Read about the School of Public Policy's impact on society.

The LSE School of Public Policy is committed to the promotion of democratic values and the use of reasoned judgement in the pursuit of public service.

Professor Andrés Velasco, Dean of LSE School of Public Policy



September 2022

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Symbolic Refugee Protection: Explaining Latin America’s Liberal Refugee Laws

Dr. Omar Hammoud-Gallego has published a research article in the American Political Science Review, titled "Symbolic Refugee Protection: Explaining Latin America’s Liberal Refugee Laws".

The abstract reads: "What drove an entire region in the Global South to significantly expand refugee protection in the early twenty-first century? In this paper, we test and build on political refugee theory via a mixed-methods approach to explain the liberalization of refugee legislation across Latin America."

You can read the article in full here.



Chile’s rejection of populism is an example for the world

Professor Andrés Velasco has been quoted in an article from the Financial Times, discussing Chile's recent constitutional referendum.

He says: "There will be a new constitution. The representation of women and ethnic minorities is now ensconced in politics, access to abortion will be broadened and gay marriage will remain legal. On values and inclusivity, Chile has moved forward and this will not change."

You can read the article in full here.


August 2022


Woke Politics Goes South

In his latest opinion piece for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco argues that the shortcomings of "wokeism" become even more jarring and dangerous when transposed to Latin America. 

He writes, "Authoritarian populists are smiling. The international media are fixated on Latin America’s “pink tide” of recently elected left-leaning governments, but perhaps they should instead start preparing for a right-wing wave of Bolsonaro and Bukele clones."

You can read the article in full here.


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Book review: Latin America and Refugee Protection: Regimes, Logics and Challenges

Dr. Omar Hammoud Gallego has published a review of the book Latin America and Refugee Protection, for the journal International Migration.

He writes: "The volume provides a much-needed comprehensive overview of scattered pieces of research on refugee policy in Latin America." 

Read it in full here.



On GPS: Rewriting a constitution

 Professor Andrés Velasco has been featured in an interview from CNN, discussing Chile's bid to remake its constitution.

Watch the video on the CNN website here.


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The Economic Complexity of Namibia

Dr. Miguel Santos has been interviewed by, discussing the economic complexity of Namibia, showcasing the work of the Growth Lab.

"Namibia has been grappling with three interrelated challenges: economic growth, fiscal sustainability, and inclusion. Accelerating technological progress and enhancing Namibia's knowhow agglomeration is crucial to the process of fostering new engines of growth that will deliver progress across the three targets."

Watch the video here.



Corruption in Ghana: People's Experiences & Views

Dr. Omar Hammoud Gallego has contributed several chapters to a new UN report, undertaking an empirical analysis of corruption in Ghana.

The report's introduction reads: "The main objective was to collect evidence-based information on forms of corruption affecting the population of Ghana in order to determine the prevalence of corruption and its prevailing typologies. The results of the survey will provide benchmark indicators that can be used to inform relevant policies and track future progress while ensuring international comparability with surveys of a similar nature carried out in other countries."

Find the full report here.



July 2022

Alexander Evans

Professor Alexander Evans joins the School of Public Policy

We are delighted to announce that Professor Alexander Evans has joimed the School of Public Policy, as Professor in Practice from August 2022.

Professor Evans will teach two brand-new graduate courses in the School of Public Policy: Anticipatory Policy-Making and Technology, Data Science and Policy. Learn more about his appointment here.



Argentina's Never-Ending Tragic Farce

In this opinion piece for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco argues that Argentina's latest bout of financial turmoil is following a familiar historical pattern. 

He writes, "Argentine voters are no strangers to financial turmoil, but they keep electing politicians who run large fiscal deficits and finance them by printing pesos. Could it be that the only way for politicians to show they want to save the economy is to destroy it first?"

You can read the article in full here.


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The Leader podcast: How successful are union train strikes?

Listen to Professor Tony Travers taking part on the Evening Standard's The Leader podcast, discussing the effectiveness and impact of pickets.

