Dame Frances Anne Cairncross, DBE, FRSE, FAcSS (born 30 August 1944 in Otley, England) is a British economist, journalist and academic. She is a Senior Fellow at the School of Public Policy, UCLA. She chairs the Executive Committee of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. From 2004 to 2014, she was the Rector of Exeter College, Oxford.
Education and personal life
Cairncross was born on 30 August 1944 to Mary Frances (née Glynn) and the economist, Sir Alexander Kirkland Cairncross. She attended Laurel Bank School in Glasgow and studied for an MA in History at St Anne's College, Oxford, graduating in 1965. She went on to study for an MA in Economics at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. She holds honorary degrees from Trinity College Dublin, City University, and the universities of Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Loughborough and Kingston. She became a Fellow of St Anne's College in 1993.
Cairncross married journalist Hamish McRae in 1971. The couple have two daughters. Her uncle, John Cairncross was an intelligence officer, spy, double agent and a notable translator of literature. Her brother is the epidemiologist Sandy Cairncross.
From 1973-1984, Cairncross was on the staff of The Guardian newspaper. She was its economics correspondent from 1973-1981 and women's page editor from 1981-1984. Previous to her time at The Guardian she worked at The Times (1967-69) The Banker (1969) and The Observer (1970-73). She was on the staff of The Economist from 1984-2004 working in roles covering the environment, media and public policy. From 1999-2004 she was management editor.
Her book, The Company of the Future (ISBN 1861974051), was published in 2002 by Harvard Business School Press. In March 2003, she won the Institute of Internal Auditors' annual award for business and management journalism. Cairncross is also the author of The Death of Distance (ISBN 0875848060), a study of the economic and social effects of the global communications revolution, first published in 1997 and re-published in a new edition in 2001.
Cairncross was a non-executive director of Stramongate Ltd from 2005-2011 and a presenter of BBC Radio 4's Analysis programme. In 2004-05, Cairncross held the honorary post of High Sheriff of Greater London.
In January 1988, Frances Cairncross and Mary Ellen Synon wrote a news article for the Economist that depicted Ireland as bureaucratic and impoverished. This article caused anger within the Fianna Fáil government of the time. The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs also criticised the piece, stating that the Economist article "did serious damage to the image of Ireland overseas".
Awards and honours
Cairncross has received several awards and honorary degrees from a number universities.
- Honorary DLitt, University of Glasgow (2001)
- Honorary DSc, University of Birmingham (2002)
- European Women of Achievement Award (2002)
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2003)
- Honorary Fellow, St Peter’s College Oxford (2003)
- Honorary degree, Loughborough University (2003)
- Honorary degree, University of London (2003)
- Commander of the Order of the British Empire (2004)
- Honorary degree, Cardiff University (2004)
- Honorary degree, University of Bristol (2004)
- Honorary DPhil, London Metropolitan University (2004)
- Honorary degree, Trinity College, Dublin (2005)
- Honorary DBA, Kingston University (2005)
- Honorary Life Fellow, Royal Society of Arts (2006)
- Honorary degree, University of York (2011)
- Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (2015)
- Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) (2016)
- President's Medal of the British Academy (2018)
- Senior Fellow UCLA School of Public Policy Archived 17 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine; accessed 13 June 2015.
- Who's who (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2017.
- "Degree Speeches - Frances Cairncross". Lboro.ac.uk. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Roy Greenslade "Big names among Independent leavers", guardian.co.uk (blog), 19 July 2013
- "Excerpt from the Book". Acm.org. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- "Exeter College Announces Selection of New Rector". Exeter College. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Andrew Purvis (23 June 2007). "The Guardian". London, UK: The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Sam Smyth, "Mary, Ellen, Quite Contrary". Sunday Independent, 13 March 1990.
- "Paying Tax" The Irish Times, Monday 25 September 1989 (p.9)
- "Eighty-four leading social scientists conferred as Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences". Academy of Social Sciences. 19 October 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
- "Award-winning journalists, prehistorians and world-leading economists honoured with prestigious British Academy prizes and medals". British Academy. 20 August 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
| Rector of Exeter College, Oxford
| High Sheriff of Greater London
Andrew Everard Martin Smith