Welcome to episode 3 of "How did I get here? Discover Economics" with Andy Haldane.
At the time of this interview, Andy was the Chief Economist at the Bank of England. Andy is becoming Chief Executive of the RSA, an institution which for 260 years has been connecting people and ideas to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.
He is a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee and Chair of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Council. Andy is also an Honorary Professor at University of Nottingham, a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Governor of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
Here are some of the resources mentioned in the episode:
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. This week's episode is with Andy helding. Before I dive in, and you get to hear from Andy and his official bio, etc. At the time of this interview, just wanted to flag up that he was the chief economist at the Bank of England. He has since moved on from that role. As of recording this intro I'm we haven't had confirmed for us move to next. But there's lots of great description and storytelling about how he got into the position. He's in his experience. And it's a really great interview. And he is lovely. And there's just a lot in this about that he might come into it thinking, you know, he's chief economist at the Bank of England. That's quite traditional. That's what we would expect. You know, when we think about economists, but I don't think Andy really is exactly what you would expect. So definitely leave your assumptions at the door and have a listen to the to the interview and let us know what you think on with interview. So today we're joined by Andrew Haldane. Andrew is the chief economist at the Bank of England. He's a member of the bank's monetary policy committee and chair of the government's industrial strategy Council. Andrew is also an honorary professor at University of Nottingham, a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a governor of the National Institute of economic and social research. Phew. Okay, so Hi, Andy, lovely to meet you. And thank you so much again for taking the time to talk to us. And we're gonna dive in and find out exactly how you got here. Well, thank you, Jennifer. Thanks for having me. I'm looking forward to 70 Good, good. Okay. So let's start I am i right in thinking that you grew up in Leeds? I did. Born a bit further north than that in Sunderland, but grew up just north of Leeds. Yes. buneary Yorkshireman despite being northeast by birth, well, I can definitely when I when I've been listening to you, I've spotted some of the vowels now might get they haven't gone to some of the leads vowels are still in there. Oh, that's right. It's still bath rather than bath. Yeah. becomes more so actually, you know, after after a pint of beer become progressively more northern? Yes, I can relate to that with the Scottishness? Definitely. I've been in London for 15 years. And I was just saying that we recently moved to Cornwall. And everyone keeps saying to me that you've lived in England for 15 years. You still sound like you're from Scotland? I said, Yeah. Though, it doesn't go away. That's for sure. No, no, it shouldn't. I find in my experience, I get away with a lot more with a Scottish accent. People, you know, they get away with more swearing and and all sorts of other inappropriate stuff. But not today. So tell me a little bit more. What were you like, as a student at school? What in what subjects were you into? Well, I can't pretend Jenna for one second, I was especially diligent that school I mean, there was just other things going on, to be honest. Including sports, you know, sport was a much larger part of my life than was studying when I was, you know, 1416, probably even 18 actually, didn't really come from a background that had been especially academic. You know, Neither of my parents had been to university, but Neither of my parents had said at school beyond 16. But no, my family stayed on to university. So there was no real culture of, of studying particularly hard at school. I did, you know, bits and bobs. I was interested, you know, in politics, interested in the economy interested in communities? What, what makes them work? And as importantly, what made them sort of not work? So those were all areas of interest, but I can't pretend for one second, I was obsessed by those as I was by football, or cricket or tennis at that stage wasn't true. Well, the good thing about economics is you can apply it to sports quite nicely. So you know, that could have been a route that you went down. Well, and some have no, I mean, one of the nice things that I do think about the subject is that it is about everything and everyone. I mean, it isn't an abstruse academic discipline, we are all the economy, we're all making decisions that shape the economy, absolutely every day of our lives. So that notion of the everyday economy has actually been pretty central to what well, why I got interested in the subject in the first place, but also why I have remained interest in it to this day, because when it goes wrong, it affects everyone and what we all do, importantly, shapes how well the economy does. Yeah, absolutely. You mentioned their interest when you were younger, in kind of community and that side of things, it's something I very much relate to my I grew up, like you with parents who