"To discuss why unions use strikes as a strategy, we’re joined by one of Britain’s leading transport experts, Tony Travers, professor at the School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

"We discuss the complexities of the negotiating process, Mayor Sadiq Khan’s fabled “zero days of strikes” pledge back in 2016, government proposals to crack down on industrial action and what the future holds for passengers fares."

Listen here.



'Tory leadership contenders aren't trying to pitch to the general British population', says professor

Professor Tony Travers has been interviewed over video on CNBC, discussing the Conservative party leadership election.

He said : "You have to remember who the electorate is in this election. It's a tiny, tiny portion of the UK population; that is, it's Conservative party members and their views are clearly very different to the average views of the British electorate."

Watch the interview here.



‘The kind of place planners have dreamed of’: the London Olympics site 10 years on

Professor Tony Travers has been featured in The Guardian, discussing the impact of the London Olympics 2012 on the city and the development of its site in the last decade.

He said: "Without London 2012, it would’ve taken until 2050 to 2060 before the area became fully regenerated."

Read the full article here.



The genesis of bitcoin: how the crypto market started

Dr. Frank Muci has been featured in The Saturday Paper, discussing bitcoin.

The article reads: "The catastrophe also provoked unmistakable schadenfreude. The Atlantic led its coverage with an essay entitled “The Crypto Crash Feels Amazing”. Frank Muci, a policy fellow at the London School of Economics, told WIRED magazine that the collapse was “a run on nothing”."

Read it here.



London could introduce a tourist tax to fund TFL and earn 'hundreds of millions of pounds'

Professor Tony Travers has been quoted in an article from the Express, discussing the idea of a 'tourist tax' being implemented in London.

The article reads: "Professor Tony Travers of the London School of Economics told the London Assembly that a tourist tax could earn the city hundreds of millions of pounds a year. He suggested that any money earned could be used to fund TFL and to help the city operate the extensive network."

Read the full piece here.



MPA graduate awarded prestigious Diana Award 2022

We are delighted that Hasti Modi, a graduate of our MPA programme, was awarded the prestigious Diana Award 2022. Congratulations!

Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts. Hasti was recognised for her environmental initiatives in India, France and the United Kingdom.

Read more on the Diana Award website.



A poor country made bitcoin a national currency. The bet isn’t paying off

Dr. Frank Muci has been quoted in an article about the impact of president Nayib Bukele's decision to make bitcon the national currency of El Salvador.

The article reads: "““Bukele has shown that he cares more about public image than sound economic management,” said Frank Muci, a public policy expert at the London School of Economics who has studied El Salvador’s bitcoin bond. “But eventually the chickens will come home to roost, at a very high cost for the country.”"

Read the article on the New York Times here.


June 2022

Fact-Checking the Deglobalization Narrative

In this commentary for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco questions the narrative of deglobalization, widely accepted by both progressives and conservatives. 

He writes, "If governments get it right, a more subdued, but also more sustainable and longer-lasting kind of globalization will emerge. And in an open and growing world economy, peddlers of deglobalization theories will find it easier to change jobs and re-skill."

You can read the article in full here.



Older population in England and Wales hits record high

Professor Tony Travers has been featured in a piece by the Financial Times, discussing the aging population in England and Wales, and in particular looking at the population of London.

"“It’s clear that the country is getting older and will continue to get older, but London is holding out against the trend,” said Tony Travers, a professor in the government department of the London School of Economics. He added that this was because people moving to the capital from the rest of the UK and the world meant London remained a relatively younger city."

Read the full article here.



Russia, Ukraine and the Future of Economics

Professor in Practice the Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable gave a speech at the Institute of Arts and Ideas, discussing economics post-Ukraine invasion, and how these events of the past few months have changed the economic future of the world completely.

Watch his speech on the IAI website here.



Strike-ageddon — the Tube, the unions and the biggest rail walk-out in 30 years

Professor Tony Travers has been quoted in an article from the Evening Standard, discussing the rail strikes currently taking place in the U.K.

He said: "For a long time, the strike threat and militancy have worked, because the unions knew that the government would not cut back on services. Now there is a genuine threat that they might."

Read the full article here.



Boris Survives No Confidence

Senior Lecturer in Practice Nick Rowley has been interviewed by ABC News about the no confidence motion brought against Boris Johnson.

