All entries for Monday 15 June 2009

June 15, 2009

Financial Capability Education, Recession and the Credit Crunch

Writing about web page

As part of the Festival of Social Sciences, Michael Orton of IER will be presenting a paper as part of a one day seminar on the theme of Financial Capability Education, Recession and the Credit Crunch held on 16 June.  The purpose of the seminar is to bring together practitioners, policy makers and academics to review the purpose and practice of financial capability education in the light of recent economic developments.  Financial capability education forms a strand within both the primary and secondary curriculum in England.  It aims to develop both an understanding of financial matters and a capacity for successful decision making, in particular with respect to personal financial matters.  The seminar includes high level contributions from the Financial Services Authority (FSA), pfeg, University of Warwick, QCA, and Ofsted.  Michael’s presentation is on the theme of ‘The experience of debt in poor households - worry, well-being and advice’ drawing on his work which links debt with issues around worklessness and low paid employment, as part of the IER research theme of Work, Welfare and Public Policy.

The costs of work–related stress – a lot more than the cost of strikes in the 1970s

What does work-related stress cost the country? Bernard Casey of the Warwick Institute for Employment Research will answer this question at a presentation forming part of the University of Warwick’s Festival of Social Sciences. He will show that, even with conservative assumptions, work-related stress reduces national output in any one year by as much as 1.25 per cent.

Output is lost as a result of a variety of factors. As many days are lost through short-term absence caused by work-related stress, as were lost by strikes in the 1970s. Another factor might be “presenteeism”, especially if people keep going to work for fear of stigmatisation, even when they should not. Output is also lost as people are obliged to take lower-level jobs or leave work completely.

These estimates exclude the costs associated with the suffering endured by people who experience work as particularly stressful; these costs are far more difficult to quantify. They also exclude the costs of benefit payments to people temporarily or permanently off work; these benefits are merely transfers between people working and people not working.

Recognition of the costs of work-related stress is useful in determining the efficiency of treatments – something in which NICE (the National Institute of Clinical Health and Excellence) has become much more interested of late. Recognition should also help structure initiatives that follow up the Black review Working for a Healthier Tomorrow; these are supposed to pay special attention to mental health and work.

The current recession might be seen as making work-related stress an issue of limited concern. As has been feared with respect to family-friendly practices and policies to promote disadvantaged groups, in the current recession, policies to improve working conditions might be deemed luxuries that cannot be afforded.

However, it must also be recognised that the current recession is likely to intensify stress at work. Uncertainty, itself, breeds stress. Many organisations trying to survive by raising productivity will be putting their employees under increasing pressure.

Whatever one’s perspective on the current recession may be, one thing is clear: any short-term gains will have long-term costs – not only for employers and for individual employees, but also for society at large.

If you would like to attend the workshop (16 June 2009, 12.30-2pm, B0.45 Social Studies) please email Lynne (

Researcher of the day 1


Our first Researcher of the Day is Dr Stephanie Schnurr from the Centre for Applied Linguistics.


Podcast of the day 1

Monday's podcasts:

Christopher Hughes (PAIS), Security in the Asia-Pacific Region

All the podcasts are also available to download from iTunes U.

Book of the day 1

Socrates in the Boardroom

Today's book of the day is Amanda H Goodal's (Warwick Business School): Socrates in the Boardroom: Why Research Universities should be led by top scholars.

Amanda argues that world-class scholars, not administrators, make the best leaders of research universities. Goodall draws from the latest data on the world's premier research universities along with in-depth interviews with top university leaders both past and present.

Blog of the day 1

Steve Fuller - ‘Making the university safe for intellectual life in the 21st century’

Steve will be blogging about  intellectual life in the current climate, which will be linked to his new book The Sociology of Intellectual Life -- The Career of the Mind In and Around the Academy (Sage) to be published later in the year.

The festival starts today

We have a number of events lined up today including a PhD Student poster exhibition, a public discussion, workshop and lots more.

Please refer to list of events for Monday on the Festival of Social Sciences website.

festival of social sciences

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