didn't go to university, and my sister and I were kind of the first to go along. Thankfully, she did it before me. So all expectations are on her, which is very nice. Being the younger child is the best. But one of the things that my parents did really focus on when we were growing up, was my mom used to always say, you know, education is the thing that no one can take away from you. So it's very important that you We don't care what you study, but keep learning was was a big thing in our house, which I'll we'll come back to because I know you have a lot to say about lifelong learning and that side of things, which I think is important, but also that community side. So we were encouraged to volunteer from quite a young age. And that's something I know that you've talked about as well, with that kind of the passport for notes. Let me elaborate on that a bit. You're right, I've done quite a bit of thinking and writing and doing actually on the case for voluntary activity of various types, the case chapter pursuits of various types, for all sorts of reasons. I mean, one of the most obvious, of course, is that it's a good thing to do. If you're volunteering to do something that helps other people, that is fantastic for them, that you're able to do. But it's actually also fantastic for you that you're able to do that, for building your skills, including, importantly, your interpersonal skills, which are even more important in the world of work. And now, this is good for your intrinsic sense of happiness. It makes you not just happier but healthier, as a result. So any type of charitable or voluntary activity, I think delivers huge benefits to both the giver and the receiver as well as the receiver of that activity. And therefore, I think it absolutely should form a core part of our education when we're young. And if it does form a core part of education, when young, it's much more likely to form a core part of our whole lives, you know, that that that lifelong learning that you mentioned earlier on. A key part of that I think is engaging in community or voluntary activities of various types. We aren't quite there, we aren't quite there in terms of generating the culture, or the infrastructure that would best support that sort of lifelong learning or lifelong volunteering. And the passport, he mentioned, would be one way of facilitating now that's basically saying that, you know, one of the reasons only one but one of the important reasons why perhaps not as much as an activity or volunteer activity takes places it might is because there's no effective means of recognising recording, or rewarding those activities and a digital passport, a voluntary passport. For those activities, we want means of recording, recognising and in principle, rewarding those activities, not on a lifelong basis. So that's been a, that has been a key theme of some of my, you know, throughout my career, that particular some of the charity work over the last 10 or 15 years. Yeah. And that made me wonder, actually, like, is that something that started with you quite young? Like in terms of voluntary stuff? Yes. bits and pieces weren't something my interest in it? I think often we'll have discussions about, you know, politics or discussions about the economy, or indeed discussions around our communities, the debate bifurcates into, you know, do we want a bigger role for government? Or do we want a bigger role for the market and that's been sort of the the arm wrestle politically and economically we've been having for many, many decades now. But what that misses out of the equation is crucially is the role of civil society, of communities, of voluntary groups of faith groups of charities, which are every bit as important as we all know, to the fabric of our societies and the fabric of our communities and the fabric of our economies as our private companies and governments, so absolutely in how I think about the economy, how I've, you know, navigated through my career, it's tried to kind of bring together those three points of the triangle. Yes, there's an absolute crucial role for government. Yes, is an absolutely crucial role for the private sector for the market for self interest. But the third point of the triangle, which is the role of people, communities, civil society, is every bit as important and never more so actually. Then over the past 12 months, during the COVID crisis, hundreds have really been the combined effects of government's doing more to ensure and protect households and companies, companies themselves acting in a more purposeful fashion to serve the workers, their customers, their clients, their communities. but crucially, that the role of civil society, just think about those 1000s of mutual aid groups that were set up during the COVID crisis, to bring people together to support one another. Yeah, that was absolutely fundamental to us getting through this in in one piece, and, and saving lives, even saving lives, like being able to keep those things like you know, getting your shopping delivered, which again, without COVID seems like a very simple thing. You know, it was those types of, like you said, those types of organisations that popped up, this kind of leads me into a question as well, because it comes up when I talk about volunteering a lot, you know, volunteering, slightly sideways of that, and things like internships and those experiences that you get from from that type of activity. You