Expert analysis on the economic impact of Covid-19
We must learn from this coronavirus stress test to better fight future pandemics
Pandemics are nothing new and we should use the experience of coronavirus “as a warning sign and prepare to manage and mitigate the harm that an (inevitable) future pandemic will bring”, says Dr Steve Davies, IEA Head of Education and author of the new report ‘Going Viral’. Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Steve sets out … Continue reading “We must learn from this coronavirus stress test to better fight future pandemics”
The history of pandemics suggests we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg
The traits of coronavirus are “exacerbated by features of contemporary society” but society also offers us some tools to tackle it, says Annabel Denham, Director of Communications at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Writing for City A.M., Annabel summarises ‘Going Viral’, the latest IEA report from Dr Steve Davies, which outlines how we should expect … Continue reading “The history of pandemics suggests we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg”
Prepare for coronavirus second wave, warns think tank
Covid-19 would have “massive long-term social, economic and psychological effects” according to a new IEA report covered by the i newspaper. Going Viral, written by IEA Head of Education Dr Steve Davies, examines the history and economics of pandemics and suggests a second wave is likely, with previous pandemics often having more deaths in this … Continue reading “Prepare for coronavirus second wave, warns think tank”
Covid-19 Across Europe
How is lockdown being regarded by the wider population? What are the economic packages governments are offering? Who is publicly talking about post-coronavirus measures to get the economy going? Which countries are getting it right and what can others learn? Leading think tank heads from across Europe will join Mark Littlewood, Director General at the … Continue reading “Covid-19 Across Europe”
It’s too early to sound the death knell for the British high street
Coronavirus will not necessarily contribute to the downfall of the high street and the picture is more complex, says Annabel Denham, Director of Communications at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Writing for CapX, Annabel notes that a mixture of factors contribute to high street decline – including transport links, housing, availability of local jobs – … Continue reading “It’s too early to sound the death knell for the British high street”
COVID-19: WHO is to blame?
The IEA is delighted to host a Private Webinar with Patrick Basham, who will share with us the contents of his explosive new paper “COVID-19: WHO is to blame?” The World Health Organization (WHO) – the United Nations’ public health agency- has a mandate to establish global health policy, coordinate global responses to health emergencies, … Continue reading “COVID-19: WHO is to blame?”
Financial transaction tax “seriously counterproductive” to economic recovery
As Angela Merkel sets out Germany’s priorities for its presidency of the Council of the European Union, Victoria Hewson said a proposed financial transactions tax would be “seriously counterproductive” to economic recovery. Quoted in City A.M., Victoria, Head of Regulatory Affairs at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said while the tax had been on the … Continue reading “Financial transaction tax “seriously counterproductive” to economic recovery”
Can economists play a role in the coronavirus recovery? with Paul Ormerod
The UK Government’s actions to fight COVID-19 was first headed by the behavioural insight team, where it was believed that desirable behaviours could be achieved, without significantly impacting on day to day activity. Since then, over 16,000 people have lost their lives to the virus. The British public have spent more than 4 weeks in … Continue reading “Can economists play a role in the coronavirus recovery? with Paul Ormerod”
Central planning has failed in this pandemic. The last thing we need is more of it
Civil society and businesses have stepped in where centrally planned government has failed, says Professor Philip Booth, Senior Academic Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Writing for the Telegraph, Philip compares the NHS – with difficulties sourcing and distributing PPE and rejecting help from private companies – and supermarkets which, despite fears of shortages, … Continue reading “Central planning has failed in this pandemic. The last thing we need is more of it”
Rebooting Britain: the regulations to ditch to revive the economy
We should question why it has taken a pandemic to identify regulation, especially in healthcare, that are holding people back from doing their jobs effectively, says Victoria Hewson, IEA Head of Regulatory Affairs. Quoted in the Daily Telegraph, Victoria said “in terms of the public sector the changes have been quite huge. Parts of the … Continue reading “Rebooting Britain: the regulations to ditch to revive the economy”
#IEAsolation Episode 5: Covid-19: Should China pay the price?
In the fifth episode of the #IEAsolation series, the panel consider the conduct of the Chinese government in the weeks after the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. China has been widely criticised for covering up the initial outbreak and has since adopted “mask diplomacy,” sending medical supplies and flying Chinese medical teams to foreign countries to … Continue reading “#IEAsolation Episode 5: Covid-19: Should China pay the price?”
The impact of lockdowns on the labour force participation of older workers
The continuing lockdown is going to have a devastating effect on the livelihood of many groups in the population. Attention has focused on younger groups, particularly those with low incomes or in areas, such as retailing, hotels and accommodation and bars and restaurants, which will be slow to recover from the coming downturn. Understandably, very … Continue reading “The impact of lockdowns on the labour force participation of older workers”
‘The Impact of Coronavirus on Populism and Democracy’ with Karin Svanborg-Sjövall
Across Europe and the World we have seen drastically different responses to the Coronavirus crisis. Around a third of the global population is now living under lockdown and even Sweden, one of the few countries that had so far resisted calls to implement major limitations of this kind, is now rushing through emergency legislation. What … Continue reading “‘The Impact of Coronavirus on Populism and Democracy’ with Karin Svanborg-Sjövall”
NHS workers should be wary of NHS populism
One of insights of UK political strategists of all stripes has been the necessity of paying homage to the idea of the National Health Service. Healthcare is consistently in the top five issues the British public say to pollsters they care about, satisfaction with services delivered reasonably high, and the institution has bounced back from … Continue reading “NHS workers should be wary of NHS populism”
Mark Littlewood on what we can learn from Covid-19: The Definite Article Episode 1
Welcome to the first of our new The Definite Article show with Director General Mark Littlewood. We discussed live Mark’s latest column for The Times: ‘We can learn from how other countries tackled the pandemic after it has passed’. You can also read the full article here.
We can learn from how other countries tackled the pandemic after it has passed
One “small upside” of the coronavirus pandemic will be the data gathered and we must use this to improve the way our public services are run, says Mark Littlewood, Director-General at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Writing his fortnightly column for The Times, Mark says “only when systems are tested to the extent they are … Continue reading “We can learn from how other countries tackled the pandemic after it has passed”
Lockdown limbo: Which way out? – #IEAsolation Episode 4
The UK is nearing the end of the initial 3-week lockdown announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but there is no end in sight. Many expect the current restrictions to be extending but there are growing voices clamouring for a relaxation of the rules, arguing the lockdown was an overreaction and is doing unnecessary damage … Continue reading “Lockdown limbo: Which way out? – #IEAsolation Episode 4”
The History and Economics of Global Pandemics
The Coronavirus pandemic has already had a major impact, in Britain and around the world. The question though is what kinds of long term impact might it have? History is our best guide here. How similar is this to previous global pandemics? How did we react in the past and how should that inform what … Continue reading “The History and Economics of Global Pandemics”
#IEAsolation Episode 2: Thatcherism under fire: Can the ideology survive COVID-19?
The media got very excited yesterday about a line in Boris Johnson’s recent video update, where he says the country’s response to Covid-19 shows “there really is such a thing as society.” Immediately journalists jumped upon the remark as if to say this signals a step change from Thatcherite “no such thing as society” mantra. … Continue reading “#IEAsolation Episode 2: Thatcherism under fire: Can the ideology survive COVID-19?”
Coronomics, with Dr Steve Davies
Covid-19 is threatening lives and economies across the globe. As the UK government enforces social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, a sharp slowdown in economic activity is not only inevitable but necessary from a public health perspective. Ministers have been charged with the unenviable task of ensuring that hitting pause now does … Continue reading “Coronomics, with Dr Steve Davies”
#IEAsolation episode 1: The mad rules waived because of the coronavirus!
INTRODUCING… #IEAsolation! The IEA’s thinkers, economists and spokespeople are isolated along with the rest of the country, but that hasn’t stopped the classical liberal thoughts and ideas that normally emanate from our office in Westminster! Join us as we react to the weekly madness unleashed by the response to coronavirus. In thinking about how Westminster … Continue reading “#IEAsolation episode 1: The mad rules waived because of the coronavirus!”
Who’s really ‘politicising’ a crisis?
“Whenever a crisis of any sort comes along, you can bet your bottom dollar people will start accusing other people of “politicising” a difficult moment, or using it for “political point-scoring””, says Dr Kristian Niemietz, Head of Political Economy at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Writing for CapX, Kristian notes that while people often accuse … Continue reading “Who’s really ‘politicising’ a crisis?”
UBI-style cash payments for individuals would “go some way” to helping households stay afloat
In normal times, cash payments regardless of individual need would be too expensive, poorly targeted, and distortionary, says IEA Economics Fellow Julian Jessop. However, as Julian argues in a debate column for City AM, these are not normal times, and “an initial sum payment of, say, £1,000 to each person of work age would go … Continue reading “UBI-style cash payments for individuals would “go some way” to helping households stay afloat”
Some classical liberal thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic
Apart from concerns for our neighbours, friends, families and mankind, it goes without saying that the current pandemic and the responses of individuals, families, communities and governments pose challenges for thinkers of different political and economic traditions, especially classical liberals. Among classical liberals there is a natural scepticism of government intervention, but to different degrees. … Continue reading “Some classical liberal thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic”
The economics of panic buying
No-one can have failed to notice the half-empty supermarket shelves and long queues for essentials. Loo rolls even rivalled flowers as the Mother’s Day gift of choice. Fortunately, this is one phase of the coronavirus crisis which should be over soon. There has been a marked difference between what people say is socially acceptable and … Continue reading “The economics of panic buying”
Maybe rules that are waived to beat the virus shouldn’t have been there at all
“Although there are ominous dark clouds gathering, there are already a small number of silver linings that might help in pointing the way” writes IEA Director General Mark Littlewood. In his biweekly column for The Times, Mark argues that while we face restrictions on our traditional civil liberties, governments are “simultaneously engaged in a fairly … Continue reading “Maybe rules that are waived to beat the virus shouldn’t have been there at all”
“Corona ’95”: what if the Coronavirus had hit us 25 years earlier?
