Rolf Alter on Public Sector Productivity

Rolf Alter on Public Sector Productivity

Rolf Alter joined the David Hume Institute in a conversation about public sector productivity, discussing its macroeconomic significance, (failed) approaches to measuring it and its public policy and governance implications.


Dr Rolf Alter, an experienced economist, is a Senior Fellow of the HERTIE School of Governance in Berlin, and a member of the Advisory Board of the WEF Global Risk Report. This follows over 25 years at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. He was Chief of Staff to the current OECD Secretary-General and was appointed Director of Public Governance in 2009, when he built a team of 200 staff to support governments around the world in improving their public sector performance for inclusive growth and the competitiveness of their economies. Dr Alter has also worked for the IMF in Washington, and for the German Ministry of Economy in Bonn. 

Dr Alter has a strong interest in research of empirical evidence and good policy practice in all areas of public sector governance, including institutional and regulatory reform, productivity, innovation, results-oriented budgeting, transparency, leadership and integrity. 

Dr Alter has a doctorate degree from the University of Göettingen, Germany. In 2016 he was awarded the O.P. Dwivedi prize by the IASIA for outstanding contribution to public administration and policy in the world. 

2018 David Hume Lecture

2018 David Hume Lecture

The 2018 David Hume Lecture was given by Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh.

Peter Mathieson read Medicine at the London Hospital Medical College and was awarded a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Peter was the foundation Professor of Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol, and was also Director of Research & Development for the North Bristol NHS Trust and elected President of the Renal Association. In 2008 he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Bristol. Peter was President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong from 2014 to 2018.

This event was kindly supported by the Faculty of Advocates.

Unfortunately, due to technical issues, audio for this event is not available.

Productivity Research Launch: Wealth of the Nation

Productivity Research Launch: Wealth of the Nation

This event was the launch of the David Hume Institute's latest research into Scottish productivity. The report was joint-funded by the Scottish Policy Foundation and Baillie Gifford, with modelling undertaken by the Fraser of Allander Institute.

After outlining Scotland's productivity challenge, the report aims to bring fresh insights to the Scottish economic policy debate by detailing five evidence-based stories of what has worked in comparable places. We want to set expectations for what can be achieved here in Scotland, whatever our constitutional future, by showing how it has been done elsewhere.

The launch features Professor Josef Konvitz, former head of regulatory policy at the OECD, and Professor Graeme Roy from the Fraser of Allander Institute in conversation with the author of the report, David Hume Institute Director Jane-Frances Kelly. 

Jesse Norman MP on Adam Smith

Jesse Norman MP on Adam Smith

Every day we hear about the evils of modern capitalism, from bent markets to corruption, inequality and the encouragement of selfishness. And more than anyone else, these evils are attributed to Adam Smith. Yet Smith was the very opposite of these things in his personal life. And his ideas, far from spawning the excesses of capitalism, show us how to understand and combat them.

Our present world faces huge challenges, including how to generate and sustain economic growth, how to deal with problems of globalization and escalating inequality, and how to create moral understanding across different communities of history, interest and belief. To understand and address these problems today, we need to return to the Scottish Enlightenment, and to Adam Smith.

Jesse Norman MP studied at Oxford, before completing a Masters and PhD in Philosophy at University College London. Before entering politics, he ran an educational project in Communist Eastern Europe and was a Director at Barclays. He has also been an Honorary Fellow at UCL, a Governor of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, and a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. His previous books include a celebrated study of Edmund Burke.

This event was held in partnership with Edinburgh University Business School. 

First Minister's Reading List Launch

This event was the launch of the inaugural David Hume Institute First Minister's Reading List.

The David Hume Institute is delighted to present its 2018 First Minister’s Summer Reading List. Bringing together some of the best recent writing from Scotland and beyond, the list is intended as a fresh way to stimulate debate about the state of the nation and the world. While the Institute does not endorse every view expressed in the books, they are all good reads, based on evidence and with something of significance to say. We hope the First Minister – or indeed any Scot – will find them thought-provoking and an enjoyable addition to their summer break. 

The event explains the reasons for compiling the list and why the specific books on this year's list were chosen. 

Lord Kerr on Brexit

Baron Kerr of Kinlochard was Ambassador and UK Permanent Representative to the European Union from 1990 until 1995, and Ambassador to the United States from 1995 to 1997. He was then Permanent Under Secretary at the Foreign Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service from 1997 until 2002. A household name due to his authorship of Article 50, Lord Kerr is a Trustee of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Chair of the Centre for European Reform and Deputy Chair of Scottish Power.

This event was held in partnership with Edinburgh University Business School