Nicholas Barr has an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He is Professor of Public Economics at the London School of Economics, the author of numerous books and articles, including The Economics of the Welfare State (Oxford University Press, 5th edition, 2012), Reforming Pensions: Principles and Policy Choices (with Peter Diamond) (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), and Financing Higher Education: Answers from the UK (with Iain Crawford), (London and New York: Routledge, 2005). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Social Security Review and an Associate Editor of CESifo Economic Studies and the Australian Economic Review.
Alongside his academic career is wide-ranging involvement in policy. He worked at the World Bank from 1990-92 on the design of income transfers and health finance in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, and from 1995-96 as a principal author of the World Bank's World Development Report 1996: From Plan to Market. More recently, he edited Labor Markets and Social Policy in Central and Eastern Europe: The accession and beyond, World Bank, 2005, which draws together the World Bank's experience from the beginning of post-communist transition to the time that eight former-Communist countries joined the EU. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the Fiscal Affairs Department at the International Monetary Fund and a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Councils on Demographic Shifts and on Ageing Society.
Since the mid 1980s he has been active in the international debate about financing higher education, about which he has written extensively, advocating a system of income-contingent student loans administered alongside income tax or social security contributions. In the UK, he argued for many years for tuition fees fully covered by income-contingent loans - arguments that culminated in the 2006 reforms in England. He was an adviser to the Australian West Committee, has contributed to policy in New Zealand, advised the Hungarian government on the design of their student loan system and contributed to the debate about reform in Chile.
He is also involved in pensions policy, with continuing activity in Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America. He has advised governments in the UK, and in Chile, China and South Africa (where he also contributed to the Lund Committee on Child and Family Support), and is a Trustee of HelpAge International.
A range of academic and policy writing can be found on http://econ.lse.ac.uk/staff/nb/