Welcome to episode 2 of "How did I get here? Discover Economics"
In this episode, we have Dr Rachel Glennerster. Rachel is the Chief Economist at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). Before that, she was the Chief Economist at the Department for International Development (DFID). From 2004 to 2017 she was Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), an MIT Economics Department research centre that seeks to reduce poverty by ensuring policy is informed by scientific evidence.
In the episode we mention the FCDO Next Generation Economics competition. Make sure you check it out: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fcdo-next-generation-economics-competition
Write about the biggest economic challenges facing your generation between 15 February and 21 May 2021 to enter our Next Generation Economics Competition. You could win £250.
Welcome to Next Generation Economics, a Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) competition for anyone currently studying in years 10 to 13 (in England and Wales, or equivalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland) who is interested in economics. You do not need to have studied economics to take part. Next Generation Economics is your chance to write about the biggest economic challenges facing your generation in 2021.
What are you going to be when you grow up? A doctor, an astronaut, an engineer, a footballer?
Very few people have ever dreamt that one day they would be an economist. It’s a profession on few young people’s radars, is barely understood and, let’s face it, has an image problem.
Most people picture economists, if they think about them at all, as “men in suits who are crunching numbers, talking about interest rates and making money”.
This series of podcasts aim to challenge – and change – your image of economists. A series of conversations with economists who are working in a variety of different organisations, the podcasts will explore their personal journeys. What inspired them to choose to study economics? How did they get to their current position? What are they currently working on and what are some of the things that they love about economics?
Thank you so much for joining us on discover economics. How did I get here? podcast? Just who? Or what is an economist, there's an economic lens for every topic that you can possibly think of the economists in our podcast are motivated by a desire to change the world. And their belief that better data and better understanding are key to achieving this theme. I'm very excited and enthusiastic about learning more about what economics can offer us as a society. And what are the options when it comes to careers for young people. And it's been an absolute delight to do this series on To learn more, to indulge my noisiness to get to ask so many questions, I'm hoping you as listeners will have wanted to ask yourself, thanks for listening. Another Rachel, in this week's episode, Dr. Rachel glennister. And before I go in and do the whole official bio, and you meet Rachel, in this interview, I just wanted to pop in and mention that there is a competition that we mentioned at the end of the episode and the closing date is the 21st of May, you can go to the link that's in the description below. And the competition itself is the FC D or next generation economics competition saw that's a really good opportunity for schools to get involved and students to apply for the competition itself. There's more details in the episode, but I just wanted to get something in up top, just in case you're listening. I think it's a really good competition, big opportunity for schools and students who might be interested. And also going through the process of the of entering the competition might be a good way for students to learn if this is an area that they're excited by. So check it out the links in the description, and on with the episode. So today we have Dr. Rachel glennister, and she is the chief economist at the foreign Commonwealth and development office. Before that, she was the chief economist at the Department for International Development. And from 2004 to 2017. She was executive director of the Abdul Latif Jameel poverty action lab known as j pal at MIT, and that's part of the economics department Research Centre seeks to reduce poverty by ensuring policies informed by scientific evidence, which I'm sure will touch upon during this. Hi, Rachel, it's lovely to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to tell us exactly how you got to your so I'm going to dive in with the intrusive questions first. So let's start with the beginning. Where did you grew up? So I grew up in West London, in Hounslow. What kind of school did you go to? What were the subjects that you liked at school? Did you like subjects at school? Yeah, I was a bit of a bit of a nerdy kid, I guess. I went to my local Comprehensive School, which was called physic community school I had liked, I had this funny combination of like it, which I took turns out is actually quite, quite predictive of being of enjoying economics. I liked both maths and history. So I was in this big dilemma about what I should do with my life and what I was good at. And people would say, well, your current my history teachers would say, I know you like history, but not really a history person. And you know, my science teacher so far, you're you know, you're not bad at science, Rachel, but you're kind of really a scientists either. What am I? That's horrifying. I discovered social science. That's what I am. I'm this thing that's like somewhere between humanities and science. So I love chemistry, for example. And I was quite good at Mass. You know, I didn't do further maths, for example, though, and I really liked history. And I liked history, though. Because not because of sort of the people aspect of it, or, you know, military history, or and I think what I really liked about history was, we got to talk about things like, you know, when did why did we start having pensions? You know, I did really modern history. And we did, you know, starlin, and the rise of Hitler and China and the Cultural Revolution. And we thought, and, you know, we are we talked about, you know, independence of countries in Africa, and why did that happen? Or what was causing these changes? And I thought, well, maybe I'm interested in economic history initially. But as I looked into it more, I realised it was, you know, what I was interested in was the policies by Urbino. How do we design pensions? And, you know, why do some countries grow and other countries don't grow? And that was economics. It's interesting, because we've got, we've got question further down, that we can jump back and forth to them. But it is that you know, people have this idea or this pigeon hole that they put economics into, and I definitely think there's a bit of work to be done just so that even teachers and parents understand that. It's not Math, stats and money. But there's so many other elements to it. Actually, that leads me on to my next question. So you've been involved in such a wide spectrum of really important research and policy. And, and I listened to an interview that you did a couple of years ago, where you talked about jumping from both sides that you know, getting been involved in the policy, and the research and how those two work together? Well, I know this is a difficult and slightly unfair question. But what would you say that you're most proud of, let's say, and it can be more than one thing? Because I imagine there's more than one thing. I have done a lot of different things. And as you say, I think that my, my, my skill is I, you know, I'm not the best researcher in the world, I'm not the best policy person in the world. But I'm quite good at translating between the two, which is very important. Yeah, I did, it really is I'm quite good at thinking about, okay, this is what this is some new results that people have found in economic research, it doesn't translate one for one into an obvious policy response, like this is what the government should now do because of this piece of research. But it has implications for what we should do. So maybe it was a study in a different country? Or, or maybe it was asking a slightly different question. But what what I'm quite good at is taking that and thinking about what does that mean, for how we should do our policy now, and explaining that to people who might be not economists. So I think that that is that's the skill I'm kind of most proud of. But you know, in terms of my work, I think the work that I did at JPL to take some of the research and development, a make it easier for people to do kind of really practical research that tested, what is the most effective way of reducing poverty, but then going to governments and explaining that and getting some of those things scaled up. So now, you know, literally hundreds of millions of people around the world are benefiting from policies that were both first tested by J pal. And, and we advocated for them to be scaled up based on the evidence. So as a thing for more effective ways of teaching, to providing deworming pills for children with, you know, turns out makes them more likely to go to school. So that, you know, that scaling up of what was found to be effective, I think, is something that, you know, I'm most proud of and kind of gets me up in the morning. I bet. It's, I mean, huge. And also, what's come up through a lot of these interviews, is the interconnectedness between so many things and how not, there's never one answer. There's never one thing that comes out of research, like you said, and it's about almost like a willingness to accept the complexity, and the different moving parts, and to still see what you can do about it and still see what you can do with it, even if it's not perfect. Well, the next question I had was, how has your work changed in going from GPL to deferred and now foreign Commonwealth development office? Because they're quite different places. But I do see a through line. So how do you feel your day to day job has changed across those? Yeah, I mean, my job has changed a lot. You know, I set up I basically help set up and run this research centre, which was from the beginning, meant to be connecting research to policy. But you know, we decided who to hire. I am my team decided how much to pay people and how they would get promoted in things like that. And now I'm in a big bureaucracy, where all of that is organised for me. I mean, I get a say into it. Yeah. You've got to navigate and try and persuade people, that this is the right way to do things. On the other hand, the budgets are completely different. Yeah, I mean, we're spending in the order of 10 billion pounds a year on aid. And I, you know, I have part of my job is to think about, well, which countries do we spend aid on? Like, which countries should we prioritise? How much money should we spend on education versus health? And those are huge, you know, those are really big questions. Much kind of bigger questions, then. Is this the best way to teach children or is this the best way to teach children? Why should we give the money to Malawi or India that still has a lot of poor people but but is you know, much richer? Yeah, you know, and that say the budgets are completely different. And and the scale of question, it's different. But what is the say in his saying, We've got to make a decision, we got to think about