Economists’ Call for Urgent Action

This statement calls for an urgent, humane and effective governmental response to the refugee crisis.

Its signatories are economists in public institutions, academia, think tanks and private consultancy.

We believe that the UK’s response to the refugee crisis is seriously inadequate.

The costs in human wellbeing of the refugee crisis, however calculated, are so extremely high that it is morally unacceptable for the UK not to play a fuller part in taking in refugees.

The UK’s current offer of 20,000 resettlement places spread over five years, only open to those still outside the EU, and only open to Syrians, is too low, too slow and too narrow.

As the world’s fifth largest economy, the UK can do far more. The UK in its recent history has taken in far higher numbers of asylum seekers and refugees and at far greater speed and managed it well (some 85,000 people claimed asylum in the UK in 2002 alone, for example).

Refugees should be taken in because they are morally and legally entitled to international protection, not because of the economic advantages they may bring. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the economic contribution of refugees and their descendants to the UK has been high (for example the Ugandan Asian refugees, whose arrival in Britain in 1972 was greeted with initial anxiety, went on to make an ‘extraordinary contribution’ to British life, as the Prime Minister has observed).

The Government’s current policy is based on the misguided premise that refugees will be deterred from travelling to the EU by refusing to take in those who have arrived and by refusing to offer safe or legal routes by which to come. That misunderstands the intolerable ‘push’ factors that are forcing people out of countries of persecution and from neighbouring countries in which a humanitarian disaster is escalating in the camps. It is the parallel of the Government’s earlier policy of trying to ‘deter’ travel by scaling down search and rescue in the Mediterranean- a failed policy which cost lives. Instead, the failure to offer safe, legal routes into the EU is forcing refugees to rely on the services of people smugglers and to risk death and injury; and the failure to take in refugees from other EU member states is contributing to a further humanitarian disaster in the peripheral EU countries this winter.

Nor does the current lack of safe, legal routes into the EU for refugees protect security - rather it outsources immigration control to people smugglers and generates chaos, suffering and death at the EU's periphery.

We therefore call on the UK government to urgently adopt a refugee policy which abides by the following four principles:

  1. The UK should take a fair and proportionate share of refugees, both those already within the EU and those still outside it.
  2. Safe and legal routes to the UK, as well as to the EU, need to be established.
  3. Safe and legal routes within the EU, including the UK, should be established.
  4. There should be access to fair and thorough procedures to determine eligibility for international protection wherever it is sought.

The signatories of this letter have all signed in a personal capacity.

126 Signatories

Former senior officials in government and international organisations

  • Baron Mark Malloch Brown, KCMG, PC. Former Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations and former Government Minister.
  • Peter Sutherland, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration. Former Director-General of GATT, subsequently the World Trade Organisation; former EC Commissioner responsible for Competition Policy; former Chairman of Goldman Sachs and BP; former Chairman of the London School of Economics.
  • Professor Ian Goldin, Director Oxford Martin School and Professor of Globalisation and Development. Former Vice-President of the World Bank.
  • Professor Sir Richard Jolly, Honorary Professor and Senior Research Associate at Institute of Development Studies. Former Assistant Secretary General, United Nations and former Deputy Executive Director at UNICEF.
  • Jonathan Portes, Principal Research Fellow at National Institute for Economic and Social Research. Former Chief Economist to the Cabinet Office.
  • Professor Guy Standing, Professor in Development Studies. Former Director of Socio-economic Security and Former Director of Labour Market Policies, International Labour Organisation.
  • Sarah Cliffe, Director of the Center on International Coordination at New York University. Former Assistant Secretary-General of Civilian Capacities to the United Nations; and former Special Representative and Director for the World Bank 2011 Development Report.

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Professors of economics and related fields

