The thoughts that count - the best of global thought leadership (July 2022)

What will the public services we use look like in the future? The Serco Institute’s monthly digest – The Thoughts That Count – pulls together some of the best thinking on public services policy from across the world.

Public services & policy

User Experience in Government Services – The Need for a Unique Approach (UAE) – Serco Institute

Is it possible to accurately measure how people feel about government services? This new report from the Serco Institute examines the latest cutting-edge research in an attempt to answer this question, and calls for a new satisfaction metric specifically designed to measure the sentiments of those who use government services. The first in a set of sister reports, the paper focuses more on government services in the UAE.

User Experience in Government Services – The Need for a Unique Approach (Saudi Arabia) – Serco Institute

In the second of our twin reports on measuring user satisfaction, the Serco Institute and ExperienceLab argue that existing metrics of measuring customer satisfaction neglect the uniquely broad remit of government services, finding that a new metric is needed to accurately measure people’s sentiments towards using government services. This publication follows the release of a UAE-focused version of the report, and is aimed more at people interested in how Saudi Arabia approaches the question of measuring user satisfaction. 

Managing extreme risks – Institute for Government (UK)

This report finds that the threats the country faces - from climate change to biosecurity threats and pandemics to cyber-attacks - are growing in number and severity, with the UK particularly vulnerable given its interconnectedness. It calls for the UK Government to adopt a modified ‘three lines of defence’ model, considered best practice in the private sector and other countries, which separates out responsibilities for risk management, oversight and audit.

The First Step in Improving Supply Chains – American Enterprise Institute (USA)

AEI calls for policies to reform the entire supply-chain process to shore up US vulnerabilities. It suggests that companies selling in the US should be required to know their suppliers through the full extent of the chain, and that Chinese suppliers’ involvement should be restricted for products deemed critical. Furthermore, the US should identify those areas where demand for constitutive materials, which enable later stages of manufacturing, outstrips supply.

Anthony Albanese should take his own advice on infrastructure – Grattan Institute (Australia)

This article looks back on then-shadow minister Anthony Albanese’s (unsuccessful) bill amendment that looked to prohibit funding of an investment project valued at $100m or more unless Infrastructure Australia had given the minister a cost-benefit analysis and priority ranking of the project. The author asserts that that was a good idea then and is a good idea now.

Reducing the Red Tape around Supply Chains – Third Way (USA)

Third Way calls for the US to speedily reduce the red tape around supply chains, finding that, with more global trade facilitation measures, the US could: save $88 billion in export costs; gain 987,000 jobs; and that every state in the country would see job growth.

AI Principles to practice – Committee for Economic Development of Australia (Australia)

This paper explored the potential that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has to unlock transformative economic, social and environmental opportunities for Australia. If adopted properly and governed in a safe responsible and suitable manner the potential benefit for Australian society is significant.

A National Transformation: Saudi Arabia and the Vision 2030 Reform Agenda – Gulf Research Center (Saudi Arabia)

This briefing by the GRC lays out the socioeconomic reforms of the Vision 2030 programme, which seeks to transform Saudi Arabia into a modern and inclusive society. These include economic reforms, to reduce the Kingdom’s dependence on oil income; easing guardianship restrictions for Saudi women to allow them to travel and participate more freely in the labour force and public life; and some of the challenges experienced in implementing reforms of this scale.

New politics: A better process for public appointments – Grattan Institute (Australia)

This report asserts that Australian politics has a growing ‘jobs for mates’ culture and it is undermining the nation’s democracy. It reports that whilst a major problem, it has an easy fix that will ensure transparency and a merit-based process for public appointments.

Economy, inflation & the cost of living

The Government Debt Iceberg – Cato Institute (USA)

The Cato Institute seeks to shed light on the US federal debt problem, which has risen to heights unseen in decades – the pandemic relief packages have sent federal debt soaring to levels not seen since World War II, and the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the debt-to-GDP ratio could nearly double to 185% over the next thirty years. The Cato Institute diagnoses the cause for this as rising federal spending. As such, they recommend that the US immediately take steps to rectify its fiscal trajectory in anticipation of a future iceberg of government debt, through either spending cuts or tax rises.

The Fiscal Costs of Debt-Financed Government Spending – Fraser Institute (Canada)

This paper by the Fraser Institute shows that economists who argue that there is a low fiscal cost to debt-financed government spending are misguided. The report finds that when there is an increase in the government debt ratio by raising the gap between the real interest rate on public debt and the economy’s growth rate, the primary deficit must be reduced to stabilise the debt ratio, thus increasing the average fiscal cost. This may also necessitate an increase in taxes to stabilise a government’s debt, which may be greater than the increase in public spending.

Economic Outlook Summer 2022 – BusinessEurope (Europe)

In its latest Economic Outlook, BusinessEurope projects the EU economy to grow by 2.6% between 2021 and 2022, a downward revision of 1.3% from its autumn 2021 forecast. However, ‘within year’ growth in 2022 is expected to be just 0.6%, meaning individual member states may slip into recession during 2022. Eurozone inflation is forecast to be 6.5% in 2022, falling to 2.6% in 2023 – this, however, will be contingent upon a fall in energy prices and moderate wage increases amidst a very tight labour market.

