The University of Strathclyde’s Department of Economics – home of the Fraser of Allander Institute – is launching a new class in the ‘Economics of Inequality and Inclusive Growth’ as part of its Applied Economics postgraduate degree.
The course will run in the academic year 2019-20.
Tackling inequality has long-been a key focus of policymakers. But in recent years the idea that inequality, whether in income, wealth or simply lack of economic opportunity, can itself be a barrier to long-term sustainable growth has gained traction.
‘Inclusive growth’ is all about building the conditions for economic growth that is distributed fairly across society.
It is one of the Scottish Government’s four I’s – alongside innovation, internationalisation and investment – in its Economic Strategy.
Internationally, ‘Reducing inequalities’ is one of the United Nations “Sustainable Development Goals”, showing that policymakers at local, national and international levels are focusing on the policies to improve economic outcomes across the income distribution.
Professor Graeme Roy Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute and Head of Economics at the University of Strathclyde said, “Historically, tackling inequality and growing the economy have been viewed as two separate policy objectives. But now, there is much greater recognition that the negative outcomes associated with high levels of inequality can themselves act as a brake on a country’s long-term growth prospects.
“But one of the challenges with the inclusive growth agenda is that it can often lack a solid economic foundation, with data limitations and weak policy evaluation a common complaint. This class aims to address this gap with a clear focus on the practical application of inclusive growth ideas that are theoretically sound and evidence-driven.”
Alongside learning from academics both in the Department of Economics and the Fraser of Allander Institute, students will hear first-hand about the challenges and opportunities when tackling inequalities and delivering an inclusive growth agenda from Sir Harry Burns – Professor of Global Public Health and former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland – and Emma Congreve – Senior Economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The class is split into a number of components.
Firstly, students will gain an understanding of why inequalities emerge and their trends over time. Areas covered include issues around income inequality, regional economic performance, gender pay differences, wider issues of discrimination, and general barriers to economic opportunity.
Peer-to-peer learning is a key aspect of the Strathclyde approach with students given the opportunity to work on group projects around ‘hot topics’. Examples include the impact of technological change on labour market inequalities or the introduction of a universal basic income.
Secondly, students will learn about the key policy levers that governments – at both a national and local level – have at their disposal to deliver inclusive growth. Students will study the impact of using different policy levers – such as tax and welfare reforms – and also the importance of wider structural reforms in areas such as the labour market, education, health and the wider prevention agenda.
Finally, students will be given an ‘inclusive growth toolkit’ and learn about how to evaluate inclusive growth policies at a local and national level. This will include learning about the latest data analysis and modelling techniques. Students will have the opportunity to apply these to real-world case studies.
The ‘Economics of Inequality and Inclusive Growth’ class is available as a stand-alone module with students able to enrol for this course only.
It is also possible to take this course as part of a formal qualification, including for MSc and PG Cert study (all at full or part-time study).
To find out more about the Applied Economics course at the University of Strathclyde, including student testimonials and to begin your application, please go to https://www.strath.ac.uk/