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I’m sure you’ve been holding on to your book and e-book vouchers awaiting my next cities reading list – well the wait is over. Below is my latest offering. As well highlighting examples of the written word that I’ve enjoyed reading, once in a while I’ll suggest a particular podcast (or two) that I’ve enjoyed listening to.
This week’s five offerings cover a mix of issues – education, skills, housing and benefits – and have relevance and implications for cities and their success in the longer term as well being timely for the current policy debates taking place in Westminster and the media.
‘Skills for Prosperity? A review of OECD and Partner Country Skill Strategies’by Mike Campbell: Great overview of the skills strategies being pursued by the OECD and partner countries. The paper concludes that to be successful, strategies need to address all three ‘big picture’ issues – skills supply, skill matching, and skill demand and use – at the same time, and that national policies need to be flexible to respond to the different skills issues that different places face.
‘Delivering growth whilst reducing deficits: Lessons from the 1930s’ by Professor Nicholas Craft: Thought-provoking report setting out what today’s policy-makers could learn from their 1930s counter-parts. The reports argues that by announcing that prices would rise and interest rates would remain low, which gave consumers and firms confidence to borrow and spend, the government indirectly provided an enormous boost to the private house-building industry which resulted in the private sector building more than 290,000 homes in one year between 1934 and 1935.
‘Education, Education, Education: Reforming England’s Schools’ by Andrew Adonis: Very engaging book which highlights the trials, tribulations and successes that Adonis went through trying to introduce Academies and other school-based reforms during his time as Schools Minister in the Blair Government. He also sets out a broader plan for education reform which includes greater school variation, better teachers, raising standards, stronger governance & more robust and rounded curriculums.
‘Human Capital in Cities and Suburbs’ by Kevin Stolarick, Charlotta Mellander & Richard Florida: Good study which finds that the distribution of human capital within metros – between cities and their surrounding suburbs – matters significantly to regional economic performance. Central city human capital has a relatively larger effect on the economic performance of regions with over one million people whilst suburban human capital has the biggest effect on regional economic performance in smaller and medium size metros.
‘Redistribution, Unemployment and the Labour Market’ – EconTalk podcast with Casey Mulligan: Interesting discussion focusing on the extent to which policy changes that increased the benefits available to unemployed workers explain the depth of the recent recession in the US and the slowness of the recovery of the labour market. Mulligan argues that macro-economic explanations ignore the micro-economic incentives facing workers and employers.
Honorary Mention. It isn’t a book about cities, but if you haven’t read‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman – You Should!
I hope you enjoy them and as always I’m keen to get suggestions of writing I should be reading and podcasts I should be listening to.
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