Profits causing inflation in Australia, not wages – Australia Institute (Australia)

This new research cites the national accounts that show ‘it is rising profits, not rising costs, that are driving Australia’s inflation.’ This data makes it clear, therefore, that ‘it is the corporate sector that needs to tighten its belt.’

Inflation is no excuse for inaction on needed tax reforms and investment – Economic Policy Institute (USA)

The Economic Policy Institute argues that making decisions about fiscal policy in the medium to long terms based on today’s inflation makes little sense, and that tax and spending increases are not, as some policymakers claim, inflationary. Rather: by slowing the growth of aggregate demand, tax increases are disinflationary; fiscal policy packages to fund social insurance and public investment using progressive taxation would increase the public sector’s share of the economy but are not inflationary; and fiscal policymakers are uniquely ill-suited to restrain inflation caused by excessive growth in aggregate demand.

How Central Bank mistakes after 2019 led to inflation – New Zealand Initiative (New Zealand)

This research note attributes the outbreak of inflation to central bank mistakes. The paper argues that central banks overall were too confident about their monetary policy, were too confident about their models, lost their focus on price stability and took on too many mandates amongst other reasons.

Continued Job Growth in July Points to Persistent Strength in Economic Recovery – Center for American Progress (USA)

With this article, the Center for American Progress strikes a positive note, arguing that the signs indicate that the United States has recovered all net private sector jobs lost during the pandemic and that the worst price increases may now be in the rear-view mirror, with the costs of many key raw materials now trending downward.

Employment, wages & welfare

Recovered, but not Whole: U.S. Jobs Rebounded, but Not for Everyone – RAND Corporation (USA)

The US labour market is on track to recover all the jobs it shed during the Covid-19 pandemic. RAND argues, however, that this fails to take into account the structural weaknesses exposed of the US labour market, including the impact of sudden job losses in industries such as elective health, leisure and hospitality; the high rates of Covid among workers in manufacturing sectors; the stress among educators in state schools etc. Moreover, while men have regained their pre-Covid levels of work, there are still one million fewer women in the workforce than there were before the pandemic, and the factors working to exclude them from the working world have worsened rather than improved.

‘It’s Broken’ – Workers’ compensation in NSW since 2012 – McKell Institute (Australia)

This report asserts that major changes to NSW workers’ compensation has pushed injured workers into financial hardship and imposed untold stress on them, the opposite effect of the essential safety net this compensation is supposed to provide.

Access to Paid Leave Is Lowest among Workers with the Greatest Needs – Urban Institute (USA)

Using data from December 2021, the Urban Institute finds that two-thirds (67%) of American workers report they can take paid sick leave, while 54% can take paid family leave upon becoming a parent and nearly one in three (30%) either do not have any paid leave or unsure as to whether they do. Furthermore, access to paid leave is skewed towards higher-income, university-educated and full-time workers; black and Hispanic workers are less likely to have paid leave than white workers; and less than half of women aged 18-34 (45%) report having access to paid parental leave.

The Distributional Impact of the Minimum Wage in the Short and Long Run – Hoover Institute (USA)

This working paper by the Hoover Institution finds that, in the short run, a large increase in the minimum wage has a small effect on employment and therefore increases the labour income of the workers who were earning less than the new minimum wage. In the long run, however, the minimum wage is found to reduce the employment, income, and welfare of the low-income workers it is meant to help.

The Middle East Transition We Need to Talk About – Center for Strategic & International Studies (USA)

Youth unemployment is startlingly high in most Middle Eastern economies, reaching 40% in Jordan, and the domestic labour forces are expanding rapidly as young people search for work. The US may be well-placed to help the Middle East through the coming labour transition, the CSIS argues. US businesses boast some of the best managerial talent in the world, and American cultural practices of cultivating managerial expertise and development may have much to offer the region. Higher education in the US and American universities in the Middle East spread these values to new students. The CSIS calls for the US to seize the opportunity to aid the Middle East through this labour transition.

Job Displacement in the United States by race, education and parental income – Brookings Institution (USA)

As economics literature shows that workers suffer large and persistent earnings losses following a job displacement, this paper undertakes to illustrate the impact that the millions of job displacements during the Covid-19 pandemic would have had on demographic and socioeconomic inequalities. It finds that black workers are 67% more likely to be displaced than their white peers; workers without a bachelor’s degree are also 67% more likely to be displaced than those with a bachelor’s degree; and workers with parents in the bottom half of income distribution are 27% more likely to be displaced than workers with parents in the top half.

Business & the workplace

Levelling up and innovation – Institute for Government (UK)

This report calls for the government to make its R&D levelling up mission more ambitious, requiring that the share of public funding going to areas outside the South East grows. It also calls for the Government to develop policies to ensure more public R&D spending in a place contributes to productivity growth. Finally the Institute for Government calls for an increase the sharing of good practice in lower-tech sectors, including through management training programmes.

