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In May 1999, Cardiff Business School and Hodge Bank announced a major new initiative, the establishment of the Julian Hodge Institute of Applied Macroeconomics. The main aim of the Institute is to carry out research into the behaviour of the UK economy and to study in particular its relationship with the other economies of Europe.
Professor Patrick Minfor of Cardiff Business School, who also acts as the Economic Adviser to Hodge Bank, has been the Institute’s Director since it was founded.
Apart from its research projects the Institute carries on the forecasting and modelling work which Professor Minford began at Liverpool University, producing forecasts and policy analysis of the UK and other major economies.
The Institute’s work has been given special relevance in recent times by the ongoing discussions on the extra powers regularly requested by the European Union and also by the recent crisis in the Eurozone. Its research further extends across international trade, money and banking, international finance and econometrics, in collaboration with around twenty academics, mostly in Cardiff, and some thirty PhD students.
The main focus of planned work in the coming few years is the economies of the UK and Europe, their inter-relationship and their relationships with the rest of the world, especially the US. From the UK viewpoint, Europe has become a dominant policy issue. The Institute wishes to deepen knowledge of just what the effects of different policies would be – monetary, financial and supply side effects.
These issues also exercise a lot of continental economists – so the Institute’s work continues to involve mutual exchange with a number of such economists. In particular, the Institute helps to organise the European Monetary Forum, a group of professors from across northern Europe who share an interest in monetary economics and policy; the Forum has met several times in Cardiff since it began in the early 1990s, as well as at the Dutch Central Bank in Amsterdam, at the Bank of Greece in Athens and at a variety of universities around Europe.
The Institute’s funding has recently been extended for a further three years. Commenting on this decision, Professor Minford said: “The support of Hodge Bank since inception of the Institute, has enabled our group of professors and other researchers at the Business School to make great progress in understanding the important issues raised by our relationship with continental Europe and in particular the euro, as well as in a wide range of related areas. It has also allowed a large number of PhD students to take the Cardiff Economics PhD programme. The Institute’s activities continue to go from strength to strength and I am delighted that the Bank has agreed to maintain its relationship with the Institute.”
The Institute also holds an Annual Lecture in Cardiff, sponsored by Hodge Bank, on important policy issues of the day. The Institute’s first Annual Lecture was delivered in 2000 by Sir Alan Walters, former Chief Economic Adviser to Mrs (now Lady) Thatcher. Subsequent lecturers have included Professor Otmar Issing, member of the Board of the European Central Bank and Sir Alan Budd, a previous Chief Economic Adviser to H.M.Treasury. The topics have included monetary policy, climate change, flat taxes in Eastern Europe to the issue of growth in Wales.