Rebuilding Macroeconomics (RM) is a research initiative funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, ten years after the start of the financial crisis that economists failed to predict. It is run out of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) at its offices in Westminster.
RM aims to transform macroeconomics back into a useful and policy-relevant social science. We ask fundamental questions about macroeconomics in the ‘real world’ and encourage rigorous, innovative and interdisciplinary research. Our research is centred around six Research Hubs, each addressing a particular marcoeconomic question.
We aim to cultivate a policy-relevant dialogue and research agenda by bringing together a diverse group of accomplished scholars from economics and other relevant disciplines with senior policy makers, representatives from civil society groups and business organisations. Our model is to support, through a series of pilot studies, creative research that offers fresh approaches that have the potential to affect important ‘real world’ economic issues.
The Network’s research will include new and non-mainstream methodologies including the use of innovative data sources and the development of revised theories. It will draw empirically-based conclusions to indicate their potential for further development. The ultimate goal is to show which new questions are valuable and which new research ideas promise the most significant gains from future research investment.
Our Network will bring together scholars and economic policymakers, representatives from civil organisations and business organisations together with interested members of the public. Our funded research projects will make a difference. The research calls we issue are available on our website, for which anyone can apply.
What Do We Believe?
Macroeconomics is about the ‘real world’. It is subject orientated, rather than procedure orientated. That is why Rebuilding Macroeconomics is organised around research hubs which ask ‘real world’ macroeconomic questions.
We believe that macroeconomics can benefit from insights from related academic disciplines. We will support research that is creative, inter-disciplinary and introduces new methods of analysis to macroeconomics.
Our model is structured to address the most pressing ‘real world’ questions; we have designed Rebuilding Macroeconomics to be substance rather than procedure orientated. We will ask fundamental questions about macroeconomics and encourage rigorous and inter-disciplinary research. We look to fund exciting, disruptive and genuinely new research which takes risks and brings together inter-disciplinary ideas and new methods.
Our blue-print for Rebuilding Macroeconomics can be summarised in four stages:
We want to find out today’s most important macroeconomic policy questions that yield promising and sustainable research programmes. To discover the right questions, we hold three kinds of meetings:
Policy Meetings: private meetings with policy makers
Discovery Meetings: open meetings with academics, policy makers, civil society and business organisations
Public consultations: open meetings between the public and academics
2) Research hubs
From Discovery to Research Hubs, where scholars, policy-makers and practitioners coalesce around a substantive macroeconomic policy question to explore, learn from and challenge each other’s assumptions and ways of thinking and to consider possible new methods of investigation.
Each Research hub is designed to exploit the potential for new policy relevant ideas that can flow from interdisciplinary engagement. The purpose of these meetings is to encourage scholars from across disciplines to present fresh ideas and promising areas of research to each other and students, policy makers and practitioners.
3) Pilot projects
Research Hubs will issue calls for pilot research projects to be funded by the network. We will support innovative and risky research ideas, and encourage inter-disciplinary research as well as extensions and adaptations of existing methodologies. We will not support projects that lack rigour or which we judge are better suited to funding from elsewhere.
We will require each recipient of funding to write jargon-free blogs explaining their research, progress and findings. Our approach will be to ‘let a thousand projects bloom’.
Each stage of Rebuilding Macroeconomics is designed to re-connect academics with policy-makers and the general public. Important public policy questions can support a sustainable research programme.
We aim to address a two-way barrier between academia and the public about macroeconomic issues. We are committed to including public concerns while designing our Research Hubs and to explain key macroeconomic concepts and the findings of research supported by our network.
Towards the end of the investment period, the management team of Rebuilding Macroeconomics and Research Hub leaders will present a ‘road-map’ to the ESRC. This will summarise the outcomes of the research pilot projects and network discussions and provide an assessment of the direction of future macroeconomic research likely to yield the greatest social benefit. The ‘road-map’ will be a published record.