Is firm innovation only about top skills?

GMason 150.jpgGeoff Mason is Visiting Professor at the ESRC-funded Centre for Research on Learning and Life Chances (LLAKES), UCL Institute of Education

Skills are a recurrent theme in the government’s Industrial Strategy, and are widely recognised as central to firms’ ‘absorptive capacity’ (AC) – their ability to effectively identify and use knowledge, ideas and technologies that are produced elsewhere. But what are the specific types of education and skills that contribute most to the development of AC, and subsequently to innovation and productivity growth? Continue reading

Learning to like robots

Sabine Hauert is Lecturer in Robotics at the University of Bristol, and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. She’s also the President and co-founder of Robohub.org.Sabine Hauert 150.jpg

Robots hold the potential to improve the way we work, live, and explore new frontiers. But their success will depend on our ability to dehype the technology so that we can have a meaningful discussion about how the benefits will be shared by all. Continue reading

How English care homes have coped with the National Living Wage

Giulia Giupponi 150Giulia Giupponi is an ESRC-funded PhD student at the London School of Economics and a research assistant at the Centre for Economic Performance.

Steve Machin 150Stephen Machin is Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and Director of the Centre for Economic Performance.

They have been advising the Low Pay Commission on the impact of the National Living Wage on English care homes.

On 1 April, all five UK minimum wage rates were increased (PDF), a year on from introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW) for workers aged 25 and over with a rate of £7.20 an hour. Rates for younger workers remained at the level of the existing National Minimum Wage (NMW). The NLW is set to achieve the 2020 target of 60 per cent of median earnings. Given the scale of the change – a 7.5 per cent increase at the time of the NLW introduction (PDF) – and the ambitious target set for 2020, a natural question is the impact on employment and other margins of adjustment by firms. Continue reading

What happens when we don’t have good data?

Amy-Sippitt 150.fwAmy Sippitt is Full Fact‘s research and impact manager. She runs a team of fact-checkers, and promotes high-quality research into the impact of fact-checking and the misinformation ecosystem.

The Need to Know project was launched in February to anticipate and plan for what information is needed for upcoming public decisions. Here Amy — who co-ordinates the project — explains more about what the project hopes to achieve.

Experts can and do work together to call out spurious factual claims and argument. But they also play a big role in laying the groundwork for debate. This starts with attempting to predict the big debates that will be happening in five years’ time, and producing information to inform these debates before things get too heated for the information to be heard.

This is exactly what the Need to Know project is about — a joint project between Full Fact, the Economic and Social Research Council, the UK Statistics Authority, and the House of Commons Library. Continue reading

Preparing for Brexit at the local level

Professor Mark Hart is Deputy Director of the Enterprise Research Centre and Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School.

Professor Mark Hart

In the aftermath of the EU referendum, there is an even greater focus on the performance of the private sector and its ability to provide jobs and wealth creating opportunities across all parts of the UK – especially at the local level – as the UK prepares for Brexit. Continue reading