Posts By / jholscher

abstract submitted

Professors Jens Holscher and Matthias Klaes (University of Buckingham) submitted the abstract below for presentation at the conference of the Association of Heterodox Economics. They want to contribute to the debate of Anne O. Krueger’s review in the Journal of Economic Literature:

Another instance of ignorance towards basic understandings of good scientific practice, is the economists tendency to defend one’s turf against alternative ideas and conceptions instead of trying to constructively engage with what is perceived as “input from outside”. While this tendency is well-known to heterodox economists, a recent instance refers to the broader issue of ethics in economics and relates to a review of the The Oxford Economic Handbook published by the eminent Journal of Economic Literature (JEL)<>in its book review section. While reviews in the JEL are known to be sharp, this one is especially so, implicitly chastizing the authors as “idealists [that] advocate entirely impractical or unattainable actions” (p. 216). While such a criticism would surely be legitimate in principle, the problem here is that this statement amounts to stark misrepresentation of the books actual content and thereby violates a basic standard of academic conversation, namely not to misrepresent the object of one’s criticism. In this context, I would urge you to have a look at the JEL’s review<> and the related reply by the Handbooks’s editors<> published in the recent issue of Econ Journal Watch<>. Doing so really sharpens the intuition about the degree and intensity of prevailing groupthink in economics, the means and attitudes used to defend this way of thought as well as the biases emerging from such an attitude.

The Krueger Review: Why the Dismal Science Deserves Better Than Dismal Ethics

Jens Hoelscher, University of Bournemouth

Matthias Klaes, University of Buckingham


Economists have long held that their discipline is ‘value free’ in the sense that economics is a scientific enterprise that allows the separation of normative considerations from the presentation the findings of economic analysis. David Ricardo, in his Notes on Malthus for example, puts it this way:1 “[I]t is not the province of the Political Economist to advise: – he is to tell you how you may become rich, but he is not to advise you to prefer riches to indolence, or indolence to riches” (Ricardo, 1820[1951], p. 338). In the neoclassical tradition, we have come to know this as ‘positive’ economics, which received perhaps its most influential formulation at the hands of Milton Friedman’s (1953) ‘Methodology of positive economics.’ What is interesting though regarding moral questions relating to economic advice in Friedman’s essay is the explicit juxtaposition of economics as an objective science with the incentive structure of economic debate: “Laymen and experts alike are inevitably tempted to shape positive conclusions to fit strongly held normative preconceptions and to reject positive conclusions if their normative implications – or what are said to be their normative implications – are unpalatable” (ibid.)

Friedman does not explicitly elaborate on these latter points, but his implicit position regarding expert advice is clear from the context: experts should be free from conflicts of interest, and whether somebody is an expert or not can only be judged through the refutable nature of the advice given. Poor expertise will be based on poor intellectual tools of analysis and reveal itself through lack of predictive success, while biased advice will reveal itself in its relation to outside influence. There are thus in Friedman’s essay, implicitly at least, the contours of a call to experts for them to adhere to a kind of virtuous honesty implicit in the enterprise of objective science itself.

We will examine in our paper the bread-and-butter workings of this implicit principle and its strengths and limitations as a foundation for professional economic ethics in the arena of economic expert advice. We will do this two-fold, first by looking at the economist as an expert on what happens in economics, and then at the role of the economist as an expert on what happens in the economy. Krueger’s recent JEL review of the Oxford Handbook of Professional Economic Ethics will serve us as a case study for the former. She reads the Handbook as a ‘series of attacks on mainstream economics and the practice of economics’. We will look at how she could have arrived at such a reading, and what this tells us about Krueger as an expert on what happens in economics. Regarding the role of the economist as an expert on what happens in the economy, we will revisit some deeply troubling implications of what happens if, when looking at the objective function of the cost-benefit analysis of institutional change, we discover human life is at stake in a way that it has been in the context of Eastern European transition.

RePec wp


Professor Jens Holscher co-authored a new BAFES17 RePec Working Paper:


Brexit and Trade War in The Express

Professor Jens Holscher gave an interview on Brexit and Trade War in the Express:


Brexit and Financial Services

Professor Jens Holscher gave on interview on the effects of Brexit on Financial Services in the Bournemouth Echo:



Professor Jens Holscher Jas joined the review team of the Journal of Common Market Studies, a journal in which he had a number of articles published in the past.

Festival of Learning: Brexit

Brexit and Immigration: Impact on Local Businesses in Dorset

One of the hotly debated issues in Brexit focusses around immigration. In this session we will be exploring these issues and discussing how proposed immigration systems are likely to impact on the incentive of immigrants to live and work in the UK—and will look more locally about the impact it may have in Dorset, especially on our tourism and hospitality sectors.

