Festival of Economics

In the seventh Festival of Economics, programmed by Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge and Enlightenment Economics), economists and other experts from around the world debate with each other – and their audiences – some of the key economic questions of our time.

You can download the 2018 brochure here and browse events at the bottom of this page.

Join the debate on Twitter @FestivalofIdeas #economicsfest

This festival is run by the Bristol Festival of Ideas.



7 Nov - 10 Nov

How Much

Varies depending on event - between £6-£10


2nd floor, We The Curious

Buy tickets

Tue 6 November

Richard Wilkinson: The Inner Level
£8 / £6

How does inequality affect us individually? Can it alter how we think, feel and behave? Should we accept that inequality is the product of ‘natural’ difference in individual ability? The Spirit Level’s Richard Wilkinson discusses the impact of inequality and the path towards a fairer society. In association with The Equality Trust.


Wednesday 7 November


Paul Tucker: Unelected Power
£9 / £6.50

Central bankers have emerged from the financial crisis as the third great pillar of unelected power alongside the judiciary and the military. Paul Tucker, previously a deputy governor at the Bank of England, lays out the principles needed to ensure that central bankers, technocrats and regulators remain stewards of the common good and do not become over-mighty citizens.

In association with Princeton Press.


Higher Education: Decline and Fall?
£9 / £6.50

Chair: Andy Westwood (University of Manchester)

Simon Burgess (University of Bristol)

Sandra McNally (London School of Economics)

David Willetts (Resolution Foundation)

Gill Wyness (University College London/ London School of Economics)

Universities boost economic growth and graduates can earn a high salary premium – but higher education policy is in a mess, Brexit is a threat to many institutions and universities are under political attack. What needs to be done?

In association with the University of Bath Institute for Policy Research.


Thursday 8 November

Linda Yueh: The Great Economists
£9 / £6.50

What can the ideas of history’s greatest economists tell us about the most important issues of our time? In the light of current economic problems, Linda Yueh explores the thoughts of economists from Adam Smith and David Ricardo through Joan Robinson to Robert Solow. She explains how their lives and times affected their ideas, how our lives have been influenced by their work, and how they could help with the policy challenges that we face today.


Rain Newton-Smith: Growth in the Time of Brexit
£9 / £6.50

Brexit provides many challenges to future economic growth, but it’s argued that there are many opportunities, too. Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist of the Confederation of British Industry and previously head of Emerging Markets at Oxford Economics, discusses whether the UK can take advantage of this major shift and what companies and organisations need to do to grow in the future British and world economy. In conversation with Gavin Jackson (FT).


Does Economics Care About the Future?

£9 / £6.50

Chair: Margaret Heffernan

Mirabelle Muûls (Imperial College/ London School of Economics)

Aditi Sahni (Vivid Economics)

Alex Teytelboym (University of Oxford)

Kees Vendrik (Triodos Bank)

Dimitri Zenghelis (London School of Economics)

Keynes famously said we're all dead in the long run. We face major intergenerational problems, a housing crisis, automation of many traditional jobs, climate change, amongst many other issues – all of which will require long-term planning and delivery over many decades. How do we plan for the long-term beyond electoral cycles and annual business reporting? Is sustainable growth possible?

In association with Economics Network and RES.


Friday 9 November

Andy Haldane: Central Banks, Past, Present and Future
£9 / £6.50

The chief economist at the Bank of England in conversation with Festival of Economics director Diane Coyle.


The Rise of the City
£9 / £6.50

Chair: Margaret Heffernan

Andrew Carter (Centre for Cities)

Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge)

Patricia Greer (West of England Combined Authority)

Max Nathan (University of Birmingham)

City and metro mayors are increasingly high-profile and urbanisation is rising. By 2050 the majority of citizens will live in the world’s cities. Is the city – and city-region – replacing the nation as the most important economic entity? What does this mean for planning and delivering the future economy?

Satuday 10 November

Trains, Planes, Automobiles – and Buses
£9 / £6.50

Chair: Tom Forth

Jillian Anable (University of Leeds)

Karen Lucas (University of Leeds)

David Metz (University College London)

Christian Wolmar

Almost everyone has to travel – and almost every means of public transport is seems expensive, crowded and inadequate. What's needed for affordable, high-quality and sustainable transport?


What Are Women Worth?
£9 / £6.50

Chair: Caroline Criado Perez

Peter Backus (University of Manchester)

Danielle Guizzo Archela (UWE Bristol)

Kim Scharf (University of Birmingham)

Sarah Smith (University of Bristol)

Women are less valued than men in the economy – earning less, promoted less – and in economics. What will it take to close the economic gender gap?


Forecasts: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
£9 / £6.50

Chair: Tom Clark (Prospect)

Clare Lombardelli (Treasury/ GES)

Vicky Pryce

Andrew Sentance (PwC)

Garry Young (NIESR)

Economic forecasting has never had a stellar reputation – and it seems to be getting worse. Yet it seems impossible to do without it. What makes forecasting better than a crystal ball?

In association with Prospect Magazine.

How to buy tickets

  • Online through Festival of Ideas, via the link to the left of this page
  • On the phone with us! Give us a call on 0117 915 1000 (9-5 Monday - Friday)
  • In person, from our Welcome Desk


You can buy a season ticket for all events at £70 / £50. This can be purchased online via Festival of Ideas, or in person. Individual ticket prices are listed against each event. Please note there are a limited number of season tickets: book early to avoid disappointment. The season ticket does not include the schools event or the two pre-festival events: Glen Weyl and Richard Wilkinson. Please book those separately.


Image credit: Alys Jones



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