Well-being in Scotland: looking beyond GDP to wider measures of success

This blog was written by Catherine Findlay and Jodi McLean, 5th Year school Pupils from St Andrew’s RC Secondary School, who were at the Fraser of Allander Institute for a week’s work experience.

It is becoming more common to look beyond GDP and to understand a society’s well-being alongside  its economic activity. The OECD’s Regional Well-being and Better Life Index measures regional and national quality of life through eleven domains such as income, jobs and health.

To understand Scotland’s well-being in context its important to compare it to the rest of the UK but also to other small countries that are strong performers in the world’s economy.Continue reading

June 24, 2019

Income tax reconciliations and the Scottish economy: Q&A

It has been widely publicised that the Scottish budget may face income tax ‘reconciliations’ totalling £1bn over the next few years. But what are these reconciliations and why do they come about? Do they tell us anything about Scotland’s economic performance, or do they just reflect forecast error?Continue reading

June 20, 2019

GDP and population growth

Earlier today new GDP data were released for Scotland. These showed growth in 2019 Q1 of 0.5%, the same as the UK over the same period.

Much is always made about short-term fluctuations in GDP growth, but as we try to emphasise, much more important is the longer term growth experience.

In this blog we look at trends in the longer term – for this purpose 10 year – growth performance of the UK and Scottish economies, and the important role than population change plays in overall growth.

Continue reading

June 19, 2019

Today’s Scottish GDP numbers – a Brexit bounce? No, hold on tight whilst the data gets volatile

Today, the Scottish Government published economic growth figures for Q1 2019.

Growth of 0.5% is the fastest Scottish growth in two years.

Before anyone gets carried away that this is somehow a signal that the Scottish economy is benefiting from a pre-Brexit bounce, today’s numbers are likely to be heavily influenced by temporary stockpiling by some firms – particularly in manufacturing – as the uncertainty over a possible ‘no deal’ scenario played out in the Spring.

More up to date data from the UK – which is running ahead of the Scottish publication series – shows that after their Q1 figures were boosted for the same reason, growth has slipped back as firms unwind their ‘no deal’ contingencies.

It’s likely that the Scottish series will display a similar pattern.Continue reading

The economic impacts of UK labour productivity-enhancing industrial policies and their spillover effects on the energy system

Academic and policy discussions increasingly recognise the wider impacts of energy policy on the macro-economy. For example, recent analyses on energy efficiency policies emphasise the stimulus to economic activity that these typically generate and their potential impacts on distributional issues, while policies aimed at growing the offshore wind sector have associated targets for the economic impacts that could be secured.

However, interaction in the opposite direction, that is the impact of economic policies on the energy system, has been comparatively neglected and, in particular, there has been little system-wide analysis of the spill-over effects from economic policies to the energy system.

The studies that have looked at the impact of economic policies on the energy system have tended to focus upon specific policies that have a high correlation with energy and/or environmental outcomes – for example, the recent debate here in Scotland with regard to Air Departure Tax.

But what about economic policies more broadly? Continue reading

June 18, 2019