Wednesday, 9 October 2019


ESRI Seminar Series 2019/20 - The Crisis in the Education/Economy Relationship: What is to be Done?

Brooks Building Room 3.89

Hugh Lauder, Professor of Education and Political economy at University of Bath

This seminar will examine the theories that have guided government policy with respect to Higher Education: these are Human Capital (HCT) and Skill Bias technical Change Theories (SBTC). The theories are flawed and do not provide an accurate account of the education-economy relationship. The seminar will discuss the theoretical, methodological and empirical problems and suggest that while, there has been some progress with SBTC, it cannot address the failure of demand for educated workers.

The focus of governments has been on the supply side and many commentators as well as policy makers continue to assume that this is the case. The demand side, where the problems lie is rarely considered. It will be noted that this is a problem in many countries. In turn this suggests that the neo-liberal view that education should be seen as in the service of the economy offers a false prospectus, as it herds more students into a positional competition where few can ‘win’. Education should be seen as offering important advantages beyond getting a good job.

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Hugh Lauder is Professor of Education and Political Economy at the University of Bath (1996-to present) and formerly Director, The Institute for Policy Research. He has studied at The University of London, (The Institute of Education), and gained his Doctorate at the University of Canterbury (NZ). He was formerly Dean of Education at Victoria University of Wellington.

Hugh specialises in the relationship of education to the economy and has for over 15 years worked on national skill strategies and more recently on the global skill strategies of multinational companies and their implications for graduate recruitment.

His current work is on the alternatives to human capital theory and his recent publications include: Lauder, H, Brown, P, and Cheung, S-Y, (2018) The Fractured Relationship between Education and the Economy, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 34 (2); and Brown, P, Lauder, H and Chung S.Y (2019) The Death of Human Capital? NY, Oxford University Press.

Event contact Sam Sellar ·