RES Annual Public Lecture

Established in 2001, our Annual Public Lecture provides an opportunity for school students to watch internationally renowned economists present their research. Principally aimed at sixth form students, the APL has become an established part of the senior school calendar.   


Annual Public Lecture 2024

The 2024 RES Annual Public Lecture will be hosted by the University of Glasgow on Monday 10 June.

This years lecture will be given by Professor Jane Humphries, All Souls College Oxford, and London School of Economics who is a Professor of Economic History. 

Jane’s lecture is titled: ‘Do economists care?’

Economists’ neglect of unpaid caring and household labour has long been recognised as problematic for the estimation of output and wellbeing.  The lecture explores this neglect and its implications as well as attempts to assign valuations from market equivalents. Recognition of the value of caring and housework enhances understanding of economic life.    

RES President, Professor Mary Morgan will chair the lecture.

The Lecture will be live streamed via Zoom on the 10 June (14.00-15.30).  Schools can book to receive the link here:

Prof Jane Humphries

Jane is Emeritus Professor and Fellow of All Souls College Oxford, and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics. She has edited the Economic History Review and been a member of the editorial boards of many leading journals.  She has been President of the Economic History Society, and of the Economic History Association.  She has published extensively on economic growth, the standard of living, labour markets, and women and children’s work.  She has won the Cole Prize for the outstanding article published in the Journal of Economic History, the Ranki Prize for an outstanding book in European Economic History, and the Royal Economic Society Prize for a major article in the Economic Journal.   The BBC4 documentary, ‘The Children who Built Victorian Britain’, which she co-wrote and presented, was voted the Best History Program at the International History Makers Festival in 2012.  She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the British Academy, the Cliometrics Society and the Economic History Association.  She was awarded a CBE for services to Social Science and Economic History in 2018 and holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Uppsala, Sheffield and Helsinki.  

Lecture Abstract

While Adam Smith defined economics in terms of wealth creation, for Alfred Marshall it concerned ‘the ordinary business of life’.  Ever-present and universal, caring work is very ordinary, but it adds to wellbeing, and enhances productivity.   Yet commercialised caring is neglected and undervalued, while unpaid care work is judged ‘beyond the production boundary’, so that although market equivalents suggest its value reaches a whopping 20-60 per cent of GDP, depending on country and attribution methodology, it remains outside National Income Accounts.  Economic historians have done no better in recognising unpaid household work, despite its importance in the less-commercialised past.  Inspired by researchers who have assigned value to caring and housework in today’s economies, I value the work performed unpaid at key dates in British history.  A historical account enhances our understanding of ordinary life but also nuances interpretations of Smithian enrichment.  

Teacher Resources

Book to attend the 2024 Lecture in Glasgow
Annual Public Lecture 2023
Annual Public Lecture 2022
Annual Public Lecture 2021