what is the best evidence that we have? What data? What information can we bring to making that decision? Yeah. And it's what kind of be perfect, we're not gonna know all the answers, but we have to make a decision. And I think what autonomous are good at and what economics teaches you to think about is saying, is making those trade offs. It's all about trade. Right? economics is all about thinking through trade offs. It's not that something's good. And I think bad, both of them are good, but we got to choose between them. So how do we make that choice and thinking really carefully and structure? You know, putting some structure on the question sort of, well, how can we break down the question? What data can help us think about a question that that has stayed the same through all the all the jobs that I've done, incredibly challenging, and not just incredibly challenging? But obviously, there's a lot of responsibility that comes along with that. And I think it's something I talked to Ben to independent journalist, economics even. And we were, we were talking about how you can you can give people the information, and then you have to be willing to, like I said, kind of accept that accept the limitations. And I'd be able to also communicate to people why you're making that decision, I imagine that's quite a difficult part of your job. That's, that's potentially not necessarily changed from GPL. But I suppose there's much more scrutiny on on the decisions I like to see from the media anyway, in the UK, then, you know, once that decision is made that kind of having to deliver the the why of it all? How do you find that because, obviously, something that stayed the same through all of the interviews I've watched with you and all the all of your message about, look, it's research based, like if the information changes, then we can change our decision we're not, it's not aligned to a particular ideology, it's we're constantly re evaluating the information. How do you get people in the public? Or how do you get the public? Do you understand that side of it? Yeah. So I think I mean, a lot of my messaging, frankly, is less to the public and more to, you know, politicians and senior officials. And what's interesting is, there's very different audiences, like I speak to very different audiences at different times, my day or my week. Yeah, I talk a lot to students and sort of in public and I use is not one language, but I use a slightly different style, just because you can't assume that you can use technical terms and assume that people know what they need. I don't say how some of the times I was talking, you know, to other academic economists, and then interests switch into, we all know that we know what countries are poor, or we know what we mean by comparative advantage. We, we know what these terms mean. And so we kind of switch into that as a bit of shorthand. And you can kind of get to the point, quickly, you know, then there's talking to the group of between, which is probably who I spend most time talking to, which is people who know some economics. So hopefully, you have a basic sense of what I mean by comparative advantage that some countries are better at doing some things than others, or some people are doing better at doing some things and other people are better at doing other things. And it's not that somebody is better than somebody is worse, it's what are we relatively good at doing? Right? So that concept, they'll get that concept, even if they don't know, you know, the detailed theory behind it, but they won't necessarily have thought of applying that to a particular problem that they're facing. And so I'm sort of talking them through what that means, for a particular policy, that particular problem that they're trying to solve, and I think that's that sort of intermediate group is, is is been a big part of my work everywhere. So I've worked in the International Monetary Fund, I worked in j pal j pal a lot of the time I was I was working, you know, we were advising the governments of low and middle income countries about how to spend them, because actually, most money that's spent on poverty reduction is is spent by poor countries themselves. Yeah. So trying to advise them is actually a big part of what I do what I used to do and still what I do now I you know, a lot of what we're trying to do is encourage them to to To improve their policies, and that's where you can, you can rely on people knowing a little bit of economics. But you, you have to explain why it matters for this particular decision, which might be I mean, a good example is we've had lots of discussions about China recently, people tend to think about China entirely, you know, a lot through a kind of political lens. And they might worry about the the economy and, you know, China's growing, it's having a big influence in the world economy. But I try and explain how a lot of the things that people find worrying about China is just standard economics, like the fact that they are lending a lot of money. And Africa is just what you would expect any country that has been running a current account surplus it has been, or another way to put it has been saving a lot. Yeah, I need people save a lot. They got to put that saving somewhere. They put it all around the world. And that's not a threat. That's just because if they're saving, so it's sort of making something that people might think is political, and explaining the economics behind why it's happening. And that, that that's something I find really satisfying. Yeah. And that something like that is so interesting, because it can very easily, like, you know, I think about it in terms of, you know, the message that students and parents and like the wider