From 1965 until 1968 he was a mathematics teacher at Hendon County School.
He was a postgraduate student at the London School of Economics, where he took the degree of Master of Science and was awarded the Ely Devons Prize. He worked at the London School of Economics from 1970 until 1984, and again from 1998 until 2006, initially as Lecturer (1970–77), Reader (1977–79), and Professor of Economics (1979–84).
From 1984 until 1998 he was Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, Professor of Economics in the University of Oxford, and Director of the University of Oxford Institute of Economics and Statistics.
From 1998 until 2006 he returned to the London School of Economics as School Professor of Economics.
He was a member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) from June 2000 to May 2006, when he was replaced by David Blanchflower effective in the June 2006 meeting. In his final six meetings on the MPC, Nickell was the only member in favor of a decrease in the repo rate by 25 basis points; all the other members voted to maintain the repo rate at 4.5% with the exception of David Walton who supported an increase by 25 basis points in Nickell's final meeting.
In 2004 he became a Research Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor.
In June 2007, when interviewed on the state of the UK housing market he was quoted as saying, "It might settle back a little, or remain relatively flat for a bit, but I don't think there's any fundamental overvaluation. Over the next few years it might keep on edging upwards.". The Bank of England estimated that by Q1 2009, due to declining house prices, 7% of owner-occupied mortgagors were in negative equity, equivalent to around 700,000 households.
HM The Queen appointed him Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the New Year's Honours List 2007 for services to economics.
He is a Fellow of the British Academy (elected 1993), a Fellow of the Econometric Society (1980), a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Economic Association (1997), and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006). He is a past President of the Royal Economic Society.
In a February 2008 Bloomberg interview, shortly before the start of the worst recession since the Great Depression, he said: 'The actual size of the downturn is minute, how big is it going to be? I don't know, but it won't be very big.' 'My instinct is that a slowdown in the British economy won't be that slow, I wouldn't do 50 basis points, or a 0.5 percentage point cut, at tomorrow's decision. And the chances of them doing 50 are zero. It makes it look as if you think there's something really serious going on here.'
A list of publications from 1999 until 2004 is available here: Professor Stephen Nickell, London School of Economics.
- Blanchflower to replace Bank's Nickell. Reuters. March 22, 2006.
- Minutes December 2005
- Minutes January 2006
- Minutes February 2006
- Minutes March 2006
- Minutes April 2006
- Minutes May 2006
- "Appointment at National Housing and Planning Advice Unit". planningresource.net. 23 November 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Debrett's People of Today (12th edn, London: Debrett's Peerage, 1999), p. 1444
- Institute for the Study of Labor
- Stephen John Nickell FBA, CV complete up to 2006 (11 pages)
- HM Treasury
|The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee|
|Governor: Sir Edward George (June 1997–June 2003)|
|June 2000 – September 2000:||George | King | Plenderleith | Clementi | Julius | Vickers | Wadhwani | Allsopp | Nickell|
|October 2000 – May 2001:||George | King | Plenderleith | Clementi | Julius | Wadhwani | Allsopp | Nickell | Bean|
|June 2001 – May 2002:||George | King | Plenderleith | Clementi | Wadhwani | Allsopp | Nickell | Bean | Barker|
|June 2002:||George | King | Clementi | Allsopp | Nickell | Bean | Barker | Tucker|
|July 2002 – August 2002:||George | King | Clementi | Allsopp | Nickell | Bean | Barker | Tucker | Bell|
|September 2002:||George | King | Allsopp | Nickell | Bean | Barker | Tucker | Bell|
|October 2002 – May 2003:||George | King | Allsopp | Nickell | Bean | Barker | Tucker | Bell | Large|
|June 2003:||George | King | Nickell | Bean | Barker | Tucker | Bell | Large | Lambert|
|Governor: Mervyn King (June 2003–present)|
|July 2003 – June 2005:||King | Nickell | Bean | Barker | Tucker | Bell | Large | Lambert | Lomax|
|July 2005 – January 2006:||King | Nickell | Bean | Barker | Tucker | Large | Lambert | Lomax | Walton|
|February 2006 – March 2006:||King | Nickell | Bean | Barker | Tucker | Lambert | Lomax | Walton | Gieve|
|April 2006 – May 2006:||King | Nickell | Bean | Barker | Tucker | Lomax | Walton | Gieve|