Spring 2021 Newsletter


Building back better

Will this be more than just a slogan? What role could start-ups play? We explore this issue here. And what about the capital markets? 2020 was the year when ESG investing – based on environmental, social and governance considerations – broke all records. But is this enough for green finance to become mainstream? Would you make a financial sacrifice if you knew it was better for the environment? On June 24th 2021 we launch a new half day course Introduction to Green Finance which looks at what Green Finance is, why it matters and what the future holds.

NZ’s ‘go hard, go early’ Covid-19 response

Catherine Connolly interviews Tim Ng (Watch here), who was the Chief Economic Advisor and a Deputy Secretary at the New Zealand Treasury until early 2021. Tim discusses the success and challenges of New Zealand’s ‘go hard, go early’ response to Covid-19, how wellbeing objectives are shaping Treasury policy advice, and the interaction between housing market conditions and monetary and financial stability policy in New Zealand.

How to pay for the Covid-19 pandemic?

The UK economy and public finances were hit harder by the Covid-19 pandemic than those in most other advanced countries. In his March Budget, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, took a first step towards repairing the public finances by announcing an increase the corporation tax rate from 2023 onwards and froze income tax thresholds. Will this be enough to consolidate the public finances? See our previous analysis on options, here.

Big tech and market dominance

We commented on the legal battle between Epic Games, creator of the popular Fortnite video game, and Apple before. Epic Games recently filed an antitrust complaint against Apple to the European Commission, arguing that Apple’s dominance distorts markets and stifles innovation. For economists and competition lawyers this is a fascinating test case for the power of big tech. Meanwhile, Facebook’s decision in February to pull news content from its Australian operations in response to new legislation was received critically around the world. Will we see a new wave of antitrust cases, reminiscent to those leading to the breakup of AT&T last century? Could we see a new generation of innovators emerge as a result?

Gains from trade?

When economists argue that there are gains from trade, they can rely on two centuries of insights and rigorous analysis. The new UK-EU trade relationship, which came into force on 1st January, is characterised by new and permanent trade barriers, and so far, does not cover services. What that means for businesses and consumers, read here, and what the implications might be for London as a financial centre here.

Strategic career development and lifelong learning

Are you more into a steady career with the aim of reaching the top later in life or more into career hopping? The recent US presidential elections have been fascinating for many reasons, but one aspect largely left uncommented is how very different Joe Biden’s and Donald Trump’s career paths have been. After two unsuccessful attempts and a lifetime in politics, Joe Biden became US president in January. Meanwhile, Donald Trump started as a property developer before turning TV star and then US president. Biden is 78, Trump 74. Contrast this with New Zealand’s Jacinda Arden (40) or Austria’s Sebastian Kurz (34). There are three takeaways:

  • you can take on a leadership role at different stages in your life;
  • careers are not necessarily ‘over’ after a certain age; and
  • as we live longer, we should consider more than one career. While becoming head of state is probably not an option for most of us, we should think outside the box.

Upcoming events and courses

All economicsense courses are delivered online. The courses are interactive, fun and you can learn from the comfort and safety of your own home.

Introduction to Green Finance

9:30am-12:30pm 24th June 2021

This course gives participants an understanding of what Green Finance is, why it matters, and what the future might hold. Course participants will learn how financial markets function, who the key stakeholders are, and become familiar with concepts such as stranded assets, green bonds or ESG investing. No prior knowledge of economics or financial markets is required. To book: Intro to Green Finance.

Strategic Career Development for G7 Analysts

18th, 25th June and September 16th 2021

This course is designed to support strategic career development for experienced analysts – suitable for professional economists, statisticians, social researchers, scientists and operational researchers at G7/E level. To book: Strategic Career Development.

Economics for non-economists

9.30am–12pm 5th, 6th and 7th July 2021

This course provides an accessible overview of economics. Topics include market structure and competition, market failure and government failure. At the economy-wide level we will discuss growth, fiscal policy and monetary policy. A special section on trade is particularly useful for understanding the UK’s new trade arrangements outside the EU. To book: Economics for non-economists.

Cost-benefit analysis for non-economists

9.30am–12pm 13th, 14th and 15th September 2021

Ideal for government analysts (outside economics), and policy and finance professionals who are involved in preparing and reviewing business cases and impact assessments. The course will give participants the skills to critique CBA analysis quickly and effectively. To book: Cost benefit analysis for non-economists.