public, I think about it in terms of the message that they get. And you're absolutely right. It's, it's however it's spun, rather than just taking a step back and seeing not even the complexity in that in that necessarily in that example, because it's not that it's complex, it's just that it's not as nefarious as you might think. It's just something that happens, and you don't need to worry about it. And it's I suppose, then you need to think about whose voices are trusted, as well, which is really important when that message comes out. And that takes me back, I suppose into the whole point of discover economics, which is, you know, getting more diverse voices into the field of economics. And I feel that if I mean, not just me, but I suppose that the feeling is that the more we look at economists who end up on the news, or you know, who are interviewed or who we see more visibly, and we see ourselves represented as a population, then the more trust, I suppose, can then be built up. It's a bit like when, you know, women weren't allowed to be politicians, and all politicians are white, and it's dreadful. You know, we need to see ourselves represented to feel represented, I suppose. And in that instance, is so one element of that is trust, I think, which is important. But also, because we The thing about having diversity in any, in any field is that you get better solutions. You people ask better questions, you get better information. So something that I wanted to bring up with you. And you mean, you may or may not have, let's say, lots of stories, or necessarily strong opinions on this particular thing, because I know you've done a lot of work on women's empowerment in the developing world. But I wanted to just ask you what your experience has been, you know, in the field of economics, which is quite male dominated, you know, what has it been like for you as a woman to get to such a senior position? You know, what is that been like over the over the years? Well, I'll start with your last bit of your question, but I'll come back to why I think diversity is important, as well, if I may. So what was it like to be a woman? I mean, thank goodness, it's improved. Because I have to say that there was not a hell of a lot of fun. So there were other there were plenty of other women doing economics when I was at uni. And I went, my first job was at at the Treasury. Government economic service is one of the biggest employers of economists in in the UK. And they train you, which was, you know, fantastic. For me. I came to graduate and I had this fantastic training, including them paying for me to go off into a Master's. But it was tough in the Treasury. When I started, there, were not a lot of women there. I remember there. Not a lot of senior women, there was a group of like four of us, women who sort of started around the same time and we would always eat lunch together. And we sort of found this little bond, you know, but when that group of four kind of dispersed I remember literally buying a television and, and watching the World Cup, because it was the only thing that got talked about at lunch. And was there any of them not as grim? That is grabbing the fun. But then Ivan but but I mean, it was more than that was all these subtle things. I mean, stupid, simple things that have just made you feel like you had a neon sign over your head thing. Oh my god, it's a woman. So, you know, stupid things like in meetings, and important meetings, the senior people, the traditional was always the senior people went in first, no, say you're going to go and meet the minister. Like, the most senior person, we're going first. Except if there was a woman, and then they would make the women go in first. And so, you know, really awkward, like, obvious really, actually started and they would like hold the door open. And I kind of walked past 30 people that were more senior than me, and walked in to see them. So who sort of looked at me when Who the hell yeah. eyes on you? Oh, it was miserable. It's not like that anymore. I came back to the civil service sell for a long break. And there's a lot of senior women in that in the civil service, including I mean, I was the first chief economist, women to be chief economist at defeated and woman to be chief economist at fc do as a new department that was formed out of merging two. So I guess they they've only had women, we could put it positively like. So it but but you know, I'm often in meetings, senior meetings now, you know, I'm never in all male ones. And occasionally in all female ones. So I mean, all male apart from me. Better, I think we really, you know, we have a major problem about other forms of diversity and economic salutely. Yeah, and I think it matters not just for the represent representation and trust issues that you raised, but for what we study and how we think about studying it. And this wasn't particularly economics. But it's just a very simple example that I gave, I mean, I was at the Treasury A long time ago, and there was a change to get rid of the poll tax. And it was part of the budget, and there was a small, only a small number of people work on the budget, and they announced it, Parliament went into up for because they're like, you forgot to abolish it in Scotland. Oh, nobody realised that it but they, you know, it's just, it's just whereas if there had been anyone from Scotland, that team, they would have gone, aha, that law doesn't apply to us, you also have to amend this other law. And, you know, there's, I mean, that's the sort of, I mean, important, but trivial example, in some ways, but, you know, when we got more diversity into economics, and we started talking, you know, there's some really important work going on, on