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Nicholas Barr


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Position: Professor of Public Economics

Research Interests: Economic theory of the welfare state, social insurance, pensions, health finance, the finance of higher education.

Summary biography: Nicholas Barr FRSA has an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He is Professor of Public Economics at the London School of Economics, the author of numerous articles, and author or editor of over twenty books, including The Economics of the Welfare State (Oxford University Press, 5th edition, 2012), Pension Reform: A Short Guide (with Peter Diamond) (Oxford University Press, 2010, also in Chinese and Spanish), and Financing Higher Education: Answers from the UK (with Iain Crawford), (Routledge, 2005). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Social Security Review and an Associate Editor of CESifo Economic Studies, the Australian Economic Review and the Journal of the Economics of Ageing.

Alongside teaching and research is wide-ranging involvement in policy. He worked at the World Bank from 1990-92 on the design of income transfers and health finance in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, and from 1995-96 as one of the authors of the World Bank's World Development Report 1996: From Plan to Market. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the Fiscal Affairs Department at the International Monetary Fund and a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Councils on Demographic Shifts and on Ageing Society.

Since the mid 1980s he has been active in the debate about financing higher education, advocating a system of income-contingent student loans administered alongside income tax or social security contributions. In the UK, he argued for many years for tuition fees fully covered by income-contingent loans, and he and his colleague Iain Crawford have been described as the architects of the 2006 reforms in England. He led the team that designed the student loan system in Hungary and has advised governments in Australia, New Zealand and Chile.

He is also involved in pensions policy, with continuing activity in Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America. He is a member of the 2014 Presidential Commission on Reform of the Pension System in Chile, and has also advised governments in the UK, China, Finland, Sweden and South Africa (where he also contributed to the Lund Committee on Child and Family Support).

A range of academic and policy writing can be found on http://econ.lse.ac.uk/staff/nb/

Activities outside academic life include family, travel, photography, membership of Middlesex County Cricket Club and involvement in opposing an ill-considered planning application in his home village.

Updated: 21 May 2014

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