Cambridge University Reporter

Report of the General Board on the establishment of Readerships in the Faculty of Economics

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. In their Report, dated 19 February 2003 (Reporter, 2002-03, p. 618), on the structure of academic offices in the University, the General Board recommended that Statute D, XVI, 2 be amended to allow the permanent establishment of a Readership in cases where this would assist Faculties and Departments in enhancing their research profile and thus maintain the University's international pre-eminence in research. The recommendations of the Report were approved by Grace 10 of 8 May 2003; the amendment to the Statute was approved by the Privy Council on 11 February 2004. The General Board have now received a proposal from the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences for the permanent establishment of four Readerships in the Faculty of Economics, to be filled through open competition.

2. The Faculty of Economics was formed as the result of the integration of the Faculty of Economics and Politics and the Department of Applied Economics with effect from 1 October 2004, following the approval of the recommendations of the General Board's Report on the Faculty and the Department, dated 14 July 2004 (Reporter, 2003-04, p. 991; Grace 2 of 27 October 2004). As part of the re-structuring of the Faculty, the resources previously associated with the Department are to be used to strengthen research in the Faculty prior to the next Research Assessment Exercise. The suppression of several offices which are vacant, or are soon to be vacated, will release sufficient recurrent funding to create four Readerships. Two of the Readerships would be proleptic appointments in advance of the retirements of Professor R. E. Rowthorn and Professor A. Singh from their personal Professorships on 30 September 2006 and 30 September 2007, respectively. The Board have agreed to suppress the underlying University Lectureships that will be released from abeyance on their retirements. The additional non-recurrent costs of the offices during the overlap period would be met from resources available to the Faculty Board.

3. The Readerships would be in areas of economics that will further strengthen the research of the Faculty, provide leadership, and enhance the Faculty's capacity to raise external research grants. The Council of the School, on the advice of the Faculty Board of Economics, have recommended that preference on this first occasion should be given to candidates working in the following fields: (i) Microeconomics, (ii) Macroeconomics, (iii) Econometrics, and (iv) Labour Economics.

4. The field of Microeconomics is concerned with the actions of households, individuals, and firms, and their interactions through markets and other social mechanisms. Macroeconomics deals with aggregate behaviour of the economy with an emphasis on understanding the determinants of inflation, unemployment, exchange rates, and economic growth in incomes over time. Modern Macroeconomics also seeks to build up an understanding of the macroeconomy by the aggregation of the actions of individual agents at the microeconomic level. The field of Econometrics is concerned with the quantification of economic relationships, the development of tests of hypotheses suggested by economic theory, both microeconomic and macroeconomic, and the development of methods for the building of statistical models. Labour Economics is an area of major research importance in many branches of economics. The role of labour markets in the functioning of the aggregate economy and the generation of inflation has been a central concern of economists since the beginning of the 19th century. The economics of labour markets also touches on many issues concerned with employment, unemployment, the determination of wages, and the role of the workplace in human activity.

5. The General Board have accepted the case from the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences for the establishment of the four Readerships in the Faculty of Economics which will offer an outstanding opportunity to make appointments of scholars of international standing who can provide the necessary leadership to take forward research in economics.

6. In accordance with the conditions set out in the Board's Report, the criteria for appointment through open competition to a Readership will be identical to those for appointment through promotion. Regulations already exist for the constitution of the Appointments Committee (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 695). The Board will announce the titles of the Readerships after consultation with those appointed.

7. The General Board accordingly recommend:

That four Readerships be established in the Faculty of Economics with effect from 1 October 2005.