know, there's criticism of thought, because who can afford to volunteer, and who can afford to give up time and, and what I love about the things you've said is that, you know, there's a huge amount of value in learning and training in exchange of skills and, you know, exchange of experiences, there's a huge benefit to mental health. But there's there there is that kind of fundamental thing of who can afford to do that, to be able to volunteer. And I think that comes into the conversation about diversity in any walk of life, it's making sure that everyone has equal access to be able to do it. And that's something that the whole discover economics kind of at its core, it's about making economics as a subject more accessible and attracting more dirt more diversity into economics. Because without it, and you, you pointed this out in your TEDx law school, talk with your lovely picture of the the panel looking slightly less than diverse, and people who look like you and I, there was a woman in there, but again, it's all, you know, white, certain, you know, certain class structure, certain background structures. So like volunteering? What are the things that you think, like institutions like yours, can do to attract more diversity? To make it possible for everyone? Yeah, well, this is crucial, Jennifer, I mean, it's the economics profession starts in a poor place. And let's be absolutely blunt about that. every dimension of diversity imaginable, certainly true of gender, certainly true of ethnicity. certainly true of socio economic background. Economics sticks out like a sore thumb for all the wrong reasons. It's doing better, but from a spectacularly low and poor base. And what is true of the economics profession is mirrored in institutions that are sort of monetary and financial in nature, so that the City of London financial services, and indeed the Bank of England all suffer from those problems to some significant degree as well. And of course, the two are unrelated. Because if you're if you're hiring people, as economists from an economics profession that itself is not very diverse. Guess what, you as an organisation end up not being as diverse as you as you'd like to be. But we need a pipeline. We obviously need. Yeah, we've got to start building the pipeline. And so at the moment, I'm chairing a city of London Corporation actually taskforce on on this question, how we make financial services, professional services rise to the challenge of becoming more socio economically diverse than it than it has been. Of course, there's an important intersectionality between gender diversity, ethnic diversity and socio economic diversity. Yes. So yeah, you know, you you want all three but actually, all three often come packaged as one set of problems. How are we going to do that? I mean, this needs to come from within organisations. They need to absolutely see the case, the business case for wanting this more diverse workforce than the one they currently have. They've got to value the benefits for their recruitment for their, in house creativity, for the sense of good governance. Yeah, for all those reasons are more besides the need to understand the evidence and believe the evidence and to act on the evidence that this will not just be the right thing to do morally for them. Yeah. But also the right thing to do commercially. Yes, for them, that there are untapped commercial opportunities that come from tapping this deep well, of talent. And longer term, you know, that will make them not just a fairer, and a happier, and a stronger organisation, but probably also a better performing more productive and more profitable one as well. Yeah, this, this really is a win win. And the evidence on this is absolutely over whelming. And I'm someone who is evidence lead. That's where I do my policy. That's where my economics for far too many years. And I do believe that the if we can bring that evidence together, that will be a light bulb moment for many more companies, including the Bank of England, which I hope has already gone through that lightbulb moment. Yeah, this is the case is almost unanswerable that we're missing out ourselves and shooting ourselves in the foot by not doing much, much more on the on this run at every point of the ETL pipeline. At every point in the pipeline, I would start this in schools. Yeah, me the bank itself has developed schools programmes over the last three or four years. In fact, I've been the person leading that effort. So we now have curriculum materials for 11 to 16 year olds, and most recently for eight to 11 year olds, talking about the role of the economy and the role of the Bank of England within the economy. So start early, start really, really early, make this a habit, make the make everyone think about economics, the economy, the Bank of England, in different terms that it is about them, and it can be for them. Yeah. And if you start that early, there's a greater chance that when people move on to further education or higher education, those they're much more likely then to look at these companies a different sort of way. At the same time, as I hope these companies are looking at potential employers in a different sort of way. And I'm optimistic about that, Jennifer, there's a long way to go. But I'm optimistic about that. Yeah. And what I love about what you just said, is, to me, because I work in so the reason I'm hosting this is because I'm not an economist, and I don't have any experience. So that hopefully, I can start to pull out some things that teachers and parents who, like me don't have that background might want to ask. And one of the parallels I see here in digital skills, because to me, the skills of economics as a subject are applicable across everything. So you mentioned in one of your recent interviews about, you know, upskilling, the economy new as the economy changes, people have to skill themselves, employers have to rescale their employees, and all of that kind of, you need to be aware of that if if we had a more fundamental or foundational, rather, education and how economics and economies work, then if you're a plumber, or an electrician, if you're working manufacturing, as the economy changes, because you have an understanding of it to actually, you can see the needs for you to re skill much earlier. And to me, it's like, you know, we talk about digital skills, which is my area where I do a lot of adult training, and I work with young people as well, and the area of digital skills. That to me, it's like, well, we learned how to send emails, we learned how to use the telephone, we learned, you know, it's just a, it's a it's a skill set in your toolbox, like everything else. And you can apply it to many different industries and jobs. And to me, economics does lend itself to that, too. I think the problem is maybe and I could be wrong in this is perception. If I study economics, it's because I want to go into a certain field or be a certain person or have a certain job, where is actually an understanding of economics. And if we we build that into a more foundational level, even if people don't end up becoming economists, as a workforce as a you know, as a society, we we definitely benefit from that. What do you think? Yeah, cool. Yeah, completely agree. I mean, even the word economics Jennifer interest is a complete conversation killer. Yes. Almost no one is interested in economics. But almost every economy, yes. Yeah. So actually even if avoiding the word or making it sound like an academic discipline, yes can help, because actually, economics the economy is about stuff that people absolutely care about and recognise in surveys. If you ask people, you would you wish to know more about how the economy works? Almost all of them say, say yes. to more than 90%. Say yes. If you ask them, would you? Would they like more of this to have been taught in the classroom at school? Almost all of them say, yes, the selfsame people, when you ask them, Do you actually understand the economy? Almost all of them say no. So there's a massive gap between what people would wish to know, and what they currently do know a huge skills and indeed, appetite gap. Yeah. I mean, the way to bring this to life, I think in the classroom is to not make it about ideologies or concepts or mathematics, but rather about the everyday ways in which our decisions as individuals affect the economy, and the everyday ways in which the economy affect us. So absolutely. This is about spending. It's about saving. It's about working. It's about learning. It's about skill building. It's about volunteering, that all these things are the economy. Yeah. And the economy is us. So part of this is, you know, the way we choose to describe things. I mean, the same is true for so many other things. I mean, it's one of the other side hustles. Jennifer is a vice chair, Vice Chair of a charitable national numeracy. And the UK also faces a numeracy crisis. So we have a huge number of people who are functionally innumerate, who have put off mathematics at school fees are seen as being, you know, conceptual, and difficult, and a bit abstruse, basically, not relevant to their lives. But of course, everyday maths is couldn't be more relevant to our everyday lives, because all of us are adding up, occasionally subtracting and very occasionally dividing and multiplying. It's just to live our lives. It's a perception problem. Until next time, in your area, digital skills as some of that is also true of digital skills. By the way, among younger cohorts, you know, they've been, they've been brought up on having a surgically attached to their phone, if kids like my children, for all the generations, not brought up on that same culture, it's much more of a wrench learning those skills will be half as intrinsically increasing all the time. Yeah, that's a conversation I have all the time. Because, yes, it's perception. And confidence is the biggest thing. And I don't know if you find this as well, certainly, I find a lot of women will say, I'm crap at maths, or I'm rubbish with numbers, for example. And I correct them all the time. And I said, What are you? Because that's something we see, and we see all the time. But that, like you say, we you're using math, like, what is your job? And they'll say, project manager on like, Yeah, well, okay, you use math all the time. What are you talking about? And I think the same for digital skills I hear all the time, like, Oh, I'm a dinosaur. It's like, you're not no one is, it's just it's a confidence thing often, and I absolutely agree with you that the language is important, because we've got a lot of stigma or fear attached to labelling yourself with certain numbers, certain words to say, I'm good at maths sets an expectation, but the other side of what you're, you know, what you're claiming, if you like, it's really important that that's