ESCoE Conference on Economic Measurement 2024 – Rebecca Riley reflects


ESCoE Conference on Economic Measurement 2024 – Rebecca Riley reflects

Following ESCoE’s May 2024 conference at Alliance Manchester Business School, ESCoE Director Rebecca Riley reflects on the event and what’s next for economic measurement.

Our first keynote speaker Chad Syverson remarked that there is plenty of work left to do on economic measurement. Despite work started by ESCoE and our partners, I think we would all agree with this statement. He also said that events like the ESCoE Conference help us shape our plans and bring enjoyment to the work we’re doing. The conference was an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich material presented and discussed. I am sure this will stimulate thinking and research and collaboration plans going forwards.

We heard three excellent keynote talks from Catherine L Mann (Bank of England), Rohini Pande (Yale University) and Chad Syverson (University of Chicago). These illustrated the importance of measurement in understanding the key issues we face as an economy and society and in formulating policy solutions. You can catch up on their talks and view their conference slides.


ESCoE conferences have always had productivity as a key focus, reflecting the importance of the “productivity puzzle” in the UK economy’s recent history. Indeed, it was fantastic to run the conference at Alliance Manchester Business School this year – home of The Productivity Institute (TPI), an important ESCoE partner. Chad’s keynote focused on recent productivity trends and their insights for future productivity growth. The topic also featured in many of the contributed and special sessions, including sessions on public sector productivity – a topic ESCoE also explored in our recent Measurement Series event.

Economy and the environment

Along with an ongoing focus on productivity, I’m glad that this conference has included more measurement research exploring the links between the environment and the economy. There were several posters on this topic at Thursday’s poster session. It was also a focus of Rohini’s keynote and featured in several of the contributed sessions. I hope that these papers will encourage more work on this important topic and that it continues to feature at future conferences.

Communicating economic statistics

Another important topic was communicating economic statistics. We were lucky to have a panel session on this topic on the first day of the conference. We heard how uncertainty can be a particularly challenging concept to communicate, but how failing to do so or communicating poorly can cause confusion and a lack of trust. It was interesting to have a media perspective from Chris Giles (Financial Times and ESCoE Advisory Board member), who illustrated how revisions in economic statistics can have a dramatic effect on the narrative around the UK’s economic state. This in turn influences policy decisions. Read ESCoE research on this topic and look out for an upcoming blog on this topic from ESCoE Research Associate Johnny Runge.

Catch up online

If you couldn’t join us in Manchester or missed any of the talks, slides and recordings of selected sessions are now available on our website.

We will also publish other conference blogs over the next few weeks.

Thank you

Thank you to The Productivity Institute and Alliance Manchester Business School for hosting this year’s conference and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for both financial and logistical support in running the event.

I would also like to thank the Scientific Committee Chairs: Kevin fox (University of New South Wales); Mary O’Mahony (King’s Business School) and Osama Rahman (ONS Data Science Campus) for putting together such an exciting programme.

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who contributed their work and engaged in discussions. And to the ESCoE team for organising the conference and ensuring it ran so smoothly.

What’s next?

The next ESCoE conference will take place in Spring 2025 at King’s College London – ESCoE’s host institution.

Before then, you may want to attend the General Conference of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth (IARIW) at King’s Business School on 26 to 30 August this year. Find out more and register.

The ESCoE Conference on Economic Measurement is held annually. It focuses on recent research advances in economic measurement and statistics.

Rebecca Riley is Director of the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE) and Professor of Practice in Economics at King’s Business School, King’s College London.

About the authors