Commentary: Whither After Covid-19 and Brexit: A Social Science Perspective

Pub. Date
22 February, 2021

The country is facing the twin traumas of managing two exits. Exit from the Covid-19 crisis and from the European Union. Of course, much of the world is dealing with the first and the European Union has also had the latter with which to contend. But the United Kingdom is set to lose permanently some 5–8 per cent of national income as a result of the scarring from these events. There can be little doubt that it is a dire moment in our national history. But as well as permitting statements that allow us to calibrate the impact of extraordinary events such as these, how can social science help us understand the nature of these shocks and provide policy ideas to mitigate their effects? In the spirit of NIESR’s Beveridge-inspired objective, this Commentary provides suggestions and argues for a more resilient and robust socioeconomic eco-system. By resilience I mean an economic structure that can return to stability in response to shocks and by robustness choosing a set of policy choices that are not undermined by the simple observation that any single model (or view) is a rough approximation. Such an eco-system will have to run from growing the capacity for basic to applied research all the way to building receptacles for the output in media and government, as well as the development of mechanisms to ensure that government builds robust policy on cultivated, expert insight.