The Economics Network

Improving economics teaching and learning for over 20 years

Educating Economists for Government (DEE 2007)

Presenter: Andy Ross (Government Economic Service and HM Treasury)
NB the opinions presented here are the personal views of Andy Ross and not necessarily official positions of the GES.

Due to tape damage, the first half of the presentation was lost. This 15-minute video is also downloadable in high-resolution Windows Media format (114 MB).

Link: A post on our blog transcribes Andy's list of what government economists actually do.
Link: Powerpoint Presentation


An overview of the Government Economic Service (GES) and the rise of economics and economists in government is given. Emphasising the astonishing range of applications of economics, it is argued that the recent modest changes in A-level syllabuses do too little to sell the subject. There needs to be less on 'the economy', more on the power of economics and still more on 'thinking like an economist'.

Turning to HE, the QAA Economics Benchmark Statement is appropriate for applicants to the GES, but in practice there are gaps in the competencies of the majority of applicants, even many seemingly highly qualified. Celebrating the excellent quality of economists who do pass the GES recruitment process, the nature of this gap is explored. It is argued that narrower syllabuses focusing on deeper understanding would improve matters at both FE and HE level and perhaps the threshold concepts approach may be key to this.