LONDON – Staff at the Bank of England studied the writing style
of Dr. Seuss as part of a push to make its communications
more easily understood by the general public.
The central bank analysed the children’s author after finding
that just one in five people could read and understand its
inflation report, Minouche Shafik, the former deputy governor for
markets at the central bank, said at the Hay Festival on Sunday.
“Dr. Seuss was a master at using simple language, at getting
children to read,” Shafik, speaking on role of experts in policy
Technocratic institutions such as central banks are struggling
with a wave of political populism, which favours policy-making
based on emotions rather than evidence, Shafik said.
Shafik said that economists often fail to engage with
politicians and the public because of their dry, logical manner,
and should do more to tell stories. “Most experts need to
challenge themselves,” said Shafik, “they must maintain quality
standards and also embrace uncertainty.”
The Bank of England’s push to make itself understood comes as a
similar initiative by the World Bank’s chief economist, Paul
Romer, ended in him stepping down as manager of its research
Romer told staff of the Development Economics Group to write more
clearly and succinctly, limiting the use of the word “and.”
Romer said that “everyone in the Bank should work
toward producing prose that is clear and concise. This will save
time and effort for a reader,”
in remarks reported by The Guardian. “Thinking about the
reader is an example of what I mean when I say that we should
develop our sense of empathy,” he said.
But the 600 economists in the division, the budget of which
Romer had already cut by $1 million, resisted the changes and he
will be replaced as its head by Kristalina Georgieva in
according to Bloomberg News.