The NIESR blog is a forum for Institute research staff to provide an informed, independent view on current economic issues and recent NIESR research. The views expressed here are those of the authors, and are not necessarily those of the Institute.
Massive changes in monetary policy in the United States and the United Kingdom have occurred since the middle of March, when the seriousness of the coronavirus epidemic was becoming apparent. The changes have not been fully explained by either central bank, let alone justified.
The world is undergoing an unprecedented shock as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the widespread lockdowns. As major world economies are being put on hold, millions of jobs and incomes are being lost, which has created an imperative for economic policy actions to counteract the falls in demand and increased market uncertainty.
In the wake of Covid-19 related nursery and school closures, the quality of the home learning environment is more important than ever. We know that very young children depend on high quality interaction to support their cognitive, language, social and emotional development and the current crisis only serves to emphasise the need for good quality programmes that support families in providing the best start for their children.
I propose a universal freeze on balance sheets. This would be similar to a debt standstill but here applied to all obligations including rents and pension contributions. For struggling firms, the policy will take the form of temporary cessation of activities that could have legal status and allow them to continue at the end of the period of lockdown.
A big, targeted, immediate, global ﬁscal response is needed to minimize the macroeconomic fallout worldwide.
A cacophony of economists is now calling for “whatever it takes” on the fiscal because, notwithstanding the many steps to be taken on the monetary and financial sides, the core of the macroeconomic policy response to the pandemic has to be fiscal.
But exactly how much, when, how, how long, by whom? are not just “details, dear boy, details”. Absent specifics, such calls are mere grandstanding. It is time to get specific.
Expectations are high for the upcoming Budget to deliver on a number of ambitious promises – from ‘levelling up’ the UK economy to raising long-term growth and improving public services. After more than a decade of dismal pay growth – real-term earnings have only last month returned to levels last reached in 2008 – British workers may wonder whether the Budget will help improve pay.
The votes have been counted and the results are in and we now know that the Conservatives will lead an administration with a mandate strong enough to last for a whole Parliamentary term. The deep question though is whether they can get the economy moving beyond its Brexit impasse and out of the doldrums, in which it has been stuck since the financial crisis. During the campaign we saw the consequences of the Brexit impasse across a raft of policy areas.
The UK minimum wage has been a great success story since its introduction in 1999. Twenty years on, it is at risk of becoming overly politicised in a growing arms race between the two main parties, both eager to claim the credit for boosting the earnings of millions of low-paid workers across Britain.
This piece was first published by Prospect here
The 2019 election campaign is drawing to a close, but rather surprisingly, immigration has fallen the radar during the past month, overshadowed by the broader Brexit process, anti-Semitism, calls for the Prime Minister to be interviewed by Andrew Neil and so on.
Given the febrile nature of the debate over Brexit in the run-up to one of the most contentious general elections in recent memory, it is hardly surprising that NIESR’s well received and widely-accepted analysis of the impact on the UK economy and people’s livelihoods of leaving the European Union has been criticised in some quarters.
Brexit will require the UK to change its international trading relations. New norms will need to be established both for trade with continental Europe and other trading partners. New partnerships will need to be established. The UK may no longer remain a member the European Customs Union and the Single Market and may not be able to rely on trading arrangements that have been built up through membership of the Union or Single Market. The gravitational pull of the European market will remain.
The impact of Brexit on the UK economy has been analysed in much detail and NIESR has contributed various model-based analyses (Pain and Young 2004; Ebell, Hurst and Warren 2016; Hantzsche, Kara and Young 2018). Less well understood are implications for the rest of Europe and beyond. This blog post reviews the existing evidence and provides new estimates of the global impact of Brexit.
It is common practice in scientific research to check the robustness of findings and test the limitations of results. Much of this robustness checking involves assessing modelling parameters and thinking carefully about mechanisms. But there are also risks to model forecasts that lie outside those that can be traditionally modelled or quantified. Economists tend to call this ‘Knightian uncertainty’. This blog post explores how a shifting political landscape could generate this kind of uncertainty and might cause the impact of Brexit on the UK economy to be fundamentally different compared to estimates NIESR has published in the past.
Australia's points based-immigration system has become very fashionable among our country’s leaders, a veritable political mantra, repeated alongside ‘brightest and best’, which was mentioned no less than five times in the immigration White Paper.
When visiting my sister in Rotterdam, I saw countless vessels entering and leaving the harbour, carrying goods of all kinds – from wine to cloth to mobile phones. Part of that trade is directly related to the Dutch economy, another part is distributed across the old continent or will set sail for the new world. But what part exactly?
Last week, Chancellor Sajid Javid announced a fast-tracked one-year spending round to pin down expenditure limits for government departments in the 2020-21 fiscal year. According to his announcements, the round will account for spending commitments made by the Prime Minister since he came to office while continuing “to keep borrowing under control and debt falling by meeting the existing fiscal rules”
In the first 142 meetings of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee since it was established in 1997, Bank Rate was changed 44 times. In the 113 meetings since the depths of the global financial crisis, there have only been three changes.
Imagine you are a policymaker tasked with developing an industrial strategy for your region. Where do you look for evidence to understand your specialisation profile? Or perhaps you own a business specialising in the manufacture of medical devices connected to the internet of things, and you’ve just secured funding allowing you to scale-up and relocate.
Freeports are in the news again after the government unveiled plans to create up to ten of them across the UK after Brexit. Freeports are designated areas within the geographic boundary of a country that are subject to simplified customs procedures on imports. Firms importing goods into them can typically defer duties until the goods enter free circulation or are used within the freeport area