School of Economics

2014 Archive

School of Economics news archive from 2014.

Competition could make children eat more fruit and vegetables

Using incentives, particularly with children, is often controversial. Yet many parents use incentives to encourage positive behaviour from their children. Our research shows that certain incentives do work, and in particular work for groups of children that typically respond little - or not at all - to other health-promoting interventions, such as boys and children from poorer backgrounds.

Prof Michèle BelotSchool of Economics

Trent Smith (University of Otago, New Zealand) visiting the School

Trent Smith is visiting the School between 8 October and the 25th of November 2014.

His research interests are broadly interdisciplinary, applying economic methods in biological perspective to better understand behavioural phenomena that would seem to violate the economist’s conventional presumptions of rationality and full information. His published research has focussed in particular on dietary choice, obesity, addiction, economic insecurity, and mass marketing.

Trent recently offered a SIRE seminar entitled 'Does Economic Insecurity Cause Obesity?'. He will also give three 1-hour Friday lunchtime sessions on the topic of 'neuroeconomics and behavioural biology", commencing the 7th of November.

Michèle Belot gave 'Our Changing World' lecture

Professor Michèle Belot gave a public lecture on 7 October 2014.

The University website offers full details on the lecture, including the abstract and the podcast.

Additional podcasts with related materials are also available.

Check the Our Changing World website


College Recognition Awards

Dr Sean Brocklebank has been honoured at the inaugural College Recognition Awards.

He is one of five staff from the College of Humanities & Social Science honoured at the awards ceremony.

The new awards, which will be annual, celebrate excellence in enhancing teaching, mentoring colleagues, external engagement and collegiality.

Sean, who is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the School of Economics, was presented the award for Best Teaching Quality Enhancement Initiative for his work to improve the student experience and to support students in the School of Economics.

A prize-giving ceremony took place in the Playfair Library on Friday 4 October, where winners were awarded £3,000 each to put towards their personal and professional development.

He was a joint winner with Dr Anna Souhamialso from the School of Law.

Further information on the awards

Women in Economics

Prof. Maia Güell has been elected on the EEA Standing Committee on Women in Economics, fondly known as WinE.

WinE's objective is to support women in the economics profession by facilitating the formation of networks, by circulating information on, or relevant to, female economists, and by providing a forum for discussion of issues relevant to women in academics.

Economists Count Cost of Scottish Opinion Polls

Tim Worrall and Costas Milas (University of Liverpool) have examined the impact of Scottish Referendum polls on the UK cost of borrowing. They have calculated that the recent 12-percentage point gain in the Yes camp’s support added just short of a quarter of a percentage point to 10-year yields, relative to 5-year yields.

A report of their findings can be found at Real Time Economics, The Wall Street Journal


Kiyotaki visited the School of Economics

Prof Nobuhiro Kiyotaki (Princeton University) gave a double bill seminar on Friday the 11th of April 2014 entitled 'Modelling the Great Recession'.

The papers he presented are available online via the SIRE website

Kiyotaki papers

Inaugural lectures

Professors Belot and Kircher both gave an inaugural lecture each. Michèle Belot offered a presentation entitled "Diseases of Affluence: On the Relationship Between Economics and Health". Philipp Kircher discussed " In Search of the Perfect Match - Understanding Labour (and Marriage) Markets".

Maths and dating

A report from the BBC is now available, with Prof. Michèle Belot explaining why women are pickier than men at speed dating events.

This programme was broadcast on the 17th of February 2014.

Maynard's World

We can announce the publication of 'Maynard's World', a novel by Donald Rutherford. (Cover artwork by Lorna Angus)

When writing Maynard’s World, mostly in 2013, Donald was acutely aware that the great debate between the merits of capitalism and socialism was daily being revived in the post-2008 financial crash. Capitalism has received a bad press and the socialist alternative is not clearly presented.

To make this debate more vivid in this novel, Donald allowed it to occur in two ways: within the life of Jeremy Smith, a rich banker who retains strong Communist thinking, and between him and his eight-year old son Maynard who is curious to understand and challenges his father’s pat answers based on the socialist ideas he had imbibed in his youth.

Apart from learning economic ideas which are clearly presented the novel allows the reader to practise economics. Because ordinary living raises so many economic issues inevitably the reader will become accustomed to applying economic theory to everyday situations. This increases the appeal of economics: its immediate usefulness is demonstrated.

Novels can be very time-specific or attempt a timeless view of life. This novel is rooted in the problems of today. But many economic problems are recurrent so that the analysis of a situation occurring in one year can be applied to previous crises of a similar kind.

Read more and order online 'Maynard's World'

Visit Donald Rutherford's academic homepage

ERC project on eating decisions

Professor Michèle Belot successfully secured funding as part of a five-year initiative - called Nudge-it - conducted by experts from 16 institutions across six European countries, the US and New Zealand.

PI Prof. Gareth Lang (Medical School) who is leading the project, said: "Our goal is to understand the physical and psychological factors that control eating behaviour, so that we can develop more effective strategies for encouraging healthier food choices."

A mixture of brain imaging, behavioural studies and laboratory experiments will be used in the programme. Researchers will also collect information from families about the social and economic factors that affect people's eating decisions

Nudge-It project website

Check Prof Michèle Belot's academic page

Dukascopy TV

Dr. Santiago Sánchez-Pagés interviewed by Dukascopy TV on how seasonal factors account for Spain's unemployment rate.