Will the vaccine(s) be successful?

Vaccines have had a transformative impact on global public health.  Despite many decades of progress, however, there remain important challenges associated with immunisation. Determining whether a vaccine will be successful involves resolving important questions regarding vaccine effectiveness, distribution and uptake.  There are currently at least seven COVID-19 vaccine candidates at the phase-three stage, which involves… Continue Reading

How safe is our data?

In 2017, The Economist famously highlighted an oft-cited metaphor of Data as the New Oil to describe the growing centrality of data to the global economy (others assert it is not).  More recently, The Economist have re-evaluated and asked whether data is more like oil or sunlight. Whatever the appropriate metaphor, there is little doubt… Continue Reading

The Role of Institutions in Shaping Economic and Climate Outcomes

This month, the International Monetary Fund released its revised World Economic Outlook for 2020.  It is worth taking a look through their current release, which although describing a dire forecast for 2020 is actually significantly improved on its expectations from just a few months earlier. In Europe, the hardest-hit countries were Spain (-12.8%), Italy (-10.6%),… Continue Reading

Regulating Big Tech

Christos sent along a recent blog post he recently wrote with other leading European economists on the Google-Fitbit deal as the topic for this week’s discussion since we will be covering competition policy in both TP1 and TP2 (and will return to in TP6 in Easter term).  What is particularly worrisome they point out is… Continue Reading

Do Prizes Work?

On Thursday (8 October), Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and Sir David Attenborough launched a £50m “Earthshot Prize”, which, they claim to be “the biggest environmental award ever”, and which, they hope, will become the equivalent of a “Nobel Prize for environmentalism”.  The initial commitment is for five £1m prizes every year for 10… Continue Reading

Ethics and Technology

Famously, Google’s unofficial motto was ‘Don’t Be Evil’ (sometimes misdescribed as ‘Do no evil’) but any such corporate claim will inevitably lead to tensions since corporations, especially those that span the globe with a professed interest in having an impact on a wide range of end uses, will need to make difficult decisions about where… Continue Reading

Return to 1950: Nationalisation in the UK and beyond

Today the Labour Party issued its latest policy announcement #BroadbandForAll – i.e., spend £15.9bn to improve superfast broadband (on top of the £5bn already earmarked by government) and nationalise BT Openreach (worth c£15bn). This comes on the heels of previous announcements proposing nationalisations of the energy, rail, and water sectors as well as Royal Mail. … Continue Reading

Triple Helix: Are all helices creates equal?

The notion of the triple helix of Etzkowitz et al echoes some of our earlier discussions and interposes universities between business and government nominally replacing the military in what Eisenhower warned of as the ‘military-industrial complex‘ into a seemingly more benign but still mutually reinforcing arrangement. Clearly, not all technologies are created equal though and… Continue Reading