UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Laurie Macfarlane

Laurie is an Honorary Research Associate at IIPP, and will be leading IIPP’s work on new forms of public finance, focusing on the role of state investment banks.

Laurie is a Senior Economist at the New Economics Foundation, the UK’s leading think tank promoting social, economic and environmental justice.

He is the author of numerous major policy reports outlining proposals for new public banks and greater diversity in retail banking. His current research projects include projects on ways to improve the resilience of the UK’s financial system, and the links between monetary policy, banking and environmental sustainability.

He is the co-author of the book ‘Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing’, which examines the links between the financial system and the UK's dysfunctional housing market. It was described by the Financial Times as “a lucid exposition of the dysfunctional British housing market”, and has received endorsements from Lord Adair Turner, Dame Kate Barker and Ann Pettifor, among many others.

Laurie regularly discusses economic issues in the media, including on Sky News, Channel 4 News, BBC World and BBC Radio 4. He has also written for the Guardian, the Independent and the New Statesman.

He serves on the advisory board of Protect Our Future, an organisation dedicated to promoting sustainable public investment in Scotland. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

Research summary

At the New Economics Foundation, Laurie’s research focuses on overcoming problems of low public sector support in the provision of long-term ‘patient capital’, and a retail banking sector that is too focused on short-term shareholder returns. This involves developing and promoting policy solutions to help build a more resilient financial system that supports long-term value creation.

He is the author of the report ‘Blueprint for a Scottish National Investment Bank’, which set out detailed proposals for a new public investment bank in Scotland, drawing on academic literature and evidence from other countries.

He has also published proposals for reforming Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) into a public interest bank with regional subsidiaries, and has written widely about the benefits of banking diversity.

He helped to develop the New Economics Foundation’s Financial System Resilience Index, which established a basis for measuring and comparing the resilience of financial systems over time. He will shortly be publishing a new paper examining the potential impact of Brexit on the resilience of the UK’s financial system.

He is also the co-author of a recent paper that developed a modern theory of seigniorage, and examined the economic consequences of the introduction of central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Related publications (public banking)