Ask the Expert Series: Skills, education, and the UK’s productivity puzzle: the relevance of place

Our Ask The Expert series, in association with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), brings academic research on public policy into the heart of Westminster. In this Ask the Expert seminar, we were joined by Dr Maria Abreu, a regional economist and a University Lecturer at the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge.

The UK’s productivity gap with other OECD countries has worsened significantly since the financial crisis, with productivity growth that is either very low, or negative, relative to other countries. The overall productivity picture also obscures very significant regional differences, with London and the South-East performing relatively well, while other regions increasingly fall behind.

In this talk, Dr Maria Abreu presented an overview of the regional and spatial dimensions of the UK’s productivity puzzle, with a focus on skills and education. While the contribution of skills to productivity has been positive in both the pre- and post-crisis periods, there are significant regional deficiencies at all levels of skills acquisition. The talk covered regional skills mismatch and regional variations in the demand for skills. It will also introduce the work of the ESRC’s new Network+ initiative on productivity.

The SMF’s Director, James Kirkup, chaired the discussion.

You can watch a video of the talk here

About the speaker:
Dr Maria Abreu is a regional economist, working on topics relating to local labour markets, productivity, entrepreneurship, and migration. She is University Lecturer at the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Pembroke College, as well as a Co-Investigator of the ESRC’s Productivity Network+, leading on the theme of skills.
@mariaaabreu    @productivityNW

The discussion will include a Q&A session and will be broadcast live via Periscope on the SMF’s Twitter feed.

Follow the series on Twitter via @SMFthinktank and @ESRC, #SMFask