I promise that this isn’t one of those schmaltzy “Look on the bright side”/”There is a silver lining to all this” articles. Coronavirus has no bright side, and there is no silver lining. But over the past couple of days, I have become a bit more grateful for the technologies and technology-based services that are … Continue reading ““Corona ’95”: what if the Coronavirus had hit us 25 years earlier?”
The Job Retention Scheme needs some more tweaking
With businesses ordered to close and workers to self-isolate, the government is attempting to protect the wages of those impacted to avoid them breaking quarantine to go job-hunting. However, as the IEA’s chief operating officer argues for City AM, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme “needs some more tweaking”. Unchanged, it could do significant damage to … Continue reading “The Job Retention Scheme needs some more tweaking”
COVID-19 will have long-term impacts on mental health. Are we prepared for that?
The COVID-19 pandemic is delivering a deep, severe shock to the global economy. Millions of people face an uncertain future, with no idea when (or, indeed, if) they will be able to return to work or see family members again. The effects will be felt in every home across Britain. Current measures are rightly focused on the physical health of the nation. Lockdowns, school closures, handwashing advice, … Continue reading “COVID-19 will have long-term impacts on mental health. Are we prepared for that?”
Ignore the self-publicists, nobody has been ‘vindicated’ by coronavirus
Economic nationalists and “communitarians” who are feeling vindicated by the coronavirus pandemic, claiming globalisation is responsible for its spread, are “generic, anti-capitalist rants” who tell us nothing about the virus and its impact, says Dr Kristian Niemietz, Head of Political Economy at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Writing for CapX, Kristian argues “COVID-19 does not … Continue reading “Ignore the self-publicists, nobody has been ‘vindicated’ by coronavirus”
The costs and benefits of coronavirus policies need to be weighed
The government has said it will “do whatever it takes” over the coronavirus outbreak. That might have been thought to be mere rhetoric but the government’s unprecedented actions – amounting almost to a national house arrest – suggest that they actually mean it. But is this the right approach? I don’t mean has the government … Continue reading “The costs and benefits of coronavirus policies need to be weighed”
Coronavirus will only ‘revolutionise’ working habits of the privileged
For the “great majority” of those locked-down at home, normal working is impossible, writes IEA Editorial and Research Fellow Prof Len Shackleton for The Telegraph. We should be looking at “incentivising and acommodating” people into different sectors of the economy, where there are vacancies such as farming or in the NHS. Read the full article … Continue reading “Coronavirus will only ‘revolutionise’ working habits of the privileged”
Pass the Remote
In recent years there has been a trend towards greater incidence of homeworking. This has been driven by enhanced technological possibilities, but also by supply and demand factors as employers try to save on office costs and workers seek to reduce travelling time and have a different work-life balance. There is some evidence that homeworking … Continue reading “Pass the Remote”
A home working revolution? Not so fast
Studies show working from home can have a positive effect on productivity and lead to a reduction in sick leave but we shouldn’t expect coronavirus to revolutionise our working lives, says Emma Revell, Head of Communications at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Writing for City A.M., Emma argues that those suggesting we may never return … Continue reading “A home working revolution? Not so fast”
How should we pay for all this extra government spending?
Every pillar of a free society is under threat during the current pandemic. To avoid bad long-term economic outcomes and further threats to our liberty, we need to diagnose what kind of economic event this is. Covid-19 is a supply shock. Huge amounts of capacity are being taken out of the economy. It would not … Continue reading “How should we pay for all this extra government spending?”
Is the lockdown worth it?
Toby Young has been given plenty of stick for an article which asked whether the UK government has overreacted to the coronavirus crisis by locking down the economy, and which concluded that it had. In my view, he was right to pose the question, but gave the wrong answer. The thrust of his argument is … Continue reading “Is the lockdown worth it?”
