U6 Economics Students attend the Institute of Economics Affairs Student Conference

Wednesday 10th October 2018

On Thursday 4 October 2018, 19 U6 Economics students had the opportunity to attend the Institute of Economics Affairs Student Conference, which was hosted by Reading Blue Coat School.


They listened to four key speakers who covered the following topics:

  1. Can we solve the UK’s productivity puzzle?
  2. The Economics of Brexit: migration, regulation and free trade
  3. Should we worry about inequality?
  4. Careers in Economics


The girls found the talks very stimulating, as they were able to see the real-world applications of many topics they have studied. The speakers used numerous diagrams and data to support their arguments.


These are a few quotes from some of our U6 economists about what struck them the most from the day:


“The first speaker, Dr Steve Davies, talked about the UK’s productivity puzzle. He suggested that after the financial crisis, GDP fell dramatically by 5.8%, but this was followed by a small rise in unemployment. This was due to ‘labour hoarding’ which is a situation where an establishment is paying for more worker-hours than is necessary to produce current levels of output. We were also encouraged to have a discussion amongst ourselves about how we might address the UK productivity issue, and we came up with possible solutions, such as forcing unskilled labour to re-train in order to improve their productivity, and an increase in investment in vocational education to equip the population with more technical skills e.g. bricklayers, plumbers and electricians.” – Phraewa T (U6)


“The second speaker, Catherine McBride, who pointed out that even though we are on the way to Brexit, the UK still imports many goods and services from non-EU countries. She advocated that Brexit would be beneficial to the UK as it would encourage more investment from abroad.  She also talked about how tariffs are mostly imposed to protect domestic producers, and that they significantly harm consumers who suffer from a loss in consumer surplus due to the increased prices of imports.” – Xiangyi X & Eleanor S (U6)


“Dr Steve Davies talked about careers in Economics and how university degrees don’t necessarily mean that you will have to work in that particular field, with a few exceptions of occupations like medicine and architecture. He advised us to make the most of all the resources available to us, such as the library at university. A degree in Economics could open many doors in the financial services sector, management, enterprise, policy making or working for NGOs. For careers in accounting, I found it surprising that he suggested that students should start work immediately and learn ‘on the job’ or complete an internship, rather than studying for an accounting degree!” – Yasmin B (U6)


Overall, the feedback from the trip was positive, and it inspired many of the girls as they are currently writing their personal statements for their UCAS applications.