"Nick Rowley, a senior lecturer at the London School of Economics, says while the UK Prime Minister has no major political rivals, his name recognition may be hurting him."

Watch the interview here.



The Ukraine Reconstruction Forum 

The SPP and Growth Co-Lab at LSE have jointly held the Ukraine Reconstruction Forum in May, attended by 50 government, private sector, financial and academic representatives. 

Learn more about the Forum and its goals on our dedicated webpage.


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Rebranding the West

In this commentary for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco plays the part of a consultant recommending that a longstanding geopolitical term be quickly retired.

He write, "As democracies from India to South Africa balk at being asked to join the coalition confronting Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, it has become clear that the idea of a Western bloc is failing to attract many otherwise like-minded countries. It is therefore time to abandon the concept of “the West.”"

You can read the article in full here.



May 2022


The Beverage Report Podcast: An interview with Professor Andrés Velasco 

In this Beverage Report episode, the hosts speak with Professor Andrés Velasco, Dean of the School of Public Policy at LSE.

He talks about his role as the Minister of Finance in Chile. He also explains the need for unconventional fiscal policies in the post-pandemic world, and why it is essential for policymakers to understand the feedback loops between medical and economic factors.

Listen to the episode here.

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Drug Policy and Development: Policy Brief

Following a discussion panel held last year with the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which reflected on the impact of current drug control policies, Professors Andrés Velasco and Vanessa Rubio-Márquez have published a Policy Brief based on what was covered.

Read the full brief here.


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Years Late, London's 'Game-Changer' Subway Line Set to Open

In an article to mark the opening of the new Elizabeth Line, Professor Tony Travers has been quoted discussing the impact the project's delay has had.

He said: "But it was built — after a lot of effort and over a very long period of time — for a different economy. Its entire economic case was very heavily predicated on the continued growth of the economy of central London."

Read the full article here.


Labour takes key London councils but makes modest gains elsewhere

Professor Tony Travers was featured in an article from MSN News, discussing the impact of the recent local elections.

He said: "The Conservatives have to balance how many MPs they are willing to lose in London, the South East and the South West, in order to protect the “Red Wall” seats won in 2019."

Read the full article here.


SPP students awarded runners-up prize at the Turner MIINT Competition 

Team EmpowHER beat over 40 competitors from schools around the world and be named as overall runners-up and audience choice winners in the Turner MBA Impact Investing Network and Training (MIINT) competition. 

Read more



As scandals overshadow vote, UK PM Johnson faces election test

Professor Tony Travers was interviewed by Yahoo! News, discussing the potential results of forthcoming local elections in the UK.

He said: "These elections are without doubt the biggest test of Boris Johnson since the 2019 general election and come after what has been a very difficult time for him and his government."

Read the full article here.


April 2022


SPP students launch the 10th edition of the Public Sphere Journal of Public Policy (PSJ)

The Public Sphere Journal is is a journal of international policy studies produced by SPP students. The launch of the10th edition, centering on the theme of “social impact”, was celebrated with a special launch event featuring a panel discussion hosted by SPP Dean Andrés Velasco.  

Find out more here.


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How to Get by Without Russian gas

In this commentary for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco and Dr Marcelo Tokman draw lessons from Chile's successful experience managing an energy supply shock in mid-2007.

They write, "In 2007, Chile was as dependent on imported natural gas from Argentina as Germany is today on natural gas from Russia. But in the face of a sudden supply shock, the Chilean government was able to mitigate the economic damage and lay the foundation for the country’s shift to renewables."

You can read the article in full here.



Labour daren’t say it, but some Tory strongholds could be within reach

Professor Tony Travers has been featured in an article from The Guardian, discussing whether Labour might see successes in historic Tory strongholds.

"Look at this political dividing line. Neighbouring Camden and Westminster have near-identical social and economic profiles, according to Tony Travers, ranging from super-rich Hampstead and Belgravia to abject poverty – yet with utterly different politics."

Read the full article here.


SPP student awarded Young Diplomat of the Year by Diplomat Magazine?

SPP EMPA student Rasha Haddad has been named Young Diplomat of the Year by Diplomat Magazine, at their IHG DIPLOMAT Of the Year Awards 2022. Congratulations!

