Richard Davies Keynote Speaker

  • Director of the Economics Observatory, Professor of Economics, Bristol University and fellow at the LSE's Centre for Economic Performance
  • Economics Editor, The Economist (2014-2016) - former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors at HM Treasury, Speechwriter at the Bank of England and Economics Advisor to George Osborne
  • Award Winning Author of ‘Extreme Economies’, a finalist for the FT- McKinsey Business Book of the Year

Richard Davies's Biography

Richard Davies is an economist, writer and speaker.  He is a Professor at Bristol University, a fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Director of the UK’s new Economics Observatory.  The Economics Observatory (ECO) is an innovative new project that bridges the gap between academic research, government policy and the general public.  Their goal is to provide balanced and reliable answers to the economic questions that Covid-19 and its aftermath will bring.    As part of these roles, he maintains close links with policymakers and cutting-edge researchers, working to bridge the gap between the two to build a better understanding of the economic challenges we face.

Richard is the author of Extreme Economies (Penguin, 2020). This important book tells the personal stories of people living in extreme situations—from America’s largest high-security prison to the aftermath of the world’s most devastating natural disaster. Richard set out to find the oldest societies, the most technologically advanced and the most unequal cities he set out on a 100,000-mile journey, interviewing over 500 people as he went. The stories, captured by on-the-ground reporting from places no other economist has visited cover both the developed and developing world, and set out the striking economic innovation and financial sophistication seen in these hidden places. Far from being interesting side-notes or outliers, Richard argues that we should learn from these places in answering today’s biggest economic questions. The book has been published globally with translation in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China and won the Lonely Planet/Stanfords travel writing prize for 2020.    It was also awarded the Enlightened Economist Prize 2019.

Of the book, Lord Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England said  “A highly original approach to understanding what really makes economies tick. Both insightful and accessible to non-economists”

In his career, Richard has worked at the forefront of economic policy, and has had a first-hand view of some of the UK’s most extreme and volatile episodes of recent time. At the Bank of England between 2006 and 2012 he managed teams covering international macroeconomics and the financial sector, writing speeches and working as a lead author of the bank’s Financial Stability Report. More recently, as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors at HM Treasury he was economics advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne from 2015-2016.

Richard has also published widely as a journalist and author. Leaving the Bank of England for The Economist he became the paper’s Economics Editor in 2014 responsible for global economic coverage, and also edited The Economist’s most recent Guide to Economics (Profile, 2015). He articles on economics have also features in The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Times, The Guardian and 1843 magazine.

Richard is also involved in attempts to reform economics. He is a founding trustee and director of CORE Economics Education, and gives talks about economics and journalism in state schools for Speakers for Schools. He has previously worked with Pro Bono Economics to help charities estimate the impact of their work.

While Richard has an in depth understanding of the global economy he relates with audiences through a narrative and examples that combine knowledge, unrivalled first-hand experiences compassion and humour.



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Richard Davies's Speaking Topics

The future of money

Travelling across the world to some of the most barren and pressurised economies known to mankind Richard came across examples of informal and underground currencies. He links these stories of currency innovation to the debate inside G7 Central Banks on the future of money, cryptocurrencies and social currencies, setting out the opportunities and unseen risks.

How to build a resilient economy.

What can refugee camps, prisons and disaster zones tell us about capitalism. The pandemic opened a new debate about the balance between a ruthlessly efficient economy, and a resilient one. Richard uses his experience in some of the world’s toughest places to reveal lesson on our own approach to economics, regulation and risk.

Demographics – risk and reward in the aging world.

Demographic change is now widely recognised as a force influencing both society and economies over coming decades.

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Articles, Media & Podcasts

Books by Richard Davies

Extreme Economies
Extreme Economies: Survival, Failure, Future – Lessons from the World’s Limits

Comments & Testimonials

We learn most about ourselves at times of extreme stress and challenge. Using nine compelling country case studies, Richard Davies brilliantly demonstrates that the same is true of our economic systems. In its approach and insights, Extreme Economies is a revelation - and a must-read.
Andy Haldane Chief Economist of the Bank of England

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