Stimulating the Economy After COVID 19 Paper

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Make the case for an alternative policy agenda or framework which, in your view, would lead to better economic outcomes in relation to your chosen topic.

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Assignment task and word count:
• Policy brief (maximum 1500 words, excluding references)
Policy brief:
Make the case for an alternative policy agenda or framework which, in your view, would lead to
better economic outcomes in relation to your chosen topic. You are permitted to choose a specific
focus within one of five broad topics, rather than trying to cover all aspects of the policy area (discuss
topic choice further with the teaching team). The policy brief may be written from the perspective of a
policy official (i.e. a civil servant) or an external stakeholder (i.e. a lobby or campaign group). You
should focus on UK economic policy, but may want to draw on experiences from other countries.
Your policy brief should seek to outline a specific economic problem, and then discuss current and
recent policy practices related to this problem. Use evidence and the existing literature to explore the
range of options available to policy-makers, and to make the case for your recommended course of
action. You should also consider how the reform could be implemented, and what implications this
might have for other policy areas or government functions. It is important that your policy brief shows
that you are able to think critically about why policy practice has taken the form it has, and the
likelihood of significant policy change.
Resources:
• Independent literature searches, focusing on the journals listed in the Unit
Outline or web searches using specific search terms.
• Detail on specific policy processes will be available in reports and other
material published by policy making institutions and/or media coverage.
• Economic data available from public sources such as ONS, OECD, government
department websites
• You are unlikely to find sources that directly address the likely objections to
your policy recommendations (this is relevant to the presentation). You need
to draw upon your knowledge of economic policy, the political context and
policy-making structures to deduce logically what a minister’s concerns and
objections may be.
Unit Learning Outcomes (ULOs) assessed:
•
Learning Outcome 1: Assess the political structures through which economic policy is made in practice in the UK and
beyond, and the impact associated processes have on the economy.
•
Learning Outcome 3: Understand how to apply economic understanding in practice through advising powerful actors
such as elected politicians.
•
Learning Outcome 4: Utilise and critically assess economic data that provides the evidence base to inform ongoing policy
action and debates.
Early Career/ World Class Professional Skills (PLOs) assessed.
•
PLO1: Our graduates will apply critical thinking to practical and theoretical problems
o 1.1.1: Identify and interrogate relevant data and literature sources using methods appropriate to level of study and
to discipline
o 1.1.2a: Apply theory to discussion and analysis
•
PLO2: Our graduates will be effective communicators using a range of media
o 2.1.1: Organise work in a logical structure in order to draw conclusions that follow from line of argument
o 2.1.2: Apply consistent and appropriate referencing and in text citations
Topic:
Both the policy brief and presentation should address the same topic. Please choose one of these five
topics to be the focus of your portfolio:
• Stimulating the economy after COVID-19
• Building a more effective tax system
• Using industrial policy to enable economic growth
• Addressing climate change through economic policy
• Devolving power to support local economic development
Specific focus: you choose!
To reiterate, the portfolio should be based on an alternative policy agenda or framework which, in
your view, would lead to better economic outcomes in relation to your chosen topic.
• Stimulating the economy after COVID-19: e.g. helicopter money
• Building a more effective tax system: e.g. wealth taxes
• Using industrial policy to enable economic growth: e.g. subsidies for innovation
• Addressing climate change through economic policy: e.g. carbon taxes
• Devolving power to support local economic development: e.g. regional governors
Specific focus: you choose!
‘Mainstream’ ideas might provide more literature and evidence on which to build
your case, but ‘radical’ ideas might allow you to show a more independent
understanding. Most importantly, pick something you are interested in.
You can focus on local, national or international policy-making. Do not need to focus
on the UK. Just be clear about who you are advising (and why them).
You are unlikely to devise something entirely original – everything has been tried
before! Tell us how you would do things differently. Develop lessons from previous
practice.
What is a policy brief?
A succinct report (usually, in bullet points) which makes the case for an
alternative policy agenda or framework which, in your view, would lead to
better economic outcomes in your chosen policy area
• Can be written from the perspective of a policy official (i.e. a civil servant) or
an external stakeholder (i.e. a lobby or campaign group) – but make sure you
are clear about who the advice is targeted at
• Explain the nature and extent of the problem (a specific focus within the
broad policy area), and propose solutions which policy-makers could
implement to solve it
o But make sure you also consider the political and institutional feasibility of these
alternatives. Is it deliverable? Will there be losers as well as winners?
• Draw upon publicly available data and existing research
o You may find it useful to give examples of other countries or time periods where
similar policy proposals have been successfully implemented (or not)
Examples of policy briefs by campaign groups or research institutes:
• http://positivemoney.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Briefing-GreenReform-to-the-Bank-of-England.pdf
• https://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/1157421/Th
e_Affordable_Homes_Programme_2015.pdf
• https://www.ifw-kiel.de/fileadmin/Dateiverwaltung/IfWPublications/system/what-to-do-about-rising-inequality-in-developingcountries/policy-brief-5.pdf
UK civil service manual has advice on briefing ministers:
• https://www.civilservant.org.uk/library/2015_Working_with_Ministers.pdf
Hypothetical example: welfare
Topic: providing fair and adequate social security
benefits without jeopardising economic growth
Hypothetical example: recent developments
• What has happened to UK welfare provision in recent years? Increased spending
due to automatic stabilisers, attempt to reduce spending as part of austerity,
chaotic introduction of Universal Credit to improve work incentives, many more
people become reliant on benefits due to COVID-19, introduction of earningsreplacement elements, pensioners protected from austerity to some extent,
temporary introduction of furlough scheme and similar measures
• Why has policy taken this course?
• Downward pressure on wages – policy-makers choose to supplement wages with benefits
rather than compelling/encouraging employers to increase pay. Also create new benefit
structure to encourage people to take on more (low paid) hours
• Increased benefit spending leads to concerns about public spending/borrowing (affecting
middle-class taxpayers). This concern is a consistent feature of Treasury policy, but also
associated with longstanding ideological attacks on welfare recipients in popular culture
• The fact that pensioners protected (with future pensions scaled back) show that politicians
driven by short-term political interests
• But what has happened to automatic stabilisers? The pandemic has exposed the
inadequacy of benefits as a safety net, but also as a mechanism for addressing a downturn
Hypothetical example: policy brief
1. What is the problem: welfare does not provide adequate income replacement
or income replacement? Or current forms of welfare provision do not support
economic growth, or provide stability at times of economic downturn
2. What is the solution? Universal basic income
• What is your diagnosis for the problem with welfare? Evidence?
• Who is responsible for this problem? Why haven’t they solved it? What are their
policy objectives (and political and economic influences)?
• What are the possible solutions? What has worked elsewhere?
• Why does UBI meet your reform objectives? Advantages and disadvantages?
Implications for other policy areas? Evidence from other countries?
• What would need to change in the UK in order for UBI to be implemented?
Hypothetical example: presentation
• After presenting the key evidence/recommendations of your policy brief
• Address potential objectives: it costs too much, it disincentivises work, it
subsidises low-wage firms, it is open to abuse by future governments, it is
treated as a benchmark not a floor, etc.
• Consider the political implications: some voters might like ‘free money’,
some voters might resent paying tax for a benefit they do not need, there
might not be sufficient support in the party / parliament / media
Any initial thoughts?
• Stimulating the economy after COVID-19
• Building a more effective tax system
• Using industrial policy to enable economic growth
• Addressing climate change through economic policy
• Devolving power to support local economic development

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Explanation & Answer:
1500 Words

Tags:
framework

economic outcomes

alternative policy

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