  • Lord Professor John Eatwell, President of Queens' College, Professor of Financial Policy, University of Cambridge.
  • Professor Lawrence King, Professor of Sociology and Political Economy, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Tony Lawson, Professor of Economics and Philosophy, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Jochen Runde, Professor of Economics and Organisation, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
  • Professor Anna Vignoles, Professor of Education, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Jane Humphries, Professor of Economic History, University of Oxford
  • Professor Linda McDowell, Professor of Human Geography, University of Oxford
  • Professor Wouter Den Haan, Professor of Economics, London School of Economics
  • Professor Tony Yates, Professor of Economics, University of Birmingham
  • Professor Alan Felstead, Research Professor, Cardiff University
  • Professor Jonathan Morris, Professor in Organisational Analysis, Cardiff University
  • Professor Keith Whitfield, Professor of Human Resource Management and Economics, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University.
  • Professor Jane Pollard, Professor of Economic Geography, Newcastle University
  • Professor Andrew Cumbers, Professor in Management, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Robert McMaster, Professor of Political Economy, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Gary Dymski, Professor of Applied Economics, University of Leeds
  • Professor Damian Grimshaw, Professor of Employment Studies, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.
  • Professor Wendy Olsen, Professor of Socio-Economics, University of Manchester
  • Professor Jill Rubery, Professor of Comparative Employment Systems, University of Manchester
  • Professor Peter Elias, CBE Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Professor Mark Harrison, Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Professor Robin Naylor, Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Professor Andrew Oswald, Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Professor Klaus Nielsen, Professor of Institutional Economics, Birbeck College, University of London
  • Professor Mark Blyth, Eastman Professor of Political Economy, Brown University
  • Professor Seamus McGuinness, Research Professor, Economic and Social Research Institute (Dublin)
  • Professor Maura Sheehan, Professor of International Management, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Professor Ozlem Onaran, Professor of Economics, University of Greenwich
  • Professor Mehmet Ugur, Professor in Economics and Institutions, University of Greenwich
  • Professor David Cobham, Professor of Economics, Heriot-Watt University
  • Professor Michael Danson, Professor of Enterprise Policy, Heriot-Watt University
  • Professor Elias Papaioannou, Associate Professor of Economics, London Business School
  • Professor Richard Portes, Professor of Economics, London Business School
  • Professor Hélène Rey, Professor of Economics, London Business School
  • Professor Paul Downward, Professor of Economics, Loughborough University
  • Professor Christopher J. Green, Professor of Economics and Finance, Loughborough University
  • Professor Anwar Shaikh, Professor of Economics, New School for Social Research (NYC)
  • Professor Pritam Singh, Professor of Economics, Oxford Brookes University
  • Professor Andrew E. Clark, CNRS Research Professor, Paris School of Economics
  • Professor Mauro Gallegati, Professor of Economics, Polytechnic University of Marche
  • Professor Parviz Dabir-Alai, Professor of Economics, Richmond University
  • Professor Christopher Cramer, Professor of the Political Economy of Development, SOAS
  • Professor George Irvin, Professorial Research Associate in Development Economics, SOAS
  • Professor Alfredo Saad Filho, Professor of Political Economy, SOAS
  • Professor Jacqueline O'Reilly, Professor of Comparative Employment Relations and HRM, University of Brighton Business School.
  • Professor Hulya Dagdeviren, Professor of Economic Development, University of Hertfordshire
  • Professor Jane Hardy, Professor of Political Economy, University of Hertfordshire
  • Professor Geoffrey Hodgson, Research Professor in Business Studies, University of Hertfordshire
  • Professor Drucilla K. Barker, Professor of Economic Anthropology, University of South Carolina
  • Professor Robert E. Wright, Professor of Economics, University of Strathclyde
  • Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation, University of Sussex
  • Professor Steve Fleetwood, Professor of ER and HRM, University of the West of England

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Emeritus Professors of economics and related fields

  • Emeritus Professor William Brown CBE, Professor of Industrial Relations, Cambridge University. Former Master of Darwin College, Cambridge. Former member of the Low Pay Commission and of the Council of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.
  • Professor Geoffrey Harcourt, Emeritus Professor in the History of Economic Theory, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Avner Offer, Emeritus Professor of Economic History, University of Oxford
  • Professor Frances Stewart, Emeritus Professor in Development Economics, University of Oxford
  • Professor Ian Gordon, Emeritus Professor of Human Geography, London School of Economics
  • Professor Malcolm Sawyer, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Leeds
  • Professor Roger Lee, Emeritus Professor of Geography, Queen Mary University of London
  • Professor Simom Mohun, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, Queen Mary University of London
  • Professor Heather Joshi, Professor Emerita Centre for Longitudinal Studies, University College London
  • Professor Alan Kirman, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Aix-Marseille University
  • Professor Trevor Evans, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Berlin School for Economics and Law
  • Professor Grazia Ietto-Gillies, Emeritus Professor in Applied Economics, London Southbank University
  • Professor Susan Himmelweit, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Open University
  • Professor James Simmie, Emeritus Professor of Innovation Studies, Oxford Brookes University
  • Professor John Weeks, Emeritus Professor, SOAS

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Other Directors, Partners and Senior officials in think tanks and economic consultancy firms

  • Simon Bishop, Co-founder and Partner of RBB Economics, RBB Economics
  • Alan Freeman, Head of the Geopolitical Economy Research Unit
  • Professor Michael Hopkins, CEO, MHC International Limited (MHCi)
  • Bojana Ignjatovic, Partner of RBB Economics
  • Dr David Ladipo, Director of Amaya Capital Limited
  • Dr Lavan Mahadeva, Managing Consultant & Research Director of CRU. Former economist of the Bank of England.

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Other academic economists

  • Dr Maria Abreu, Lecturer in Land Economy, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Charles Brendon, El-Erian Fellow in Economics, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Brendan Burchell, Editor of the Cambridge Journal of Economics; Director of the Cambridge Undergraduate Quantitative Methods Centre., University of Cambridge.
  • Dr Ha-Joon Chang, Reader in Economics, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Flavio Comin, Lecturer in Development Economics, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Adam Coutts, Lecturer in Public Policy, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Matthew Elliott, University Lecturer in Economics, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Maria Iacovou, Economist and Reader in Quantitative Sociology, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Kanak Patel, Lecturer in Real Estate Finance, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Lizzie Richardson, Lecturer in Geography, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Paul Warde, Research Director, Centre of History and Economics, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Mary V. Wrenn, Joan Robinson Research Fellow in Heterodox Economics, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Jenny Chan, Lecturer in Sociology and China Studies, University of Oxford
  • Dr Martin Ruhs, Associate Professor of Political Economy, University of Oxford
  • Dr Alex Teytelboym, Research Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford
  • Dr Elizabeth Baldwin, Research Officer, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics.
  • Dr Sin Yi Cheung, Reader in Sociology, Cardiff University
  • Dr Jean Jenkins, Senior Lecturer in Employment Relations, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University.
  • Dr Victoria Wass, Reader, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University
  • Dr Siobhan McGrath, Lecturer in Geography, Durham University
  • Dr Ahu Tatli, Reader in International HRM, Queen Mary University of London
  • Dr Roberto Veneziani, Reader in Economics, Queen Mary University of London
  • Dr Julie MacLeavy, Senior Lecturer in Economic Geography, University of Bristol
  • Dr Jeanette Findlay, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Glasgow
  • Dr Kristinn Hermannsson, Lecturer in Educational Economics, University of Glasgow
  • Dr Dimitris Ballas, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Jamie Gough, Senior Lecturer in Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Hector Calvo-Pardo, Reader in Economics, University of Southampton
  • Dr Maria Plotnikova, Lecturer in Economics, Aberystwyth University
  • Dr James Wilson, Senior Researcher, Basque Institute of Competitiveness, Spain
  • Mr Peter Mottershead, Retired Lecturer in Economics, City University London
  • Dr Mark Smith, Director of the Doctoral School and Associate Dean, Grenoble Ecole de Management
  • Dr Samantha Watson, Lecturer in Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
  • Dr Arjan Keizer, Lecturer in International HR, Manchester Business School
  • Dr Katerina Lisenkova, Senior Research Fellow, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
  • Dr Heather Rolfe, Principle Research Fellow, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
  • Dr Hannah Bargawi, Lecturer in Economics, SOAS
  • Dr Sophie van Huellen, Lecturer in Economics, SOAS
  • Dr Elisa Van Waeynbege, Lecturer in Economics, SOAS
  • Dr Julie Brown, Lecturer in Creative Enterprise, Southampton Solent University
  • Dr Kirsten Sehnbruch, Director of International Relations and Associated Researcher at the Faculty of Economics and Business, Universidad Diego Portales.
  • Dr Tina Haisch, Lecturer in Geography, University of Bern
  • Dr Cem Oyvat, Lecturer in Economics, University of Greenwich
  • Dr Kalim Siddiqui, Course Leader in BSc Economics, University of Huddersfield
  • Dr David Harvie, Senior Lecturer in Finance and Political Economy, University of Leicester
  • Dr Andrew R Timming, Reader in Management, University of St Andrews

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Institutional affiliations are provided for identification purposes only.