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Wage Controversies The British Academy Lecture with Stephen Machin

Festival of Economics
Tax return form UK 2022

Watershed  |  Free

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This year the Festival of Economics welcomes the British Academy's lecture programme to Bristol, which showcases the very best scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. The lecture is given by Stephen Machin, Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.

Are wages broken? Around the world, labour markets are suffering from low wage work, wage inequality and weak real wage growth. How do we transform the system?

Join Stephen Machin as he delves into the controversies around wages. How does high inflation influence wages? How have technological advances impacted our wage structures – and what are the challenges around this? What is the impact of a minimum wage policy and can unions affect wages and their structures? And ultimately, as we head into a cost-of-living crisis, how can workers’ living standards be boosted with real wage growth?

The lecture is followed by a Q&A with Sarah Smith, Professor of Economics, University of Bristol and the audience.

Presented by

Steve Machin

Stephen Machin is Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, has been President of the European Association of Labour Economists, is a Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists and was an independent member of the UK Low Pay Commission from 2007-14. He was Chair of the Economics and Econometrics sub-panel of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. He has researched extensively in various areas of empirical economics and public policy, including labour market inequality, industrial relations, social mobility, the economics of education and the economics of crime.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is a Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol. Her research interests are in applied micro – specifically consumer behaviour and public economics. She has worked on pensions, saving, retirement and welfare policy and the economics of not-for-profit organisations. She works with a number of charity organisations to understand what motivates individuals to give and how donations respond to different (economic and non-economic) incentives. She is a research associate at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, where she started her career and at CEPR. She has also worked at HM Treasury, the Financial Services Authority and the London School of Economics.

Booking Information

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Tickets are free but we have restricted the number of tickets that can be booked to two per transaction to limit the number of ‘no shows’ and ensure as many people as possible can attend.


  • Watershed’s main entrance and Box Office are both on the ground floor which is accessible via a ramped, electronically assisted entrance door.
  • There are two Blue Badge parking spaces to the rear of Watershed on Canons Road.
  • Guide dogs and hearing dogs are very welcome.
  • The first floor of Watershed is accessible via lift from the main entrance and includes level access to all areas, including the cinemas and event spaces.
  • The cinemas and event spaces have induction loops.
  • There is an accessible toilet (with baby changing facilities) near Cinema 1. Follow the signs for the Cinemas and the accessible toilet is just on your left through the double doors before Cinema 1.
  • There are gender neutral toilets in the cinema corridor on the first floor.

Visit Watershed’s Access page for more information.

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