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Festival of Economics

Festival of Economics
illustration by Willem Hampsont depicting themes in the 2021 festival of economics

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In the annual Festival of Economics, economists and experts from around the world debate with each other – and their audiences – some of the key economic questions of our time.

Our tenth festival will run Wednesday 17 – Friday 19 November 2021 and returns to We The Curious in the centre of Bristol. It is co-programmed by Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge and Enlightenment Economics) and Richard Davies (professor of Public Understanding of Economics, Bristol University and author of Extreme Economies).

In celebration of our tenth anniversary we have partnered with Economics Observatory to bring together economists, policy makers, academics and the public to discuss the societal questions and challenges that Covid-19 and its aftermath have brought.

Economics Observatory delegates and Bristol Ideas audience members from across the UK are invited to a three-day programme of dynamic and important panel discussions, interviews, book launches, podcast recordings, networking and debates.

The mornings will focus on academic and policy research with sessions exploring health and economics; the future of working from home; inequality; global economies and a future beyond the pandemic.

The afternoons will be open to a wider general public. The programme includes a recording of the popularTalking Politics podcast; a discussion on the economics of reparations; George Magnus and Linda Yueh on the relationship between America and China; Ask an Economist sessions; Diane Coyle on how economics needs to change; Rory Cellan-Jones on the smartphone era; Will Page on adapting to disruption; and a panel on the economics of household labour;

The full programme will be launched in September so sign up to our newsletter to be among the first to find out more.

Join the debate on Twitter @BristolIdeas #economicsfest

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Promotional image for the 2021 festival created by Willem Hampson.
illustration by Willem Hampsont depicting themes in the 2021 festival of economics


Our 2020 events took place online and you can catch up on them on on our Crowdcast Channel. Browse the full programme by searching ‘economics‘. Here is a selection to get you started:

Festival of Economics: Tim Harford

Join Tim Harford for a deep dive into the world of disinformation and obfuscation, bad research and misplaced motivation to find those priceless jewels of data and analysis that make communicating with numbers worthwhile.

Festival of Economics: Shriti Vadera

How did we go from the ‘End of History’ in 1989 to two major economic downturns in little over a decade and predictions of the demise of capitalism? Shriti Vadera is in conversation with Festival of Economics co-director Diane Coyle.

Festival of Economics: Linda Scott

What are the gender inequalities that are built into the global economy, and how could promoting women’s economic empowerment boost social, financial and environmental conditions around the world? Linda Scott is in conversation with Professor Sarah Smith (University of Bristol).

Festival of Economics: Ha-Joon Chang

What next after globalisation? What are the post-pandemic prospects for the poorest countries in the world? Leading economist Ha-Joon Chang looks at the big shifts ahead in the global economy, casting a sceptical eye on conventional wisdom.


There are playlists of audio recordings for most of the Festival of Economics events that took place prior to 2020. You’ll find these on SoundCloud or by clicking on the buttons below.

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