Rasha is the first Secretary at the Embassy of Lebanon to the United Kingdom. Read more about the awards here.

Portrait photo of Professor Tony Travers

Will local elections put the brakes on low-traffic neighbourhood schemes?

Professor Tony Travers has been interviewed by The Guardian, discussing the impact of local elections and how local councils can connect with voters.

He said: "And people say, yes, of course we do want all this, but we don’t want it to affect our capacity to get about. It’s a perfectly respectable position to hold in a democracy. Politicians volunteer to square off these conflicts. That’s what they are there for."

Read the full article here.

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SPP students recognised with best presentation prize at the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN)

Congratulations to our School of Public Policy (SPP) student team who have been recognised with a best presentation prize at the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN) competition and as winners of the SPP Santander challenge 2022.

Hear more about their experience and their advice to future participants here.


Past News


March 2022

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Russia faces struggle to pay bondholders – rating firms 

Ousmène Mandeng has been quoted in an article for S&P Global, discussing the financial situation in Russia currently and discussing the effects of sanctions.

He said, "I find the fact that Russia was able to make the coupon payments utterly perplexing, to say the least, and severely undermining [to] the whole purpose of isolating Russia financially and impairing its ability to wage the war."

You can read the article in full here.


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Democracy is the Next Identity Politics

In this commentary for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco catalogues how Russia's war against Ukraine has spurred renewed global appreciation for liberal values.

He writes, "In recent years, many young people in rich democracies have been in a funk over the virtues of democracy and liberalism. But the widespread condemnation of Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine points to the emergence of a noble strand of identity politics based on the shared values of freedom, dignity, and respect for human rights."

You can read the article in full here.



SPP students take part in the Global Public Policy Network event 2022

Congratulations to all of our SPP students who took part in the annual GPPN conference this month.

The selected students were able to take advantage of being a part of the prestigious GPPN network of seven of the top global policy schools, to connect and network with over 100+ participants from around the globe. Twenty-five teams from across the network were given the opportunity to put their policy skills into action to actively identify and address an important policy challenge.

Read more here.

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As Europe opens it doors to fleeing Ukrainians, Britain adopts a ‘do-it-yourself’ asylum plan

Professor Tony Travers was quoted in the Washington Post, discussing the British asylum plan for Ukrainians fleeing war.

He said: "But they [the Government] are suddenly being faced with the public having a completely different view of asylum seeking in this situation, and they are having a very hard time adjusting because they’ve spent 20 years trying to keep immigrants out."

Read the article here.

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‘Spring of discontent’: wave of strikes looms for Covid-hit railways

Professor Tony Travers has been interviewed by The Guardian about possible strike action on the railways.

He said: "The government, in a curious way by guaranteeing the income, has re-empowered the unions. They can use their muscle in the normal way because the government and Khan still want to keep the tube and the national railway running."

Read the article here.


February 2022

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Russia’s FX reserves slip from its grasp

Ousmène Mandeng has been quoted in the Financial Times, discussing the current economic situation in Russia and central bank reserve management.

He said: "Foreign exchange reserves are not held by central banks. Securities and money never move, everything is external . . . In the case of securities, central banks would ask their brokers to sell the asset in question."

Read the article here.

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‘We’re going from one crisis to another’: Tories fear even PM’s ‘mayoral magic’ can’t save him

Professor Tony Travers was quoted in an article for iNews, juxtaposing the Prime Minister's current situation with his Mayoral term.

He said: "So the mismatch between the scale of the job and the particular approach of the Prime Minister, where he doesn’t have a person at his side who’s got a grip on it like he did in City Hall, is all the greater."

Read the article here.

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One English council’s painful journey into investing

Professor Tony Travers was quoted in an article from The Financial Times, regarding a council's decision to generate income with a portfolio of investments and loans.

He said: "Councils have been put under enormous pressure to find ways to increase their revenues. It is hard to tell from the outside but Warrington may have done relatively well."

Read the article here.


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As Boris Johnson seeks a reset, more Tory lawmakers defect

Professor Tony Travers was quoted in an article from The Indian Express about the Prime Minister's new 'levelling-up' initiative.