LinkedIn, you know, what was, like impacts of the fact that African Americans had less access to higher education or less research opportunities, which meant that, you know, if you look at, they just have fewer patents. And if you then say, Well, if the world had benefited from the innovation of that whole part of the community, which wasn't given access, what would the economic impacts will be? Well, I don't I think it's, that's the kind of question that you ask, if you are the first, or one of the first black women to, you know, to be senior in economics, some of these lynching questions came out of the, you know, the family stories that raised hypotheses. And so we just have this, I mean, apart from just we're not tapping the important expertise across our communities, we're not, we're gonna ask bias questions. Absolutely. And it's because I talked about, or have talked about diversity in the workplace for a long time. And just personally, because I grew up in the northeast of Scotland have worked in the oil industry, and then move to London worked in media, and in quite male environments. But, you know, as a white straight woman, you know, like you said, you have some of those battles to fight and thankfully, not really any more quite so much. But I had to easy, you know, compared to a million other people, but I, and we think about all of those populations that we don't talk about so much like, you know, being disabled, physical disability and mental disability, and what, what difference would that make? Because what's coming out of all of these interviews, for the podcast is how personal all of this stuff really is. I talked to Ben earlier about he did an episode of a podcast about the welfare state and you know, different elements of, of the economics of thought. And we were talking about how well Wouldn't it be great if one of the people or more than one of the people working on that research had lived through welfare on being on welfare, and we make sure that people have that experience. You don't only need thought, but it does make a difference if you've got one person and I suppose it's the same for things like make decisions around policies around disability and access and all of those types of things. So what what do you think that? What do you think that schools and universities and, you know, being at the top of our particularly, kind of, yes, it's a marriage department, but the whole department that's, you know, got a long history, very traditional, you know, there's things that you and your colleagues can do within that space. But what do you think that schools and universities, you know, can be doing not just to kind of get more diversity into areas like, like economics, but, but to kind of keep people there longer term, because you said about the four women that you started with now, I'm hoping in my mind that they've all gone off to do fun stuff and economics as an industry in other ways. And that's why they went their separate ways. But and even if that's the case, I think we all know, people who've gotten into different industries, brought some diversity with them, but they haven't been able to see because it's just too much. And those other things haven't been done to help make it sustainable in the longer term. What are some of the things you think that we could be doing? So the I mean, the very first thing that I think we need to do in in schools, particularly and sort of very early on, is just get over a much more realistic version of what economics is about. Yes. You mentioned earlier about people looking on on the television and seeing economists and the the economists you tend to see tend to be people from the city, you know, talking about why you know, what's going to happen to this stocks tomorrow. Yeah. Which is really cool. Or what's happening to the exchange rate or something, which is really quite bizarre, because the one thing that we know, in economics about stocks and exchange rates is that we cannot predict. One thing that we know is that we cannot answer that question. Yeah. Well, what's going to happen to that strength? What our stock is going to go up tomorrow, and people will pretend. And then people say, well, the one thing economists are meant to know is about what happens to the exchange rate tomorrow, what happens to the stock market tomorrow, and they get it wrong, and therefore, you know, economics is terrible. A that's like, not what most economists work on. B the one thing we know from economics is you can't predict it. Attracting completely wrong people into economics. So we got a scope. So you know, economics about is about trade offs, is about how do you make policy work better is about how do you get a, you know, limited amount of money to do the best it can? How do you get you know, limited, you know, get schools working better get health care working better? That's that's what it's about. And I think if I think I can completely see why it's off putting to lots of people, you know, to think that, you know, they don't want to work in the city. Well, you do have to work. Please don't work in the city. No, I, I support this 100%. That's not what it's not people like that, who we want any economics, not saying people from minorities should, you know, don't have the right to go make a lot of money in the city, obviously, they do. But there's an awful lot of other great other people who would say, what I really care about is improving health education, and, you know, social assistance and the lives of poor people in other countries, where if that's what you care about this is this is the professional view. And that's the message that's hard, isn't it? That's the main thing. And it's because of this bias about what people see on TV. You know, I spent a lot of the last year trying to get COVID vaccines, more COVID vaccines in the UK, get the production of them higher, try and make sure that, you know, other countries have access to them. And, you know, that's the kind of really practical problem that we spend our time working. So if you, you know, you care about those things get into economics. So you know, getting that message across is right. I also think it's important that we when we teach economics at university, we tie it really closely to the practical problems that people face and make it very accessible in that way. not accessible and in you know, we don't teach it well, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about making it relevant to people. And then in the end, then we need all sorts of mentoring processes, you know, mentoring, and there's all sorts of biases that we know about, including from economic research about, you know, when you hire people, you kind of look for someone who looks like those people who've performed in the future. So we You need to keep testing and bringing this is a case where we get looked at the evidence what's worked in bringing more diverse voices. And I mean, when I was at university, I did a lot of work to get I was from a comprehensive and I was lucky enough to get into Oxford and, and I, I then did a lot of work to try and get other people from comprehensives into Oxford. And I think it was some similar issues. There was a lot of prejudice people though, I don't want to go. It's not for people like me, and they met people who've gone and you know, there was some you know, my school had never sent anyone to Oxford, no girl had gone for my comprehensive to Oxford, or Cambridge, ever. That's amazing. I went back and talk to the next year, three people going amazing. So that was kind of the because nobody wanted to go, they didn't think it was fair, then that's the same kind of thing that we need to do in economics. Don't pull the ladder up. Yeah, yeah. But but doing it by making it clear what it's about, you know, demystifying it. So that's part of it. I also think in terms of, and then having networks, you know, and there's a lot of work to try and build networks so that you have the equivalent of that for women. with, you know, so that the black economist network is doing lots of work on that, for example, and we have, you know, networks within the civil service, doing that kind of things so that you don't feel alone, if you if you are in the search amendment, sort of the equivalent the situation I was when I first joined the Treasury, so that that's important. And then specifically for women, we've made a lot of progress and doing things like we used to say that you couldn't work on the forecast and the Treasury, if you if you work part time, I all sorts of things we can do if we're part time, and that most of that just gone out the window. Now, but those sorts of things, I think it's important to keep pushing on. Yeah, I think I think that's true, it is about keeping on going, isn't it. And, you know, there's always something else that can be improved. And, and the more that's that's what I love about economics, and I is as a total lay person, but it's why I kind of offered to get involved in do the podcast is because even though you know myself, my husband, we run our digital marketing business together. And that that's, that's my profession, if you like, but I do a lot of work with mentoring young people and you know, going into schools and talk to them about starting their own business or, you know, what do they want to do in business and all that kind of stuff. And I don't think it necessarily matters, the sector is about just keep pushing forward and keep keep kind of getting that message out there, that there's more to do and that it benefits us all, when we get things in. But to me as well, it's all about the storytelling and what jumped out to me about your story, which I love. And I think that I bet students love when you talk to them about it. Like we look at things like you know, the work that you've done, like D warm the world, or micro finance and women's empowerment, like, like you said, That's not the stuff that we see, when people say I'm an economist, you know, when we talk about economics, and I feel like there is an education piece to be done not necessarily with students, but also with teachers and parents, and other people like me, who might talk to students, and influence their decisions in some small way. So that we can get the message across that those professions you're looking at are not necessarily what you think they are from the outside. So what do you think that we can do? Or what resources can we produce if you like to help teachers and parents to understand that, so that they can also encourage young people to get into economics. So we've been trying to put in together some resources at the foreign Commonwealth and development office to get to a web page. And this is, you know, we're running a competition to you know, to get people in school to think about economics. And we're doing that in two different ways. One is by saying, right about two practical challenges. So inequality is one and and climate change is another and we're asking people to, to write about their ideas about, about how to solve that using economics, using economic principles. So not, you know, proving anything mathematically, but just sort of take the basic ideas of economics and apply them to, to solving these big challenges. And part of the point is to, you know, to say to people, look, this is the kind of thing that we actually spend my time on inequality and climate change. Huge. You know, that's what a lot of economists