Economics & Finance

COVID-19: an opportunity to digitise property transactions

Private property rights facilitate greater access to credit. Using data on Russian businesses, a recent study finds that private land rights increase access to external financing by 40 per cent and promote larger investment by as much as 60 per cent.

When property rights are not secure, fear of expropriation may drive entrepreneurs to delay or rescind investment decisions. Researchers […]

How to keep up wellbeing during the pandemic

The World Wellbeing Panel (WWP) promotes wellbeing as the ultimate purpose of all major decision-makers, particularly government. It routinely asks questions of relevance to wellbeing policy of its panel of 50 world experts. WWP’s latest survey asked for advice on “how to maintain wellbeing during isolation while facing huge emotional stress from the threat of the COVID-19 virus”.

Twenty-six members […]

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    Raising money from “the rich” doesn’t require increasing tax rates

Raising money from “the rich” doesn’t require increasing tax rates

A progressive tax system takes a larger amount from those most able to pay: someone who receives £100,000 should pay a larger share of that in tax than someone earning £10,000. A horizontally-neutral tax system takes the same amount from people with the same level of resources: two people receiving £100,000 should pay the same tax. The UK income […]

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    How to deal with higher debt levels and falling prices post-lockdown

How to deal with higher debt levels and falling prices post-lockdown

In response to the economic fallout from the coronavirus lockdown, public debt has soared in many advanced economies. Against this backdrop, many argued that we should not fear rising debt because inflation is an unlikely scenario and because of current low interest rates. Yet, less attention has been given to the potential implications of higher levels of debt and […]

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    Reshoring in the age of coronavirus: beware of the hurdles in leaving China

Reshoring in the age of coronavirus: beware of the hurdles in leaving China

We are in a global crisis. It’s a matter of life and death. There are still shortages of supplies and equipment around the world including acute shortages in America. We know there is plenty of manufacturing capability around the world for consumer goods, PPE, testing equipment, and medical devices such as ventilators. But flexing global supply chains is complicated […]

Regulatory reforms: the silver lining after COVID-19

Governments resort to regulatory reform in difficult times, when their fiscal balances deteriorate. The COVID-19 crisis has already resulted in large fiscal deficits for 2020. These deficits are likely to worsen by the end of the year as social distancing rules stay into effect for a further period. Few firms can survive a protracted lockdown or collapsed revenues due […]

Why the UK needs a fund to support angel-backed startups

The Future Fund is the UK’s flagship programme aiming to support startups that are affected by Covid-19. The demand for the Fund has been staggering; on its first day of operation, the applications amounted to almost twice the capital committed (£250M) by the government. While the significant uptake may be construed as an indication of the fund’s success, questions […]

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    High-impact entrepreneurs are key to overcoming the economic fallout from COVID-19

High-impact entrepreneurs are key to overcoming the economic fallout from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to our societies. This defining moment is pushing us to reconsider and change the way we live; and ultimately, this will mean innovating. Indeed, innovation will play a crucial role in resolving this crisis and in ensuring a sustainable and inclusive recovery. When I think about Europe before the crisis, and after […]

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    How governments can ease the entry of ‘recovery entrepreneurs’

How governments can ease the entry of ‘recovery entrepreneurs’

The focus of Covid-19 economic responses so far has been on assisting existing businesses and their employees with weathering the crisis. In particular, the priority of governments has rightly been on saving existing jobs. Little is done yet to help new companies and employment opportunities emerge. Yet we know from Joseph Schumpeter that crises are a period of creative […]

Do contactless cards really change the way we pay?

Cash still accounts for a significant share of payment transactions in most advanced economies (Bagnall et al. 2016). However, it is a widely held presumption that the recent innovations of contactless, mobile and instant payments will accelerate the move to a cashless society. This would pose challenges to central banks who have a mandate to guarantee a safe, efficient […]

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    How to reorganise the World Health Organization – and how to finance it

How to reorganise the World Health Organization – and how to finance it

The writing on the wall from the Covid-19 pandemic is the critical role that detecting, tracing, and containing contagion for infectious diseases can play in saving lives across the globe. Yet, the World Health Organization’s hobbled and weak handling of the crisis has left a lot to be desired. The W.H.O. has arguably failed to weather this crisis, but […]

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    Knighthoods for the rich, sanctions for the poor: time for a new settlement

Knighthoods for the rich, sanctions for the poor: time for a new settlement

When he was London’s mayor, Boris Johnson called for the nation’s super-rich to be awarded ‘automatic knighthoods’. In contrast, David Cameron’s government launched a rolling programme of benefit cuts, together with new punitive rules on benefit entitlement.

Rich and poor citizens have long been treated by different standards, but that gap has ballooned in recent times. Implicit in the social […]

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    A macro crisis like none before: a call for global coordination

A macro crisis like none before: a call for global coordination

This is based on my personal perspective of financial crises as an academic, financial practitioner (investment banking and investment management) and policy advisor. I have been arguing (since early February) that this crisis is different from any other economic or financial crisis, pandemic, or war. The reason is apparent and simple: the expanse and impact of the crisis across […]

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    What past epidemics tell us about public trust in science — and scientists

What past epidemics tell us about public trust in science — and scientists

Covid-19 will change everything. One effect, it has been argued, will be to reverse the secular trend of challenging the value of scientific expertise. “The coronavirus crisis has put a spotlight on the importance of science in supporting our nation’s wellbeing” (Shepherd, 2020). At the same time, the pandemic has put on display certain leaders’ “longstanding practice of undermining […]

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    Technology must be part of the recovery, but it isn’t the solution

Technology must be part of the recovery, but it isn’t the solution

The coming months and years are going to be among the most challenging in our lifetime for our economy, our society, and many of us individually. Problems of unemployment, low productivity, declining competitiveness and low innovation will be hard to resolve; harm will be inflicted on people’s working and personal lives. The post-coronavirus labour market is going to be […]

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    When public agencies are free to decide, entrepreneurs are more likely to get a licence

When public agencies are free to decide, entrepreneurs are more likely to get a licence

It is well established that government regulation of markets can pose significant barriers to entry. Entrepreneurs are disproportionately burdened by regulation not only because they lack resources and familiarity to navigate regulatory hoops, but also because policies designed to regulate markets are often influenced by and for the benefit of incumbent firms.

However, despite this disadvantage, entrepreneurs do manage to […]

Green finance: investors need transparency

The effects of climate change have become increasingly palpable for the general public in recent years, with wildfires having destroyed large parts of the Amazon rainforest and the Australian bush, killing more than a billion animals. The attention on the topic, including the need to reverse the inexorable decline in biodiversity and promote sustainable livestock production, has been heightened […]

Climate change, Covid-19, and our existential challenge

Covid-19 is the most significant economic, social, and public health issue of the present time, posing unprecedented challenges to economic policymakers. While the pandemic has caused havoc in the world economy, with major losses of human life, it is also reshaping our view towards the environment. The virus has thrown a spanner in the works of the global economy […]

Central bank digital currency: the devil is in the details

In the public debate over central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), the design is often implicitly assumed or overlooked. We outline the main CBDC design features and assess how effective they are in achieving policymakers’ objectives.

Policy objectives

CBDC sponsors’ arguments can be classified into three main groups. First is the need for a digital form of central bank liability to […]

How to unfurlough Britain

Over six million people, approximately a quarter of the UK’s total workforce, have been furloughed since the introduction of the Job Retention Scheme on 25 March, designed to keep businesses afloat and stem mass redundancies. A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey indicated that over half of employees who had been furloughed would otherwise have been made redundant. As […]