National Institute of Economic and Social Research NIESR

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National Institute of Economic and Social Research NIESR

United Kingdom
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Nathan M.,National Institute of Economic and Social Research NIESR
Oxford Review of Economic Policy | Year: 2013

This paper considers the appropriate spatial scale for industrial policy. Should policy focus on particular places, targeting clusters of firms that are spatially concentrated? Or should it, instead, be 'space neutral', refusing to discriminate between different areas unless absolutely necessary? We provide an overview of the literature and identify two waves of literature that argue strongly in favour of a cluster approach. We argue that this approach rests on shaky theoretical and empirical foundations. In contrast, we suggest that more attention should be paid to the appropriate spatial scale for horizontal interventions. What can policy do to make cities work better, in ways that help firms to grow? That is, what is the appropriate role for 'agglomeration' rather than 'cluster' policy? Finally, we consider the possibility that some horizontal industrial policy objectives may be better served by specifically targeting particular places or from decentralized design or delivery.

Lee R.,University of California at Berkeley | Mason A.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Mason A.,East-West Center | Amporfu E.,Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science And Technology | And 49 more authors.
Science | Year: 2014

Longer lives and fertility far below the replacement level of 2.1 births per woman are leading to rapid population aging in many countries. Many observers are concerned that aging will adversely affect public finances and standards of living. Analysis of newly available National Transfer Accounts data for 40 countries shows that fertility well above replacement would typically be most beneficial for government budgets. However, fertility near replacement would be most beneficial for standards of living when the analysis includes the effects of age structure on families as well as governments. And fertility below replacement would maximize per capita consumption when the cost of providing capital for a growing labor force is taken into account. Although low fertility will indeed challenge government programs and very low fertility undermines living standards, we find that moderately low fertility and population decline favor the broader material standard of living. Copyright 2014 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.

Matheson T.D.,Reserve Bank of New Zealand | Mitchell J.,National Institute of Economic and Social Research NIESR | Silverstone B.,University of Waikato
Journal of Forecasting | Year: 2010

The qualitative responses that firms give to business survey questions regarding changes in their own output provide a real-time signal of official output changes. The most commonly used method to produce an aggregate quantitative indicator from business survey responses-the net balance or diffusion index-has changed little in 40 years. This paper investigates whether an improved realtime signal of official output data changes can be derived from a recently advanced method on the aggregation of survey data from panel responses. We find, in a New Zealand application, that exploiting the panel dimension to qualitative survey data gives a better in-sample signal about official data than traditional methods. Out-of-sample, it is less clear that it matters how survey data are quantified, with simpler and more parsimonious methods hard to improve. It is clear, nevertheless, that survey data, exploited in some form, help to explain revisions to official data. ©2009 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

A 'policy scepticism' has emerged that challenges the results of conventional regional higher education institution (HEI) impact analyses. This paper provides a systematic critique of such scepticism. While rejecting its extreme form, the limiting effect of the binding public-sector expenditure constraints under devolution is noted and it is shown how conventional impact analyses can be augmented to accommodate these constraints. While the results suggest that conventional impact studies overestimate the expenditure impacts of HEIs, they also demonstrate that the policy scepticism that treats these expenditure effects as irrelevant neglects some key aspects of HEIs, in particular their export intensity. © 2012 Regional Studies Association.

Hermannsson K.,University of Glasgow | Lisenkova K.,National Institute of Economic and Social Research NIESR | Lecca P.,University of Strathclyde | Swales J.K.,University of Strathclyde | McGregor P.G.,University of Strathclyde
Environment and Planning A | Year: 2014

This paper explores the system-wide impact of graduates on the regional economy. Graduates enjoy a significant wage premium, often interpreted as reflecting their greater productivity relative to nongraduates. If this is so there is a clear and direct supply-side impact of higher education institution (HEI) activities on regional economies. We use an HEI-disaggregated computable general equilibrium model of Scotland to estimate the impact of the growing proportion of graduates in the Scottish labour force that is implied by the current participation rate and demographic change, taking the graduate wage premium in Scotland as an indicator of productivity enhancement. While the detailed results vary with alternative assumptions about the extent to which wage premia reflect productivity, they do suggest that the long-term supply-side impacts of HEIs provide a significant boost to regional GDP. Furthermore, the results suggest that the supply-side impacts of HEIs are likely to be more important than the expenditure impacts that are the focus of most HEI impact studies.

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