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Economists join together to answer key policy questions on the COVID-19 crisis

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Academics from the University of Strathclyde are part of a new cross-institutional initiative that seeks to inform policy-makers and the public about the economics of the COVID-19 crisis.

The new Economics Observatory (ECO) seeks to provide sound and non-partisan advice to inform decision-makers across all parts of society, from government to individuals, about the choices they face in dealing with the crisis and the recovery.

The ECO will draw on expertise from the Fraser of Allander Institute, along with a wide range of other research organisations and Universities, to gather and evaluate the best possible data and evidence and use these as the basis for a large series of published Q&A articles.

Professor Graeme Roy, Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute and Head of the Department of Economics, is among the team of Lead Editors who will help to steer the direction of the initiative.

Professor Roy said: “The UK is currently at the start of what could be the deepest recession in living memory and the government faces a daunting task of navigating a route to recovery.

“Economics research will play a key role on understanding and responding to the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through the Economics Observatory we want to help policy-makers and the public to interpret the key evidence and to understand where there is – and is not – consensus in the economics research community.”

On the date of launch, the website had over 20 articles, covering important questions such as:

  • The epidemic and the economy: what are the trade-offs?
  • Why is uncertainty so damaging for the economy?
  • What should we do about price gouging?
  • How will the Covid-19 crisis affect the NHS?
  • Which firms and industries have been most affected by lockdown?
  • What is the likely future role of the state in the UK economy?
  • When should schools re-open?
  • What is the impact of the crisis on UK university finances?
  • What are the lessons for today from running a wartime economy?

The ECO is being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.