Bank of England's ex deputy governor Minouche Shafik explains how Dr Seuss books helped it better explain the economy

 
Lynsey Barber
Follow Lynsey
US-POLITICS-LETS READ-LETS MOVE-OBAMA
Green eggs and rate rises? No one likes surprises (Source: Getty)

Horton may have heard a Who, but Hay Festival audiences were treated to a tale of how the Bank of England turned to Dr Seuss for inspiration.

The literary festival held over the bank holiday weekend heard from ex-deputy governor Dame Nemat Shafik, known as Minouche, who confirmed the children's book was used to help it make reports more readable.

"Dr Seuss was a genius of getting young people to read by using very simple language and very short words," she said.

"We did a little research at the Bank of England on the linguistic complexity of our own publications and found that our typical publications, like our inflation report, were only accessible to one in five of the population of the UK, given average literacy levels. Clearly that’s not good enough. It’s not about dumbing down … the people who really know their stuff can explain things in simple and accessible language."

An analyst last year said the books, beloved by children and adults and famed around the world, were a good example for the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street to follow after it found one sentence in a report that was an eye watering 77 words long.

"There appears to be plenty of scope for those in the financial sector to improve the accessibility of their work," said Jonathan Fullwood.

Related articles