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Government Economic Service and Applying for Fast Stream

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Presentation by Alex Shirvani, Assistant Economist, BIS, October 2013

Presentation by Alex Shirvani, Assistant Economist, BIS, October 2013

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  • There’s a lot of information online, won’t duplicate it here
  • Estimating costs inc. opportunity costs Mention discounting Additionality v crowding out, govt spending could crowd out private sector spending so inefficient unless additionality to supply side of economy Leakage – benefits going to those outside the group which the intervention is intended to benefit
  • Estimating costs inc. opportunity costs Mention discounting Additionality v crowding out, govt spending could crowd out private sector spending so inefficient unless additionality to supply side of economy Leakage – benefits going to those outside the group which the intervention is intended to benefit

Transcript

  • 1. GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES UNCLASSIFIED
  • 2. GES presentation Alex Shirvani Assistant Economist, BIS • Economics in Government • What government economists do • The GES as a career • How to get in GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 3. Economics of Government Intervention The First Rule of Welfare economics: A perfectly functioning market will lead to a Pareto efficient outcome: The most efficient factor mix is used in production The right things are produced given existing factors Things are consumed by people that value them most GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 4. Economics of Government Intervention Making the UK economy more efficient means: We produce more given the resources and factors we have We use the factors better (people have jobs suited to their skills) We produce things where we have a comparative advantage We have more things to export abroad The UK is better off GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 5. Efficiency interventions GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 6. Market failures If there’s a market failure, government may be able to correct it GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES Imperfect competition Energy markets, transport Externalities Negative: pollution Positive: research spillovers, social benefits from education Asymmetric information Healthcare, credit markets, some consumer markets, moral hazard problems in banking Public goods National defence, street lighting, criminal justice system
  • 7. Tackling market failures GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES Information, education and advice Publishing league tables, crime stats Public education campaigns: ‘talk to Frank’ Labelling Advisory services Reporting/disclosure requirements Direct provision Providing policing, armed forces, bird flu vaccine Commissioning private sector to carry out contracts (eg private prisons)
  • 8. Tackling market failures GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES Economic instruments Taxes, charges Subsidies, grants, tax credits Tradable permits Government loan guarantees Regulation and legislation Rail fare, utility price regulation Compulsory motor insurance Trading standards, health & safety Banning tobacco advertising For more on this google “Understanding Policy Options” for a fantastic pdf document.
  • 9. Equity interventions Equity A Pareto efficient outcome might not be particularly ‘equitable’ It is Pareto efficient if one person has everything! Government may also intervene for reasons of ‘equity’ (ie redistribution of wealth) to tackle social deprivation - Providing free prescriptions - Extra money for schools in deprived areas - Fee incentives to encourage access to HE from poorer students GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 10. Long run growth interventions Static growth comes from Pareto improvements (making markets function better) Dynamic growth comes from the factors in the Solow model: GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES Physical capital accumulation Infrastructure: transport, airports, buildings, incentivising private investment in capital & providing effective markets for credit Technological progress Research & development, patents, science/technology, innovation, start-ups Human capital accumulation Schools, colleges, universities, vocational training
  • 11. Appraisal and evaluation Before a policy is brought in, government economists carry out an appraisal of the options: What are the likely impacts? Who is going to benefit / who is going to lose? Is it worth doing this intervention? What is the best way of doing it? After it is brought in, economists do an evaluation of the policy: Is it working? Do we need to modify it? GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 12. Appraisal and evaluation The economist is looking for the net present value of all the benefits minus all the costs Cost-Benefit analysis: Costs: Exchequer cost – what it costs the taxpayer Economic cost – the opportunity cost to society of resources being diverted from other uses Benefits: Additionality – the true economic benefit when you’ve taken off: Deadweight – activity that would have happened anyway but govt has now paid for it! Displacement – activity that has just taken away someone else’s market share Leakages – benefits that go to someone you didn’t intend them to! GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 13. Appraisal and evaluation Cost-Effectiveness analysis: Set a target goal: (eg ‘provide 500 jobs’ or ‘create housing for 1000 people’) Find out what is the cheapest option of delivering that goal, regardless of other benefits Often used in healthcare with QALYS (Quality Adjusted Life Years) Google “HM Treasury Green Book” for more information on this GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 14. Other things we do Writing evidence papers - ‘what is the evidence base on…?’ Managing surveys or statistical releases - eg English Business Survey, UK Trade Figures Commissioning research papers - putting research out to tender and project managing it Economic support for Ministers - written and oral Parliamentary Questions - briefings and submissions GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 15. Career path Assistant Economist (£26k-32k) - Rotate jobs every year in your department - After 2 years can move department - After 2 years may be opportunities for funded MSc Economic Adviser (Grade 7; £45k +) - No longer rotate jobs - Significant responsibility, lots of economics Grade 6 - Still an economist but more ‘strategic’ role Senior Civil Service GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 16. Application timetable Apply for the Economist stream of the Analytical Fast Streams GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES Registration Monday 30 September 2013 Online practice tests (7 days after registration) Online selection tests (7 days after practice tests) Online application form (7 days after online tests) Economic Assessment Centre October / November 2013 Fast Stream Assessment Centre December 2013 Or apply Round 2 (opens Monday 17th February 2014)
  • 17. Economic Assessment Centre Go to the EAC Open Day! GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES Technical report Pre released topic: write for economists Plain English report Same topic: write for non- economists Short Answer Questions 10 SAQs Interview 10 min presentation on report, 10 min follow up questions, 20 min on SAQs, 20 min on strongest topic Non economics exercise Lots of reading: summarise a policy response (counts to FSAC not EAC)
  • 18. Fast Stream Assessment Centre Full day of exercises to test a series of competences This is being changed this year so check the website and await the FSAC guide (pdf) for more details The competences (from Civil Service Competency Framework) are already up on the website so start looking to get an idea Previous exercises: interview, group exercise, written policy recommendation, oral briefing exercise GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES
  • 19. Find out more Look on the GES website: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/networks/ges Check out the HM Treasury Green Book: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/220541/green_b Read Understanding Policy Options: http://tna.europarchive.org/20071206133532/homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/rdsolr0606 .pdf Look on the Economy part of the ONS website: http://www.ons.gov.uk They produce good stuff on Twitter and Facebook so worth ‘liking’ Also check out The Economics of the Welfare State (Nicholas Barr) alex.shirvani@bis.gsi.gov.uk GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC SERVICE Making economists better Making better use of economics GES