Professor Jens Hölscher will run the event on 20.6.2018, 10:00:00 AM – 12:30:00 PM in F109 (tbc).

Firm Productivity in the Western Balkans

New publication:

Peter Howard-Jones, Jens Hölscher and Dragana Radicic: Firm Productivity in the Western Balkans: The Impact of European Union Membership and Access to Finance, Economic Annals, Vol. LXII, No. 215, pp. 7-51, DOI: 10.2298/EKA1715007H


Poole Marine Hub Focus Group

Poole is a key marine hub on the South Coast of England. Home to the Port of Poole, a major regional asset, and major actors such as Sunseeker International, the RNLI and Wärtsilä, the town also counts an array of marine-related organisations in a variety of business activities.

Purpose of the focus group was a Review of the Scope of the Marine and Maritime Economy
Roundtable discussions addressed:
– Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for the marine and maritime industries on a local, national and international scale
– What should the priorities of the Poole Marine Hub be: short, medium, long term

Stakeholders include Actisense, Aish Technologies, Borough of Poole, Bournemouth & Poole College, British Marine, Brittany Ferries, Condor Ferries, Jenkins Marine, Local Nature Partnership, National Trust, Poole Harbour, Poole Harbour Study Group/ Southern IFCACommissioner, Poole Harbour Study Group/ Southern IFCA, RNLI, Rockley Park, Royal Navy, Sunseeker, Poole Museum and Perenco/ Wytch Farm.

Bournemouth University was represented by Professors Jens Holscher, Nigel Jump, Sangeeta Khorana and Associate Professor Davide Parrilli.

European Trade Union Institute

Narrowing the gaps: 30 years after the transition started
and 14 years after enlargement – where are we on
Conference organised by the European Trade Union Institute
Brussels, 25 January 2018, 14h30-17h00
European Economic and Social Committee

ETUI organised a conference to openly debate effects of transition and EU integration on the
Central and Eastern European countries and what this means in terms of upwards convergence
for the region.
The Central and Eastern European countries have gone through an intense economic transition
over the past 30 years and joined the European Union 14 years ago with the aspiration to have an
upwards convergence with the then EU-15. Research is showing that while convergence has
clearly occurred, this has not benefitted all regions and groups in society equally.
In addition recent research has concluded that the economic models on which the CEE countries
have built their convergence could become a trap for future developments in the region. Against
this backdrop, the conference will assess if current economic models and policies are
responding the regions aspiration for upwards convergence, and if not what then needs to be
done about it. Questions to be addressed are : what economic structure are relevant for the
future development of the region? How can collective bargaining contribute to this? What is the
role of the European institutions in ensuring upwards convergence? etc.
The conference is coinciding with the retirement of ETUI Senior researcher and Head of Unit
“Economic, employment and social policies” Martin Myant, whose research agenda has strongly
contributed to the thinking about the effects of transition and EU integration on the CEE
countries. A drink will be held in his honour at the end of the conference.

Jens Holscher took part in the round table discussion as invited speaker.

Economic Crises

Jens Holscher did a little video interview on economic crises with students from the Faculty of Media and Communication, which can be watched here:

Marine Cluster Supply Chain Analysis

This project focuses on the identification of the Poole and Dorset marine cluster:
First, localization and measurement of the cluster in Poole and Dorset (separately), with reference to a subset of industries and sectors.
Second, in-depth analysis of specific value chains that reach out to global (i.e. global value chains) or the national market with the aim of identifying the opportunity to involve a larger number of SMEs in the supply chain driven by local lead companies.

Part one of the study will assess the current business strengths of Poole and Dorset in selected industries. This will also provide information on the following aspects:
(a) Name of company
(b) Location
(c) Main activity and capabilities based on type of products and services.
(d) Number of employees and markets served.
(e) GVA contributions to Dorset generated by the Marine industry
(f) Jobs supported by the industry, including direct and indirect jobs
(g) The value of the turnover of the Marine industry.

European Trade Union Institute

ETUI has invited Jens Holscher to speak on ‘Narrowing the Gaps: 30 years
after the transition started and 14 years after enlargement – where are we on convergence?’ at a roundtable of a conference at their headquarters in Brussels.


My inaugural lecture on
‘The effects of Brexit on the EU, the UK and Dorset – a migrant’s account’
can be found here:

Posted by Bournemouth University on Wednesday, 18 October 2017


A Bournemouth team from the Faculty of Management, which included an MSc student, two PhD students, two early career researchers and two senior members of staff, presented 6 different papers at the First World Congress of Comparative Economics.
All were very well received! You see Sydney Sydney Chikalipah, Peter Howard-Jones, Khurshid Djalilov, Jens Hӧlscher, Rossella Trappa, Merima Balavac and Allan Webster, who also had a good time in Rome.