right, whether it's digital skills or number skills or economic skills. Yeah, in my experience, and all the evidence on this is this is 99%. A confidence game. Yeah. But just saying that isn't enough. Of course, we need that in the means to build the confidence because we also know that with the right with the right tools, with the right techniques, people can improve dramatically, the digital skills that numeracy skills, the economic skills now job, yours on the digital side, me on the economics and numeracy side, is to help provide some of those tools and techniques that unlock the secrets that you know that beat back the fears about these subjects. So it's quick wins that make that give people a boost to know that they can do it, and then move on and keep on going. Yeah, just making it relevant. making it relevant to people's everyday lives explaining how this can help them make decisions in their everyday lives that are going to be on average a bit better. Yeah, because this is not learning for learning sake. Nothing wrong for learning things, by the way, but this is this is learning that will help people in their everyday lives in their everyday jobs. There's a lot that can be done in schools, to reduce those fears or to build that confidence. But we need to do it as much among adults as among children, because, you know, most of those in the workplace are adults. And we can't just say, oh, let's wait until the new cohort of young people come through to solve those problems or skills problems, which is the lifelong learning. Yeah. imperative. Really? Yeah. And it's interesting, something you talked about in your TED talk was, you know, about the economic recovery, being, you know, focused in the southeast? And how do we make sure that actually we flagged up that it's not happening elsewhere. And, and I wanted to kind of expand on that to any teachers, parents, or even students listening about how important it would have been for, let's say, your team at that time, to have had like, two or three people on it, who had families in the northeast, and to work to charities or, you know, so making sure that those connections are not just about the Bank of England, let's say as an institution going out into communities, which is very, very important. But making sure that the people who are on the team, see even if those teams are in London, have those connections already, so that that type of thinking is built in. Yeah, I mean, I was lucky in this respect, because I mean, I was from a, as you mentioned, earlier, engineer, but I was from a rather different background, than sort of standard fare, banking and official, there isn't a well trodden path from Councillor states in Sunderland, to the Bank of England. Shocking, without changing, still very many others. But it's changing the did mean that that did give me one advantage, at least one advantage, which is, you know, a sense that to understand the whole of the economy, you needed to know who to ask him where to look. And indeed, to look in places and to listen to voices that weren't necessarily your usual suspects. Yeah, that's those captions, those views, those fears, those concerns, which are sort of hiding in plain sight among everyday people in the everyday economy. So that's why I made quite a thing. Several years back now of supplementing my, you know, my mother nerdy spreadsheets through models, stroke database approach to understanding the economy, with basically wandering around, wandering around the UK, talking to people about stuff, yeah, I wouldn't even say about the economy necessarily just about stuff. Yeah. And that gives you a different window on the world, that gives you some of the colour, some of the texture, some of the stories, to supplement the statistics. I think, coming from a somewhat different background, and knowing a little about those communities, having grown up in those communities did give me a bit of a starting advantage in in wanting to go and speak to the people that are the economy, particularly in those parts, where the economy is not working? Well, you know, because these are speak to below, we're doing well, right, you know, businesses that are doing well a falling over themselves to talk to you, yes, whereas businesses that are doing well, understandably, are not the same is true of communities and people that, you know, if you are in one of those left behind cities, or towns or or villages, you know, your voice tends to be not heard as much. And that's why, if you're in public policy, like me, you have to try doubly trebly hard to seek out those voices, and crucially, to listen to them. And it's certainly countercultural in public policy, certainly among economists, to turn up and listen, you know, what we were sort of pre programmed to do is to talk talk at people. But of course, that's the opposite of what you want in this situation, to go along. First and foremost, listen, and learn. I think there's quite a lot in that, not just for the economics profession, but also for public policymakers like 100%. And also, to me that makes, like the outcome of that better policy, it's, you know, you get to be better at your job. And you know, and you get to see the fruits of that labour from, like I said, you might be wandering around the country and, and at the time, that might not be immediately obvious how valuable that is. But it does mean that hopefully, better policies then happen and then