakeholder engagement. Graeme is responsible for the College’s £1.25m ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

Prior to joining Glasgow in March 2021, he was Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde.

Graeme is also a former Senior Civil Servant in the Scottish Government, where he was Head of the First Minister’s Policy Unit and a Senior Economic Adviser.

Graeme’s research focus is on economic policy and devolution. He is a regular commentator and public speaker on the Scottish economy, including writing a monthly column for the Herald newspaper.

Graeme was the independent special adviser to the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee between 2017 and 2018. He is a former member of the UK Government’s Scottish Business Taskforce and the Scottish Government’s National Economic Transformation Council. Between 2019 and 2023, he chaired an independent evaluation group for Public Health Scotland to monitor the Economic Impact of Minimum Unit Pricing.

Graeme is a Lead Editor for the Economics Observatory and is also the Scottish lead for the International Public Policy Observatory. In 2023, he led the University’s Adam Smith Tercentenary commemorations.

Graeme is co-host – with Kezia Dugdale – of the University of Glasgow’s Spotlight podcast.
Outside of his university work, Graeme is a board member of Stirling Community Enterprise a social enterprise based in the Raploch area of Stirling that supports community-based training and employment.

In 2023, Graeme was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Graeme was appointed Chair of the Scottish Fiscal Commission, Scotland’s official independent economic and fiscal forecaster established to support the Scottish Budget process. For further details see Scottish Fiscal Commission.

Membership enquiries:

Caroline Alcock

Scottish Economic Society: