Opinion formers and policy experts welcomed Which way now? Economic policy after a decade of upheaval, a new report from the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE), launched last night  with a panel debate at the University of Warwick.
The report presents 18 studies written by CAGE members and published by the Social Market Foundation think-tank. Each of the 25 authors tackles the question of what a post-financial crisis, post-Brexit economic policy should look like, with the aim of presenting accessible recommendations informed by robust, up-to-date research.
Dr Arun Advani, Impact Director for CAGE and Chair of the launch event, said: “Part of what the report is doing is talking about the upheaval we faced over the last 10 years, including the impact of the Brexit vote - but another big part of what we are doing is looking beyond that and saying, whatever happens over the next few months in terms of Brexit, what are the other challenges the Government will face? What are the other policies that we need to have, and what else do we need to do?”
Reflecting on the contribution made by CAGE members to policy-making in the UK, economist and journalist Liam Halligan said: “CAGE is grounded in robust, academic economics but it’s a place where there’s a lot of practical economics going on and a lot of cross-fertilisation between the various disciplines.”
The Warwick launch focused on the regional skills and productivity agenda. Speakers included Dr Dennis Novy, Professor Vera Troeger and Dr Roland Rathelot, presenting the key findings from their contributions to the report.
Dr Novy discussed his findings, based on research carried out with Holger Breinlich, Elsa Leromain and Thomas Sampson, that Brexit has already cost each UK household at least £400 owing to higher inflation and the fall in the value of the pound after the referendum result.
Professor Troeger gave an overview of her chapter, written jointly with Mariaelisa Epifanio, exploring whether the generosity of maternity benefits influences women’s career outcomes, their standing in the labour market, and their productivity. Professor Troeger was also editor of the report as a whole.
Dr Rathelot presented recent research he has been conducting into the mismatch between where jobseekers live and the location of jobs for which they have relevant skills, and whether the economy would benefit if mismatch is reduced.
Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, commenting on Professor Troeger’s presentation on the relationship between maternity benefits and female participation in the workforce, said: “I welcome this report hugely and will use it quite a bit.”
Gemma Tetlow, Chief Economist at the Institute for Government, also welcomed the report, saying: “It is really important that policy is informed by good quality evidence, but politicians and civil servants can’t be experts in all areas. And so it’s really welcome that academics at CAGE are trying to synthesise their research and draw out the policy lessons for policy makers in this really accessible format.”
Summing up the launch, Professor Vera Troeger said: "the theme that weaves through the policy report, the presentations of the speakers, and discussion of the panellist is that we need smarter policies. It is not just about the money that is spent on welfare, education, infrastructure and growth promoting policies but policies have to be designed in a coordinated way and they have to be outcome focussed."
13 February 2019
Established in January 2010, CAGE is a research centre in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), CAGE is carrying out a 10 year programme of innovative research.
The centre’s research programme is focused on how countries succeed in achieving key economic objectives such as improving living standards, raising productivity, and maintaining international competitiveness, which are central to the economic wellbeing of their citizens.
The research uses economic analysis to address real-world policy issues. The centre is distinctive in providing a perspective that draws on economic history as well as economic theory and is applied to countries at various different stages of economic development.
About the SMF:
The Social Market Foundation (SMF) is a non-partisan think tank. We believe that fair markets, complemented by open public services, increase prosperity and help people to live well. We conduct research and run events looking at a wide range of economic and social policy areas, focusing on economic prosperity, public services and consumer markets. The SMF is resolutely independent, and the range of backgrounds and opinions among our staff, trustees and advisory board reflects this.