as with policies roll out, the economy improves. So it's like you said about diversity being core to actual business success. I think that this is also core to, you know, the success in public policy indefinitely. That's what I've picked up from, from a lot of the interviews and kind of recent articles and things I've read You know, in preparation for chatting with you, because there's so many things that we could talk about. I mean, one of the things you said earlier about making economics feel personal, and how important that is, to get students, you know, involved. I, and I was thinking about the lifelong learning and this, the skills element is that you may well have students who are listening to this, or their parents are listening to this, that their families have struggled in different economies through the 80s 90s, early 2000s. And they've seen it, they've seen it themselves, or certainly they've heard stories, because they'll be younger, and then you a lot of the, what's the best way to turn this. So there are some that let's see, there's some economists that you might see more on social media, or on the news that are talking about things that are a little bit more left field, like, universal basic income. And, you know, especially since COVID, hit that conversation, it started happening a lot. And certainly, in looking at Nordic countries and that side of things, something you've talked about is the mental health impact of job security of having a job and making sure that that the economy has those jobs in place. And I feel like while that, you know, the universal basic income, job security, that strand of the economy, if you like, is very, very personal, but can still feel conceptual to a student. So even if they've had the experience of their parents and grandparents having gone through a recession, they still might find it as too conceptual to think about how that impacts them how those conversations could impact them. So how do we help teachers? And you've probably done a lot of this work already, which is why one guy asked about it, you know, providing resources for schools? How can teachers take those things and make them more personal kind of break them down? Or where can they go to find out how to do that? Yeah, that's a good question, Jennifer, I think we're all wrestling with that, to some extent, we have a new crop of graduate entrance to the Bank of England. And I speak to them. And what I've said to the last several crops, actually, is that there's very little I can sit here today and say, hand on heart with a high degree of confidence is going to come to pass, you know, I can't promise you a lifelong career at the Bank of England anymore. But the one thing I can say with a very, very high degree of certainty, is that there's rarely have ever been a better time to have landed in public policy and to be thinking about the economy, such as the rich endowment of issues that we have facing us, just at the moment, and crucially, which they, and indeed, any young person thinking about these issues right now have the opportunity to shape. That's the key thing, right? It's not just the issues are big, it's that what happens to those issues is terms to some significant degree, dependent, not my actions, not kind of wisdom legs, like me, but on the action of younger people and the words, today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow's crop of economists and policymakers, nothing about the economy, nothing about society is preordained, nothing is fixed in stone, it is ours to shape. So So while we are facing these multiple huge challenges, this is a written down. And by the way, which could include some issues you mentioned, the insecurity of work, and the consequences that has for us as individuals and indeed for our communities and societies a huge issue, and one that will stretch out as far as the eye can see as a result of automate automation, and AI and all that. So that's going to be a huge issue for the next 50 probably 100 years, what is the future? How will the future world of work? Look? And how will we fit into that in a way that secures our income? And she'll UBI question, but also gives us a sense of satisfaction and purpose and security, not least for reasons of mental health. That's a matter issue. And you know, and and you can many, many people can and probably will spend many, many years wrestling with that first order policy, nothing could be more relevant to our society's communities and to us as individuals and things like that, that the same, what could be said of automation and the world of work could equally be said of a natural environment. And the climate crisis, you know, again, one of the meta issues of our time, something that is within our gift, to shape or reshape to change course, upon something that will require the very best of analysis and the very best of public policy if we are to land on a better place than we have been in the past inequalities and the qualities across every dimension inequality is socioeconomic equal economically, we've discussed those inequalities of income, or wealth, or opportunity or spatial inequalities, but different in different parts of the country. You know, those two are one of the meta issues of the day. But we also know, the another major issue that we ourselves can do something about. Yeah, if we craft policy appropriately. So, you know, my message to, you know, to younger people thinking