'Building back better' - but on what foundations?

About the lecture

Most economic policy development by governments since the Reagan/Thatcher era has been underpinned by the foundational neo-liberal idea that good policy seeks to maximise the role of markets and minimise that of public institutions.

Professor Stiglitz has been a notable critic of this faith in markets and scepticism of government. In a number of highly regarded studies, he has assembled theory and evidence in support of his views, work that was recognised in his Nobel Prize.

Drawing on this academic work and his practical, top-level policy making roles in Washington, with the Clinton Administration and the World Bank, he has also set out an alternative view of what a fit for purpose idea of good policy development should comprise, in the 21st Century, recognizing a broader vision of societal welfare and sustainability beyond just that measured by GDP.

Professor Stiglitz will briefly review the main reservations he had over the dominant neoliberal thinking. Then he will sketch out the key elements of his new thinking about an alternative foundational notion of policy development that both addresses these reservations and is more closely aligned with modern concerns over ESG.

About the speaker

Joseph E. Stiglitz is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University. He is also the co-chair of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the OECD, and the Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute.

A recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979), he is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and a former member and chairman of the (US president’s) Council of Economic Advisers.

In 2000, Stiglitz founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a think tank on international development based at Columbia University. He has been a member of the Columbia faculty since 2001 and received that university’s highest academic rank (university professor) in 2003.

In 2011 Stiglitz was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Known for his pioneering work on asymmetric information, Stiglitz’s work focuses on income distribution, risk, corporate governance, public policy, macroeconomics and globalization. He is the author of numerous books, and several bestsellers. His most recent titles are People, Power, and Profits, Rewriting the Rules of the European Economy, Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited, The Euro and Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy.