Emma is a Social Policy Master's student at the LSE. Before this, she worked as a policy advisor in the Civil Service in roles related to food access during the pandemic, and to water poverty. She finished her undergrad in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford in 2020.
Why did you choose to study economics?
I was really interested in Government and Public Policy at school, and have always seen Economics as inextricably linked to these two subjects. I decided to study Economics so I could get a deeper understanding of the policies that I was reading about in papers and on twitter every day, and to develop the tools to decide for myself whether I think a policy is good or not.
How would you describe economics?
I see Economics as how actors (individuals, companies, Governments) choose to allocate scarce resources. Government only has a fixed pot of money, so it must weigh choices to decide what to fund, and what not to. Similarly, companies must choose where to spend their money to maximise their profit.
If you had a time machine and could meet your 16-year-old self, what advice would you give them?
Respect your own time: be clear about when you’re studying and when you’re relaxing/socialising. Otherwise, you’ll end up half relaxing and half working (e.g. doing your homework in front of the TV) without doing either properly which will just make you MORE stressed out.
What is your favourite part of economics?
I find market competition really interesting. We can use our models of firm behaviour to understand how cartels form (where rival companies collaborate to fix prices), and use this to understand historical cases like the OPEC oil crisis. It’s also quite fun to go on Competitions and Markets Authority website to see what companies have received fines recently for illegal cartel activity!
Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance?
I would ask my teachers more questions – both about things I didn’t understand and things I wanted to learn more about. I’m a lot more confident now and ask tons of questions!