about the economy, thinking about economics is one, you can't begin to believe how lucky you are to have to be thinking about those issues at this point in history, and indeed, having the capacity to do something about them. And that's important for you as an individual, but as importantly, it's it's, it's, it's crucial for how we reshape our economies and societies over the next 50 perhaps 100 years. Yeah, amazing. And, yeah, 100%, I would High Five up, we're in the same room. I know, it would be inappropriate to the tone of the conversation, but I was I wanted to ask you about pro bono economics? And and also, kind of as part of that, you know, I'll let you tell us a little bit more about it first, but something more about what could someone expect day to day in terms of, because what I love about pro bono economics is that you're obviously making time available to support the charities and nonprofits and places that won't necessarily always have access to an economist, but where that access would be very, very helpful and beneficial for the organisation. And that kind of led me to think about well, what is it that an economist brings, you know, day to day in terms of, you know, job delivery of in that role? What, what is that, like? So if you could tell us a little bit about pro bono economics? And then if we can maybe lead into that kind of day to day? What does that mean? For sure? Well, thanks for mentioning Jennifer. So it's a charity that I set up 12 years ago. Now, the idea was, was very simple, actually, which was that, could we employ usefully use the skills of professional economists to help charities and all sorts of ways but in particular, when better understanding the societal impact that they were having? Yeah, my, my strong sense was that those were the sets of skills that economists have, there was no real culture or tradition in the profession of providing pro bono support to charities charges themselves, as you know, in the vast majority of cases, wouldn't have the money to be able to afford an economist, and many would not be able to size wanted to hire an economist to ask for one. I think that's a big part of it, too. That's a crucial point, you know, to think they actually needed one the first place. So the, the idea was simple that there, could we take this pretty big pool of economists and match them into charities? Now, in my naivety, I thought that match of easy to make, it's not easy to make, as it turns out, not really not least for the reason you mentioned, Jennifer, which was, in some cases, the charities needed convincing is an economist and the economist, convincing, that should be doing stuff for a charity. But nonetheless, with lots of goodwill, and quite a lot of hard work. We've been able to make a large number of matches hundreds and hundreds of matches. Teams of volunteer economists into charities to evaluate their impact. Sounds dead easy, of course. I mean, it really isn't, if you do properly. So you know, let's say your homelessness charity, right? How do you keep score on the impact you're having? Well, the charity have left to its own devices might say, well, we're going to count the number of people we get off the streets, and give a bed to overnight. And of course, that is not a terrible measure of what they do for a living. But of course, we think about it for a second massively massively understates the true social impact they're having, because we no doubt whether you're someone that's in a bed, intubated, got a roof over their head is then much less likely to get to get ill and end up in hospital, they're much less likely to get into trouble the police, they're much more likely to get a job, they're gonna be much less likely to suffer mental health problems of various types. And what's more of those benefits, those cumulative benefits could in principle accrue right over that person's lifetime, not just one day or one week or one month, but throughout their lifetime. And totting up those benefits. You know, putting numbers to them, is not straightforward, but it's a sort of analysis. That's a stock in trade of economists. And the idea was, let's get Some economists do this for free for charities so that they could fully understand the massive impact social impact that they were having, or good put some numbers, to the stories, the fantastic stories, these charities were telling. And that was the idea. 12 years ago, it was a twinkle in the eye, I had no idea what it would work. Truth be told Jennifer, but the good news 12 years old is that it really has. And it's what's supposed to be one of the most heartening things is that not only is this worked up for the charities, it's worked hugely for the economist as well. That's interesting, because nothing is more uplifting and liberating, if you're a professional anything, then not only applying your skills, but seeing it have a real impact, right. So the best one in the world, if you're if you're me, right, and you work for the Bank of England, your day job, you're still a relatively small cog in a pretty big machine. Right. And, you know, occasionally I'll see the direct impact of my actions. But a lot of the time I work because I'm just one cog. If you're an economist working with a charity on a project, let's say, measuring the impact of, of reducing homelessness, you know, you are the cog, you are the machine, that's an issue that won't have been previously touched by human