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Guest lecture

The Economist as Outsider

Event series: 


This lecture will discusses a growing sense among economists and others of the shortcomings in traditional approaches to economics, and economics teaching, that leaves the profession struggling to relate to or understand real-world issues, particularly post-crisis.

Diane argues that over-simplification of models, and a tendency to favour rigour over reality, leads economists to take a reductive approach, producing inaccurate results and a failure of understanding, concluding that the profession needs to rely less on models alone, and supplement analysis with other approaches. For policy economists in particular, that means ceasing to analyse policy from the perspective of being 'outside' the model, and recognising the complexity of implementation.


Diane Coyle runs the consultancy Enlightenment Economics. She is Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust and was a member of the Migration Advisory Committee from 2007-2012, and a member of the Competition Commission from 2001-2009. She is also a visiting research associate at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.

She specialises in competition analysis, and the economics of new technologies and globalisation, including extensive work on the impacts of mobile telephony in developing countries. Diane is also a member of the stakeholder advisory panel of EDF Energy

She is the author of several books, including GDP: A Brief and Affectionate History (Princeton University Press, 2014 forthcoming), The Economics of Enough (Princeton University Press 2011) and The Soulful Science (2007), Sex, Drugs and Economics (2002), Paradoxes of Prosperity (2001), Governing the World Economy (2000) and The Weightless World (1997). She has also published numerous book chapters, reports and articles, and was formerly a regular presenter on BBC Radio 4's Analysis.

She was previously Economics Editor of The Independent and before that worked at the Treasury and in the private sector as an economist. She has a PhD from Harvard.

Diane was awarded the OBE in January 2009.

Note: Papers, presentation slides and any other material provided by the Guest Lecturer will be made available some time after the lecture at Publications > Media & Speeches > Guest Lectures by Visiting Academics.

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Last updated: 
Monday, 7 July 2014