Publications & ongoing research

Papers that have been co-funded by the Foundation are published here, along with relevant reference material. In addition, full technical analysis of the economic model, and the assumptions used in the production of the model outputs referenced by any policy organisations using the model, are made available here. 

how productivity could deliver inclusive growth in scotland

June 2019

The Scottish Policy Foundation awarded a grant to IPPR Scotland to research how productivity in Scotland could be improved in a way that embeds inclusive growth into our economy. Inclusive growth – one of the priorities of the Scottish Government’s economic approach - means growing the economy in a way that embeds reductions in inequalities, rather than tackling these inequalities through redistribution policies.

The research involved desk based analysis as well as modelling, which was done using the Scottish Policy Foundation’s CGE model of the Scottish economy at the Fraser of Allander Institute. The report found that:

·       Boosting productivity growth by 3% in Scotland’s lower-wage sectors could be worth £1.5bn in increased GDP and over £160m per year in additional tax revenues, and:

·       Boosting productivity in Scotland’s retail and wholesale sector could also see a £600m increase in GDP and tens of millions of pounds in additional tax revenue.

Read the full report here


wealth of the nation: tackling scotland's productivity challenge

September 2018

The Scottish Policy Foundation co-funded a paper by the Scottish think tank the David Hume Institute into Scotland's productivity challenge. The paper looks at 5 case studies from Sweden, Ireland, Australia, Manchester and London where productivity was improved, and finds that a ruthless focus on evidence, building consensus across the political divide and creating strong institutions were crucial in turning things around. The think tank was given funding by the Scottish Policy Foundation to carry out their research and was also given access to SPF's CGE model of the Scottish economy to test the impact that policy changes to improve productivity would have on Scotland's economy. Read the report here


policy insights for scotland from small advanced economies

June 2018

David Skilling, an economic adviser to governments, firms, and financial institutions, has authored a paper called “Policy insights for Scotland from small advanced economies”, written for the independent think tank Reform Scotland and part-funded by the Scottish Policy Foundation. David Skilling researched other small economies, benchmarked Scotland against them and explored the issues such economies face today and in the future. In the paper he offers a view of the implications for Scotland of a range of policy decisions. Read it here

skills and education to improve productivity

May 2018

The productivity gap is a key policy issue for Scotland. Increasing productivity is generally considered to be the most sustainable way in which living standards can be improved in the long-term. Investing in human capital is accepted as an important way in which productivity can be improved, but how can this be done. This paper uses the Scottish Policy Foundation's CGE model to highlight some of the trade-offs that can arise when seeking to boost levels of productivity through investment in education and skills. 

Download the full briefing paper here


April 2018

Tax revenues that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament now account for almost half of the Scottish Government's day to day budget. Decisions on tax affect both the resources available to the Government and also the behaviour of individuals and businesses in Scotland. This paper summarises some of the changes to the tax regime in Scotland and considers issues specific to each tax. Our macro-economic model of the Scottish economy can be used to examine the wide economic effects of changes to devolved fiscal policy. This paper uses a simple increase in income tax as an illustration.

Download the full briefing paper here

scotland's exports

April 2018

Boosting Scotland's export performance is crucial to delivering faster sustainable growth. Whilst our economy has many strengths, Scotland arguably lags behind many comparable nations both in terms of the value and diversity of its export base. With Brexit likely to impact upon current trade patterns, it is more important than ever to create a business environment that is conducive to greater internationalisation. This paper summarises Scotland's current export performance and uses our macro-economic model of the Scottish economy to illustrate the implications of a rise in exports.

Export to GDP ratios in select OECD countries.png

Download the full briefing paper here