hands. And the chance of you having an impact on what the charity does is enormous. Among the reason why the economists, the hundreds and hundreds of economists that we've used, have absolutely loved this, as a part of the professional development is the same benefits as volunteering we mentioned earlier on, it makes them feel good doing it, it absolutely builds their skills. And of course, it has tremendous payoffs to the recipient of that support in the form of charities. So there's a, there's a lesson there. I mean, this extends well beyond economics, actually, about the virtues and values of skills, volunteering, and helping that can be digital skills. As you know, Jennifer, a big tech for good movement, let's try to do that respective tech skills, but actually almost every aspect of professional endeavour, yeah, would would stand to gain by having some programme that volunteers to support charities. Yeah. And also it does that job, there's, again, it comes back to how everything is interconnected. It, you know, like I said, if someone, the Bank of England goes and works for the charities, the homelessness, that not only is that delivering for the charity, and the staff at that charity, and the morale that that brings them as well to know the impact of their work, then has an impact on productivity for them. But also, it goes back to what we were talking about earlier of you going out and getting that information to take back to the Bank of England to inform policy. If your economists are also volunteering and getting into charities, that exchange of information is happening, you know, anyway, as part of that programme, so there's, yeah, it's it's Win Win, win, win win, all the way around, when we talk about it. Nothing. That's right. That's definitely that's definitely right. You know, and, as well as the wins for the individuals of the charities, there is, of course, a collective win. There's a societal win for more of this stuff taking place. Because you know, if if civil society as a charitable sector, is functioning more effectively, and knowledgeably, that third pillar of the triangle, I mentioned, is functioning more effectively. And we're all the collective beneficiary from that, definitely. Listen, I know where we've kind of run out of time, which I could talk to you about this subject for hours, and hours and hours. And, and hopefully, we'll get to do some follow up interviews after this series is all been published. And I cannot thank you enough for your time. It's been amazing. And I imagine that as a teacher or a parent, there's so much in this interview to unpack and and that they can, you know, that they can really learn from and use with students and with their own children. Just Just as a final kind of goodbye. Is there. Is there any other piece of advice that you would give to teachers or parents or or just again, point towards a resource that you guys have to help with this education piece? Not just the economics education as a subject, but but to educate them about what it's like to be an economist and why why it's important? Yeah, well, I mean, something I didn't say but should have said earlier on, Jennifer was that, really the, one of the most important reasons why I ended up I ended up as an economist was by having a fantastic a level economics teacher, Peter Bates. I'm still in touch with les now lives in France. Yeah, without him. I wouldn't remotely be on the path I am on now. There's absolutely no question about that. So yeah, having said that, there's things that that schools educators might do a little bit differently. That's against the backdrop of me thinking this is absolutely fundamental to all of us. absolutely fundamental to my career, from my background, and someone had said to me You know, 14 1618, I'd be chief economist, the Bank of England, sort of laughable, really, absolutely laughable. And it's certainly slightly less laughable for the fact that I had that sort of superstar. teacher at the time. The one thing I would say, you know, in terms of your things that might be done a little bit differently to bring economics to life to bring the economy to life, it would be to, for schools to partner, as indeed, they are increasingly with some of the key institutions of state including the Bank of England, so the year weed that we're now doing hundreds of talks every year in schools, and that is a thoroughly good thing. But you know, why couldn't and shouldn't that be 1000s of talks being done by all parts of government? within schools? Why isn't economics and finance are actually core part of the curriculum right now? It's, it's a nice to have it's a discretionary item. Yeah. And, you know, as I've written to the button or education about more than once, why isn't this a more core and central feature of the curriculum? Not not the remote, the conceptual, the ideological, but the everyday economics? Of how sell balance sheets of buildings skills, of getting jobs, of saving for a rainy day of saving the planet? How would your pensions work out a pension? Yeah, particular bane of my life. So we absolutely can make the economy for everyone. I think we will have a collective responsibility to do just that. Amazing. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And like I said, hopefully, we'll be able to convince you to come back and answer some questions for us again, thank you so much. 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