Royal Economic Society – 2024 Annual Public Lecture

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Royal Economic Society - 2024 Annual Public Lecture
Date / time
10/06/2024, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

2024 Annual Public Lecture with Professor Jane Humphries

Monday 10 June 2024, 2pm-3:30pm
Sir James McCune Smith Lecture Theatre, University Avenue, Level 4, LT 438, Glasgow


The Adam Smith Business School is delighted to host the 2024 Annual Public Lecture of the Royal Economic Society.

The Annual Public Lecture was established in 2001 and was held in Scotland in June 2022 for the first time. The lecture provides an opportunity for young people to discover economics through a talk from an internationally renowned economist. The lecture is primarily aimed at senior secondary school students, but all are welcome to attend.

Register on Eventbrite.


Speaker: Professor Jane Humphries (London School of Economics)

Professor Jane Humpries is Centennial professor of Economic History at London School of Economics and a Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford. Her research interests focus on labour markets, industrialization and the links between the family and the economy. She has published extensively on gender, the family and the history of women’s work, and is also interested in the causes and consequences of economic growth and structural change.

Paper Title: Do economists care? The struggle to value caring work.

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.



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.


Schools Programme (10am-2pm)

To run alongside the Annual Public Lecture, we are hosting a visiting day for local schools in the Adam Smith Business School Hub. The aim of the day is to inform, inspire and enthuse young people about Economics, and more broadly about considering university as an option for the future.

Schedule for the day

09:30 – 10:00     Arrival and registration

10:00 – 11:45  Welcome and Active Learning session with the Scottish Government

11:45 – 12:00     Short Break

12:00 – 13:00   “What do Economists do?” -an interactive session with professional economists, current and former Adam Smith Business School students

13:00 – 13.45   Lunch provided by the University

13:45                End of School Activity programme                  

14:00 – 15.30   Annual Public Lecture from the Royal Economic Society with Professor Jane Humphries

This event is free for all participants.


Further information: