UCL ECONOMICS ALUMNI GROUP NEWSLETTER AUTUMN 2011 Dear All, I hope this newsletter finds you well. Over 50 alumni attended our last event in April: „Disease and cure in the UK: The fiscal impact of the crisis and the policy response‟, where Carl Emmerson (Acting Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies) spoke on the estimated impact of the financial crisis and recession on the UK public finances, and the Government's fiscal policy response. For those unable to attend, see the write up in this newsletter and find a copy of the presentation at the following link: http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/5291 Looking forward, I‟d like to take this opportunity to share news of recent appointments, to provide details of an upcoming alumni event and to remind you of our two on-going initiatives:
RECENT APPOINTMENTS I‟m glad to announce that Professor Wendy Carlin had agreed to act as Honorary Chairperson of the UCL Economics Alumni Group. This appointment will strengthen ties with the Department and will facilitate its operations.
VOLUNTEERING FOR THE ALUMNI GROUP The UCL Economics Alumni Group is looking for volunteers to join the team who have expertise in the following areas: Event Management Newsletters (Editors/Contributors) Social Media & Communications You can read more about the activities of the group here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/economics/alumni. If you would like to get involved don‟t hesitate to contact me for further details.
UPCOMING ALUMNI EVENT
UPDATE YOUR DETAILS
All UCL Economics Alumni are invited for drinks at UCL's Print Room Cafe on Wednesday 26th October from 1900 - 2200. The purpose of this event is to provide an opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new contacts, whilst determining what you would like from an Economics Alumni Group.
Only 44% of UCL Economists have registered up-to-date details with UCL Alumni Relations. In a drive to increase this figure, I encourage you to forward the details in this message to your fellow graduates, so that they may update their records and maintain a link with UCL.
Expect guest appearances from a few members of Faculty and free drinks for the first hour- within reason!
GIVING BACK TO UCL ECONOMICS
If you are not receiving regular communications from UCL, you can either: - Quickly update your details by going to http://www.ucl.ac.uk/alumni/update-your-details - Or, sign up to the free Alumni Web Community, which will enable you to update your details, find classmates and become a careers mentor. For further details go to https://www.ucl.ac.uk/alumni-community/login
Alumni can contribute to a discretionary fund which allows the Department of Economics to invest directly in its students, staff and facilities.
By keeping your contact details up-to-date, Alumni Relations will ensure that you receive free copies of UCL People magazine as well as news and events from the Department of Economics and the wider UCL community.
For further details visit: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/economics/alumni
To book a place and for further details go to: http://economics.eventbrite.com/
Gorev Moudgil Economics and Statistics BSc, 2005 President, UCL Economics Alumni Group e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Carlin Gets Another Appointment Wendy Carlin, the new Honorary Chairperson of the UCL Economics Alumni Group, has also been appointed to the Office of Budget Responsibility's Expert Advisory Panel. The Office of Budget Responsibility was created by the Government in 2010 to provide independent and authoritative analysis of the UK‟s public finances. It is one of a growing number of official independent fiscal watchdogs around the world. The Dr Donald Verry Office UCL's recently renovated Lewis's Building hosts a new student centre, providing social and office space for UCL students and UCL Union Officers, including 'The Dr Donald Verry Office'. Donald Verry was variously Undergraduate Admissions Tutor, Department Tutor and Senior Lecturer in the Economics Department since 1974. Mr Neil Birnie, a UCL alumnus who graduated in Economics in 1984, gave a generous donation to support the renovations and name an office on the building's first floor. Due to his many fond memories of Donald he chose to name it in his honour. Mirrlees Review Is the UK‟s tax system fit for purpose? What does a good tax system look like anyway? In collaboration with the Nobel Prize winner James Mirrlees, staff and graduate students from the Economics Department have contributed to a review of the characteristics of a good tax system for any open developed economy in the 21st century, assessed the extent to which the UK tax system conforms to these ideals, and recommended how it might realistically be reformed in that direction. Dubbed „The Mirrlees Review‟, the research argues that the UK system falls short of the ideal in costly and inequitable ways. It discourages saving and investment, and distorts the form they take. It favours corporate debt over equity finance. It fails to deal effectively with either greenhouse gas emissions or road congestion. The revenue it raises, and the redistribution it does, could be achieved in less costly ways. For more information, see: www.ifs.org.uk/mirrleesReview
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
A Biography of Our New Honorary Chair The Editor (Daniel Rogger, BSc Economics, 2004) Wendy Carlin came to UCL in 1986 after a PhD and three year lecturership in Oxford. She has focussed her research on macroeconomics, institutions and economic performance, and the economics of transition. For years students have taken her core macro courses at UCL or come to know her work through two macroeconomics books coauthored with David Soskice: Macroeconomics and the Wage Bargain (OUP, 1990) and Macroeconomics: Imperfections, Institutions and Policies (OUP, 2006). At present, she is working on another macro book to include analysis of the global financial crisis and its aftermath. Today, Wendy is Professor of Economics at UCL and a Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, CEPR. She is a Fellow of the European Economics Association. She is comanaging editor of Economics of Transition and has recently been appointed to the Expert Advisory Panel of the Office of Budget Responsibility.