National insurance is run like a Ponzi scheme. It’s time to get back to basics
Although eligibility for benefits retains a small element of the contributory principle “national insurance contributions are now, to all intents and purposes, merely another form of general taxation”, says Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs. Writing his fortnightly column for The Times, Mark argues that once the coronavirus pandemic is over … Continue reading “National insurance is run like a Ponzi scheme. It’s time to get back to basics”
Don’t be seduced by Big Government
When once in a blue moon events such as coronavirus occur, it is right that government does all it can to protect lives, but our leaders “must ensure that any economic measures are put in place only to help their citizens and do not impede future economic activity” says the IEA’s Director General Mark Littlewood. Writing … Continue reading “Don’t be seduced by Big Government”
Beware the Covid-19 nannies
Public health groups have quickly realised the public are willing to temporarily sacrifice liberty for safety and seized the opportunity to push pet policies as a help or solution to the coronavirus crisis, says Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics for the Institute of Economic Affairs. Writing for The Spectator USA, Christopher gives examples of … Continue reading “Beware the Covid-19 nannies”
Corona trade-offs: some issues with “test, test, test” and “track and trace”
This past week, testing for Covid-19, or the lack of it, has been the main focus of criticism of the government’s handling of the pandemic. Some of this criticism is undoubtedly deserved. A report by the Adam Smith Institute found that “The early decision [by health authorities] to centralise testing to a single Public Health … Continue reading “Corona trade-offs: some issues with “test, test, test” and “track and trace””
Trump is right: the rotten World Health Organisation should be reformed or abolished
The WHO has been criticised for mishandling epidemics before, but it’s response to Covid-19 has been “dangerously inept and often bizarre”, says the IEA’s Head of Lifestyle Economics, Christopher Snowdon. Writing for The Telegraph, Chris argues that Donald Trump is “right to threaten to defund the WHO”, and Britain should follow America’s lead. “If it … Continue reading “Trump is right: the rotten World Health Organisation should be reformed or abolished”
In defence of “short selling”
It is understandable that some people are on the lookout for villains to blame in this time of national crisis – and who better than City ‘fat cats’ who are ‘profiting from the misery of others’? But it usually only takes a moment of serious thought to realise that most of these attacks are ludicrous. … Continue reading “In defence of “short selling””
The WHO faces an existential question: reform or wither away
While the WHO is blameless for the initiation of the coronavirus crisis, it is clear that the WHO has “repeatedly dropped the ball on fighting infectious diseases”, says the IEA’s Director of Communications, Annabel Denham. Writing for CapX, Annabel argues that the WHO has “failed to focus on real health crises” and must be held to … Continue reading “The WHO faces an existential question: reform or wither away”
Will COVID-19 prepare us for permanent eco-austerity?
The green Left are very excited by the pandemic. As well as limiting population growth, a long-held ambition of their Malthusian faction, they believe the authoritarian response of many Governments provides a template for future controls to limit carbon emissions and other forms of pollution. “Look at this” some are saying to the politicians, “no … Continue reading “Will COVID-19 prepare us for permanent eco-austerity?”
The WHO is long overdue a kick up the backside and this is the right time to do it
Donald Trump’s withdrawing of funding from the World Health Organisation could kick start long overdue reform and “[the] WHO should promise to drop its obsessions with political correctness and the nanny state and return to its core mission of tackling infectious disease without fear or favour”, says Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the … Continue reading “The WHO is long overdue a kick up the backside and this is the right time to do it”
Britain ranks low in the fight against Covid-19
The question of which healthcare systems have coped best with the coronavirus is a crucial one, but “the sacred status of the NHS” will likely prohibit discussions over potential reform in the UK, says the IEA’s Head of Political Economy, Dr Kristian Niemietz. Writing for The Sunday Telegraph, Kristian argues that “mixed economy systems, which … Continue reading “Britain ranks low in the fight against Covid-19”
The Covid-19 debt crisis will be like no other in British history
Professor Philip Booth, Senior Academic Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, has written for Spectator Life on the covid-19 debt crisis. Philip examines the various routes out of the crisis, options for repaying debts government is accruing to support the economy, and the possible impact of high inflation. Read the full piece here.
The case against price controls during the pandemic
Periods of economic crisis are a breeding ground for all sorts of “populist” ideas, often ones that have been discarded in the past due to their dire practical implications. During the turbulent first half of the twentieth century, economic measures from interventionist doctrines became widespread, plunging many developed or developing societies into poverty. The rise … Continue reading “The case against price controls during the pandemic”
IEA Debate: Is the UK government right to extend the lockdown for 3 more weeks?
YES – says Julian Jessop Extending the lockdown for a further three weeks is unlikely to make a huge difference to the outlook for the economy, but could help save many more lives. Of course, the longer the restrictions are applied, the bigger the initial hit to GDP. However, more people are now starting to … Continue reading “IEA Debate: Is the UK government right to extend the lockdown for 3 more weeks?”