The Economics of Underachievement

Gemma Fagbadegun

We held our very first Breakfast Seminar in July on the topic of ‘The Economics of Underachievement’, bringing together economists, researchers, media and more. We welcomed three speakers – Dr Jo Blanden from the University of Surrey, Andrew Dilnot, principal of St Hugh’s College, and Dr Lee Elliot-Major from The Sutton Trust.

The discussion was a very interesting one, and the speakers certainly weren't afraid to look at the topic from every angle! Whilst Jo Blanden looked at the high returns of encouraging young people to enter Higher Education who might not have done so otherwise, and Lee Elliot-Major showed proof that reducing education inequalities can lead to a growth in GDP, Andrew Dilnot was slightly more cautious.

He reminded the group that the financial and economic benefits of social mobility and widening participation lay in the distant future. Moreover, Andrew believed that the reason why we provide programmes like IntoUniversity is not because of the economic arguments, but simply because we want to do the right thing.

Watch the video below to hear from the speakers themselves.

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