"It’s a completely consensus policy, across British politics," Professor Travers said. "The opposition doesn’t oppose it — they just want more of it. But deindustrialization as an issue has gotten caught up in politics and populism."

Read the article here.


Sunak’s energy rebates won’t even come close to helping people with soaring bills

An article in The Guardian discusses the expected increase in energy prices and bills, and the government's proposed support package

Professor Tony Travers was quoted in the article, warning "that as this is just a one-off, when council tax bills soar next year the blame is likely to fall on hard-pressed local authorities, not on Westminster. “Many councils will try to make more cuts to keep that rise down,” he tells me – but there is no more to cut."

Read the article here.

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Professor Vanessa Rubo-Márquez invited to Chatham House

We are excited to share that as of November 2021, Professor in Practice Vanessa Rubio-Márquez has been invited as an Associate Fellow for the US and Americas Programme at Chatham House.

Here she will be working on policy-analysis and policy dialogues in the Western Hemisphere - congratulations, Professor Rubio-Marquez!


January 2022

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The School of Public Policy launches the LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Hub

The LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Hub is a subcentre of the LSE-Fudan Research Centre for Global Public Policy. It supports collaborative research on global public policy, fosters multi-disciplinary cooperation and enhances communication between Fudan and LSE to generate research of global impact.

Dr Bingchun Meng, co-director of the LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Hub, said: "I am very excited about this new collaboration between LSE and Fudan University. I look forward to working with colleagues from both institutions to develop a vibrant research agenda and to build the Hub into a leading forum for academic debates on global public policy."

To mark its launch, an interdisciplinary panel of experts will be discussing key public policy challenges that China and the world faces post-pandemic. You can register for the event, taking place 21 February at 6.30pm here.

Check out our website to find out more.


Argentina's Imaginary Miracle

In this commentary for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco and Eduardo Levy Yeyati argue that the data do not support bullish assessments of the Fernández administration's economic record.

They write, "The oldest statistical trick in the book is to label as growth what is really just a rebound after a massive output dip. That is exactly what has happened in Argentina, where the rapid economic rebound in 2021 came as no surprise and does not look especially healthy or sustainable."

You can read the article in full here.


Populism and global unrest: How nations adjust

The emergence of polulism started even before the pandemic. In the context that Covid and its economic and social impacts have deepened social divides and distrust, polulist nationalist movements are challenging the values of globalisation and international institutions. 

The Deans of the world's top public policy schools will discuss populism and its impacts on international security relations and foreign policy when countries are reopening their borders and seeking to recover their economies. 

The event organised by the Global Public Policy Network will take place on 25 January 2022 and will see the participation of Professor Andrés Velasco.


Climate change's challenge to UK's ageing railways

The UK was a pioneer of the railways. However, climate change is causing damages to the country's ageing railways system, and the cost of those damages has risen significantly over the past decade. 

Professor Tony Travers says on Financial Times that to prepare the network for climate change would “cost a substantial amount of money,” and: “It is not at all clear that is available.

Read the full article here.




December 2021


The Political Center Does Have Meaning

Professor Andrés Velasco argues that centrist politicians can and do represent a distinct - and indispensable - set of ideas in this commentary for Project Syndicate.

He writes, "Centrist politicians accept some ideas from the left and some from the right, making it all too easy to dismiss them as unprincipled cynics. But not only can centrism represent a distinct set of ideas; it is also necessary for protecting democracy against populist authoritarianism."

You can read the article in full here.


The fight for the future of Chile

Professor Andrés Velasco commented on the Chilean presidential election in an article on Financial Times. According to the professor, 'Chile is a country which has changed socially at breakneck speed and become a more open and progressive society.' However, the next president will have to face serious divisions in many aspects that the country is having.

The professor also said that the outcome of the election was still hard to predict. 

Read the full article here

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Audits strengthen electoral accountability in South Africa

Dr Joachim Wehner contributed to the article 'Audits strengthen electoral accountability in South Africa' published on The Journal of Politics. Starting the article with the question 'Does information about government performance and corruption shape voter behaviour?' the authors examined different answers that provide various perspectives on the topic.