spend, and we're also providing some resources that people could link to to say, Okay, well what are the some of the economic principles because I You know, maybe you don't have, you're not being taught economics and it's not offered in your school. It wasn't offered in my school. No, no mine. Yeah. And I sort of fell into it because it was part of my degree, I didn't know a range of things. I thought I was going to do politics. But I just found out politics was about, you know, people will not be, you know, the the leaders, political leaders, and I was much more interested in the policy and the policy stuff was actually an economics there's, there's those resources, which we'll we'll link to actually, because I mentioned before, I think the competition is a great, especially actually, for schools who maybe don't do economics, because it's an opportunity to kind of put their toe in the water a little bit, and see what it looks like, in practical terms, just for anyone listening, the deadline for applications, the 21st of me, and we'll have a link in the description so that you can go in and find out more information about the competition. Am I right in thinking that there's not an age limit in terms of the schools? Or if I just missed it on the landing page? It's for people during those years? Okay. It's so it's basically that a level years, okay. Might be GCSE as well. And we'll clarify, namely, yeah, it's pitch by the students in the last two years of school perfect, who might you know, who are kind of thinking about what they might do? university? Who might be doing a level economics? But no, no, that's not necessarily to. And my team will read all of the entries, and you will get to come present to me, if that's exciting. Yeah. And I will read the shortlisted ones. And I will, and they will come and present at the CDO, what they what they think the solution should be given to me and my team, that's amazing. And there's a monetary prize, too. I mean, we'll just add that in as a little aside, but you know, that's an important one, too. That's another element actually, that we come across a lot. And we're talking about the challenges. And you've touched upon it so much with the skills that you have in communicating the message. And that's a really huge part of the success of any research. And any policy is communicating that research, not policy. So that's why I got very excited when you said are coming in and presenting, you know, their ideas, because I feel like that comes up in the conversations where people get to senior levels in economics is the the ones who've had a background in regularly presenting their ideas, debating their ideas, and, you know, just communicating their not just their ideas, but how to convince people of their ideas and that persuasive kind of side and element of it. So this is a brilliant opportunity, not just to kind of quietly sit in your room and maybe come up with the idea, but then do the next part, which is a huge, you know, it's it's, you know, almost as important as the idea itself has been able to communicate it do. You said that sometimes people think of economics as just mastering statistics. But that's not going to get you anywhere. It's it's, it's part of the equation, as I'm saying, like, social science is somewhere between humanities and science. I mean, scientists have to be good at communicating to, but is particularly, it's about putting together a logical argument, based on what evidence we have. So drawing in data to support your argument drawing on, you know, rigorous evidence to support your argument, but it's about that logical, coherent argument that you can then present, that's what makes a good economist is sort of drawing on all these different strands and say, okay, you know, so what do we know? What do we know about costs? But also, what do we know about human behaviour? How do humans behave in this sort of situation? So it's got a lot of kind of psychology, and it's not just really abstract. It's also, you know, thinking about how do humans respond to incentives? And then, you know, putting it into a logical framework and saying, well, what's the implications of that for policy? So it's really about combining a lot of different aspects. And that's what I love about it, I can see why people communication logic, you know, that that's what it's about. I love it. And I have to say that I'm kind of a little bit jealous that I'm not an economist, because those are all the things I like, as well. Because, to me, I talk to people all the time when when I'm doing on the digital side, very small example. Like if we're looking at something like Google Analytics of how people behave when they're on your website, and so many people get caught up on the numbers. Now, like, but if you don't understand how people travel around your website, then those numbers don't mean anything. You know, lots of people visiting lots of pages could mean that they love all of your content. Or it could mean that they just can't find what they're looking for. And if you don't understand what your website is doing, you can't make that connection. And I think that's a mistake. A lot of people make when they look at datasets of any kind, whether it's for, you know, just for pure science or economics or for anything. So just to finish off again, thank you so much for your time, this has been so fascinating. And I'm hoping that people listening to this can get an idea of what it's really like to be an economist and how varied that can be. But just finally, and you've given so much advice already, actually, so we may have already answered it, but let's maybe pull together with summary if we can, but what advice would you give to teachers and parents