Economics Observatory Website

June 2, 2020 | News
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The initiative, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), draws on the expertise of economists from a wide range of universities and research institutions. It will gather and evaluate the best possible data and evidence and use these as the basis for Q&A briefings on the ECO website

Economic research is essential to understand and respond to this massive public health challenge and the global economic crisis. But it can be difficult for policy-makers and the public to interpret the key evidence and to understand where there is – and is not – consensus in the economic research community. 

We will explain where there is consensus, where there is intelligent debate and disagreement, and where we just don’t have the answers (whether it is because of a lack of data or fundamental challenges of answering the question). 

The briefings are written for policy-makers, the media, the public, students and teachers who are interested in the economics of Covid-19 and the implications for households, organisations and public policy. 

At launch, the website features 40 briefings, including the following economic history articles: 

  • What are the lessons for today from running a wartime economy?
  • What can we learn from historical recessions and depressions?
  • Does the Spanish flu offer lessons in how to tackle a pandemic?
  • What can we learn from the past about how to pay for the crisis?

This website and subsequent briefings are genuinely collaborative projects: at launch, we have over 25 partner institutions involved in researching, writing and editing briefings and we intend to add to this list over time. We will act as a hub to bring together research from across economics to answer policy questions in a way that is easy to understand. 

We have launched with 40 briefings. But it is our aspiration to publish as many as 200 in the coming months, responding to need and debate. 

Romesh Vaitilingam is Editor-in-Chief of ECO – and the lead editors are: 

Tim Besley (LSE)
Jagjit Chadha (National Institute of Economic and Social Research, NIESR)
Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge)
Rachel Griffith (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Manchester)
Michael McMahon (University of Oxford)
Carol Propper (Imperial College Business School)
Imran Rasul (University College London)
Graeme Roy (Fraser of Allander Institute, University of Strathclyde)
Sarah Smith (University of Bristol)
John Turner (Queen’s University Belfast) 

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John Turner