Read the full article here


Even fewer could be travelling round London by 2030 as 'hybrid' working becomes norm

The number of trips in London is expected to be lower by the end of the decade because the 'hybrid' working model is becoming more common.

Professor Tony Travers is quoted on Evening Standard: 'The Government brought this situation about for good reason, but working from home became more embedded than anybody would have imagined,' he says, 'That raises the question now for the Government: do they want to revise their messaging about working from home to encourage people back to work?'

He also estimates: 'The Government faces the dismal choice between continuing bailouts of £1bn to £1.5bn a year or radically reducing the scale of public transport in London, which risks kicking off a spiral of decline.'

Read more here.


Sadiq Khan stages last-ditch battle to stop the London Underground going down the tube

TfL is facing a financial problem. The Mayor of London expects a full £1.7bn bailout from the government to keep services running until March 2023. Meanwhile, Westminster is expected to offer the bare minimum funding of £500m that can buoy Transport for London until March next year. 

Professor Tony Travers was quoted on The Telegraph: 'There is a real risk London will face substantial reductions in its transport system at a time when the central London economy is attempting to recover.'

Read the article here.

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Boris Johnson's interventionist approach to industry defies UK election vow

An article on Financial Times criticises the interventionist approach to struggling industries that the Prime Minister has applied on multiple occasions. Critics say this policy lacks overarching stratergy. 

Professor Tony Travers commented on that: 'It is a very hyper-pragmatic approach, which is not at odds with the Conservative tradition of pragmatism, but there is a danger that he's drifting away from Margaret Thatcher's conservatism and towards a more Ted Heath approach.'

Read the article here.


Why has Chile Embraced the Extremes?

Professor Andrés Velasco blames the mistakes of center-left leaders for the polarized nature of the country's presidential election in his latest commentary for Project Syndicate.

He writes, "Many Chileans are frightened, and others are angry – not least because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic squeeze. But the political failures of the center-left also help to explain why the far right and the far left will contest the second round of the country’s presidential election."

You can read the article in full here.

November 2021


When should democratically derived choices in the past bind our current and future democratic choices?

In the newly published podcast of the TRIUM Connect podcast series, Professor Andrés Velasco participated in the discussion about democratic choices and their impacts on the future ones. The podcast aimed to find the answer for the question of 'How and when should we decide today what areas of future public policy we are not prepared to trust our future selves to make wisely?'

Listen to the podcast here.

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The 24-hour strike put the Tube network's future at risk

On Saturday 27 November, a 24-hour strike took place on more than one Tube line in London. The strike was a dispute over driver rotas which can wreck members' work-life balance, according to the Tube union RMT. The action affected central London business since last weekend, they were busy for Black Friday sales. The strike of RMT will also have an impact on the reintroduction of the Night Tube.

Professor Tony Travers said on BBC News: 'It appears the Tube unions are prepared to ignore the perilous state Transport for London is in. Most people now know how to work from home, so there's a risk the strike will encourage a 'managed decline' of the underground with fewer jobs.'

Read more here.


The project 'London Voices' helps Londoners to shape their city

Dr Omar H Gallego participates in the project 'London Voices', helping citizens have more knowledge and opportunities that can help them shape their future. The research of the project studies the mechanisms that can facilitate equal, inclusive, representative civic and democratic participation.

Read more about the project here.

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A major downsizing in the HS2 project

A change in the HS2 plan has been announced. According to the prime minister, the downsizing aims to save tens of billions of pounds. 

Professor Tony Travers commented on the major change: 'It won’t bring as much capacity and speed as the original HS2 would have in many places, but in some cases it will bring improvements to existing rail that are better than the HS2 and arrive more quickly assuming they can all be delivered.'

Read more here.


How does bureaucracy matter for development?

Professor Adnan Qadir Khan and the other authors of the column "Bureaucracy and Development" on VoxEU argue that effective states are central to economic development. 

Discussing the capacity of bureaucracy to support development, the authors write: "Whether bureaucracies can innovate and adapt to future challenges will have important economic implications – we hope that future research will help tackle these challenges."

Read more about her appointment here.