who are talking to young people, but economics just as an interest or but more importantly, as a career going forward? Yeah. So my advice would be to look into thinking about some of the kinds of economics that is maybe not front page, not on your on your television screen. I think the kinds of things that economists do in government, I think, is quite a good example of the kinds of things that help from an environmental side, transport to education. Looking into that, so finding podcasts or finding other sources of information about there's a nice hashtag, it gets what economists really do. I love that oriana bandiera, did a great presentation to the econometrics society, well, to students to school children about, about what economists really do. So looking do that, then do think about? So we said, it's not all about mass, but it is important. You know, if you are if you're, if you're talking to a kid who's younger, and they're thinking about what a levels to do, you probably do need a master level. I mean, as I say, I didn't do further math, but many people do. But you should at least do maths. And see if there are ways to get someone to come and talk to the school or, you know, or ask around to see if anybody knows anyone who's got a you know, it's got a job in economics, does it say difficult? Because then, you know, it's not something that you see around a lot. But a lot more people would be interested in if they if they got exposure, so thinking both about what they'd be interested, but also what would they What skills do they need to acquire? And are they taking the right courses? If they're potentially interested in doing brilliant, what we really need is just to get you on the news more. First thing, let's get your if we get yourself and your colleagues, you know, on there No, this is what economists look like. There's also a there's also a hashtag about why economists, I look like an economist, but that was in response to Google. Bing only, you know, if you've searched economists, not only white men, I think they've grey hair now. But there's really good economists on Twitter, if you're on if you're on Twitter, I have a reasonable following on Twitter. And you'll see the kinds of things that we get or get into arguments about or, or talk about or work work on. Yeah, that's another way. Another way to. That's the joy of Twitter, I often say that to people, if you're interested in like you don't you can be a lurker. So I usually go because there's so many fascinating people on there, like if you're interested in space, you can follow astronauts, and they will tweet from space. And you can learn things that way. And, and you really get, like you said, the reality of what a lot of people's jobs are, because we're lucky enough to have a nice crowd have different, you know, different groups people on there. So we can also have a will recommend your have a little nausea, who you're following on Twitter as well in the notes so that people can have a look. But I think that's also a great resource for teachers, like if they they can follow and have a look at what people are saying on Twitter. And it does give you a much clearer perspective. That's very different from when I grew up. And my parents were telling me not to go on the internet and not to believe anything you read on the internet. It's all quite different. Thankfully, there's still a little bit of that, though, kids, please also still check other resources, which I think are really good. So Vox has development. Vox stands for those interested in development economics. And I think they have an equivalent for non development. They cover some pretty serious research, economics research on there, but presented in a very sort of straightforward way. So that might be you know, an interesting thing to read and there are some you know, videos of people talking about that. Sima Zhi Chandran is always brilliant. If you ever get to see videos from her, I'm just adding to my guest list here like Who else do we need to invite? definitely talk to you. I love that because it just shows you like just at the end of this conversation, like you start to think about what the resources are. And there are just there are so many ways that we can find out more. But I think what we're the connection we're hoping to make is that people might not know what they don't know, like they might they don't realise that there is a gap between what we think economists look like and what they actually look like. We're doing our little part. And thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it. And it's been really interesting. And I'm hoping that at some point, we're going to come back and revisit everyone and and we'll get more questions in from other people to ask you. So I'm hoping that you'll be willing to come back and maybe do that later on in the year. I'll pin you down. No. And I promise that there'll be nice questions. Great to chat to you, Jennifer. Yeah, very brilliant. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to our episode. We hope you enjoyed it. Please get in touch. If you visit our website, discover economics.co.uk you can email us through the site, get in touch see all of our resources. And we'd love to hear from you. If you've got any questions for our guests that we can pass on to them. And I keep nudging our guests. We're hoping to get them back in the hot seat again with your questions. So please do get in touch and let us know what you think. If you've enjoyed the podcast, remember to go to Apple podcasts and rate and review. Remember to subscribe so that you get all the new episodes as they come in. And we look forward to hearing from you and let us know what you think. See you on the next episode.