Published by Danail Vasilev on 12 January 2017
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I joined Reform in November 2016 and am currently assisting with research on social care reform – in particular, evaluating alternatives to policies proposed in the Dilnot report. I have recently graduated from UCL with a Master’s degree in economics. As my academic interest has always been fiscal policy, I decided to join Reform to acquire better insight of how government organises its expenditure and gain practical knowledge of the various challenges associated with spending on public services.
My long-term goal is to obtain a PhD in economics and become a professional researcher. I am interested in the impacts of government on various aspects of the wider economy: not just the short-term effects of fiscal stimulus on growth, but also the long-term impacts of different forms of government spending on the labour force, productivity, debt, competitiveness and social mobility, to name a few.
The biggest public service challenge facing Britain is… reforming the education system in a way that boosts productivity (respectively wages) for the least skilled positions. It could be argued that UK’s low productivity compared to other industrialised nations is generated at the lower end of the skill distribution, and education is the key to resolving this issue. A better-educated workforce means not only higher economic growth potential, but also improved quality of life for low-wage earners who have seen their income stagnate over the past decade. Unfortunately, it is not well known what policies are effective in improving students’ labour market outcomes with research presenting ambiguous findings. Hence, reforming the education sector to achieve higher productivity is hard, especially under a tight budget constraint. Nonetheless, this is the key to higher growth, a more sustainable budget and a better quality of life.