Wendy has published on economic restructuring in transition; ownership, finance and growth; competitiveness and export performance; competition and growth in transition; the political economy of Germany; and New Keynesian macroeconomics. For an example of her research, you can find a recent analysis of the Eurozone crisis at: www.ucl.ac.uk/european-institute/highlights/10questions
The Talk of Doom Tom Palmer, 3rd Year Bsc Economics Student “The talk of doom” – that‟s how they refer to this lecture at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. A wide range of UCL Economists – from current students to seasoned alumni – gathered to listen to Carl Emmerson of the IFS speak at the UCL Economics Alumni Event, “Disease and cure in the UK: The fiscal impact of the crisis and the policy response”. The question that immediately came to mind was whether Mr Emmerson referred to it as the “talk of doom” because of the perilous state of the UK‟s public finances, or because the audience was full of UCL Economists! The talk itself was very thorough. The diagnosis: that the UK‟s 2009-10 government deficit reached the highest share of GDP since the Second World War. An important question was raised over how much of that deficit is impervious to economic growth – the structural deficit – which is the part of the deficit that can only be dealt with through tax rises or spending cuts. While it was made clear that the structural aspect of the deficit is not straightforward to estimate, it was quite apparent that the vast majority of the deficit is structural. Which brought us to the cure: the structural deficit needs to be cut, in order to ensure that UK public finances do not spiral out of control. The cure, however, is a lot more controversial than the diagnosis, as anyone who has been following British politics recently will be all too well aware. While the current government has decided to undertake the second largest programme of cuts of any industrialised country, the opposition argues that such action will destabilise the recovery. The discussion focussed on the impact of the March 2011 Coalition Budget on government finances, as opposed to what the impact would have been under Labour‟s March 2010 budget, which advocated a slower rate of cuts. After the event, Economics alumni enjoyed a networking reception in UCL‟s recently renovated Print Room Café. While current students sought valuable advice from former students, the alumni were able to exchange memories of their time at UCL. As one would expect, there was a very detailed, reliable and impartial analysis of the current fiscal state of the UK from the IFS. Whether or not the Conservative-led coalition is cutting “too far, too fast”, remains open to debate. One thing that the IFS made clear, however, is that doing nothing is not an option.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
THE GLOBAL NETWORK
Michael Ridley Environmental Economics PhD, 1997 Director, Credit Research, Mizuho International I completed my PhD in Environmental Economics at UCL Economics in 1997. My PhD was supported by a three year scholarship I had won from the UK‟s ESRC. My supervisor was Professor David Pearce. Part of my PhD was published as a book by Kluwer Academic Publishers. On completing my PhD, I worked for two years as a credit analyst at the Japanese Bank Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank in London. I then moved to Salmon Brothers/Citigroup, and worked for nine years as a sell side bond analyst, covering European utilities and energy companies. I did a large amount of work on Russian energy companies, as well as on Drax and British Energy. In 2009/2010 I worked at the UK‟s Carbon Trust as a consultant. I produced a report on airlines joining Europe‟ EU Emission Trading Scheme on 1 January 2012. I spoke on the carbon markets in that year Mexico City, Edinburgh and in Copenhagen. I am now working as the sell side credit analyst at Mizuho International in London, working as Director, covering the metals and mining space and energy and utilities. I travel and present to fixed income clients throughout Europe on these sectors, plus some high yield and emerging market credits.
Maria Rita Ebano MSc in Economic Policy, 1998
During my year of study at the Department of Economics I learnt, among other things, of the effectiveness of evidence-based methods. I was both diffident and enthusiast at the same time. Above all I asked myself how and when I would use these methods in my working life. Last year I encountered the need for these tools thanks to an experimental application of a European Commission methodology. The “Market Monitoring” methodology is an evidence-based device that allows for improved identification and prioritisation of inefficient markets. These are markets where adjustments can deliver gains in terms of growth and jobs. This allows actions to be precisely targeted in areas where the biggest impact is likely to occur and where markets do not currently deliver. In 2009 Italy acted as pioneer in applying this methodology. I was active in testing the methodology for the Italian case for the Ministry of Economy where I work. In a time of crisis the greatest challenge for Italy as well as for other countries is to come up with immediate policy responses. However, we require doing this without placing a priority on short-term needs that could dampen the momentum of the reform processes. This methodology, based on evidence-based criteria helped Italy in identifying problematic markets. Its usefulness is confirmed by comparing the results of this exercise for Italy with those of other countries in the EU. We find that half of the problematic sectors for Italy match with the top priority sectors found at EU level.
I am married and my wife and I have two children. We live in Hampstead. My research interests lie in utilities, energy and natural resources as well as how to fund clean tech and green infrastructure. I am still in touch with Sam Fankhauser, who completed his PhD a year before me a UCL, also in environmental economics. I would be delighted to hear from existing and former colleagues at UCL Economics department and existing students. My home e-mail address is email@example.com
OVER TO YOU
We are now accepting news, comments, and 300 word articles for publication in the autumn edition of the newsletter. Please send your contributions to Daniel Rogger at: firstname.lastname@example.org Compiled by: Daniel Rogger (BSc Economics, 2004)