A Recipe for Growth: The Economic Effects of Corporate Tax Reform in the UK – Adam Smith Institute (UK)

In 2023, the UK’s corporate income tax rate is scheduled to rise from 19% to 25%, and a temporary provision allowing businesses to deduct 130% of the cost of new investment in qualifying plant and machinery will expire. This paper argues that reversing the corporation tax hike and replacing the super-deduction would have significant positive impacts on growth, investment and wages.

Do we really have the right to disconnect? – Eurofound (Europe)

Teleworking has steadily increased since 2019 in Europe, undoubtedly in large part due to the Covid-19 crisis. Remote working is clearly here to stay, with 60% of Europeans preferring to work from home at least several times per month. However, there is now evidence to suggest that employees working from home clock up more hours than those who work only in the office, and this increase is associated with employees working atypical or unsocial hours.

The changing workplace: Enabling disability-inclusive hybrid working – Work Foundation (UK)

Just 52.7% of disabled people are in employment, compared with 81% of non-disabled people. A key driver of the disability employment gap is workplace inflexibility. This survey-based research argues that new workplaces practices and government policy is needed to deliver more equitable outcomes for disabled people, particularly after workplace practices change post-pandemic.

Health & social care                                

Delays Extending the American Rescue Plan’s Health Insurance Subsidies will Raise Premiums and Reduce Coverage – Urban Institute (USA)

Congress faces a deadline of August 2022 to extend the health insurance subsidies set to expire under the American Rescue Plan. If not, the Urban Institute contends, premiums will be raised and many people will lose health coverage. This is because consumers take 2023 coverage decisions in 2022; open enrolment begins on November 1, 2022; and marketplaces are already finalising eligibility requirements in accordance with premium tax credit parameters.

From Digital Desert to Digital Exemplar: Harnessing Technology for Public Health – Reform (UK)

This event write-up brings together ideas generated at a Reform policy roundtable, led by Professor John Newton, Director of Public Health analysis at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. It explores a range of issues including the digital transformation in public health, the impacts of Covid-19, data and many more.

Public health in the EU: 30 years since the Maastricht Treaty – European Policy Centre (Europe)

This comment piece follows a recent event by the European Policy Centre’s Coalition for Ethics Health and Society (CHES) and Maastricht University, which traced the evolution of public health in the EU since the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Speakers included current and former representatives of the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and representatives of health NGOs, academics and citizens. The event reflected on the public health in the EU as it currently stands and explored possibilities for the future of health in the EU.

Failure to Close Coverage Gap Would Leave Millions Uninsured and Facing Worse Health Outcomes – Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (USA)

CBPP warns that without action, 2 million Americans, many of them people of colour, will continue to lack health coverage as they live in the so-called Medicaid coverage gap, whereby they would be eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but live in states which have not adopted ACA Medicaid expansion. This is particularly striking, as many of these states are likely to soon or already have restricted abortion access in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. As such, CBPP calls for the economic reconciliation package currently being negotiated by members of Congress to include provisions addressing the Medicaid coverage gap and extending health coverage.

The kids aren’t alright – Maxim Institute (New Zealand)

According to the Mental Health Foundation CEO, the pandemic piled a mental health crisis on top of another crisis in New Zealand. The country has some of the worst youth suicide rates in the OECD and, the Maxim Institute argues, policymakers need to be more concerned and put in place more preventative measures to deal with this crisis.

Towards a new partnership between disabled people and health and care services: getting our voices heard – The King's Fund (UK)

Disabled people's voices need to be valued and prioritised in the planning and delivery of health and care services, this piece from the King’s fund argues. This long-read sets out the findings of research carried out by the King's Fund and Disability Rights UK into how disabled people are currently involved in health and care system design, and what good might look like.

Equity and efficiency vs. overconsumption and waste: The case for user fees in Canada – Macdonald-Laurier Institute (Canada)

MLI argues that overconsumption (‘all-you-can-eat’ care) decreases welfare in a system struggling to provide timely access for needs such as cancer treatment, joint replacement and emergency care, and that the Canadian health system does not currently distinguish between ‘obvious’ and ‘frivolous’ patients. Canada must, the report argues, accept that rationing care must form part of all health insurance, and the reintroduction of user fees would afford patients the opportunity to decide whether or not they can go without service, rather than leaving the decision to a panel of experts who are ignorant of a patient’s symptoms.

Fact Sheet: How the New Deal to Lower Drug Prices Would Help Americans – Center for American Progress (USA)

One in four Americans struggle to afford medications; three in 10 cannot afford to take their medicine as prescribed; and half of voters say lowering prescription drug prices should be the ‘top priority’ for Congress. The Center for American Progress has published this explainer factsheet to outline the benefits to American families of the new Senate proposal to lower prescription drug prices, including authorising Medicare to negotiate said prices; cutting costs for families; and penalising drug companies which raise prices faster than inflation.

Market Concentration in Health Care: Government is the Problem, not the Solution – Cato Institute (USA)

The Cato Institute finds that market concentration in healthcare is costing lives: an increasing share of US physicians work for hospitals, while 75% of health insurance markets are exhibiting signs of concentration as of 2018. To improve the quality and cost of care, the Cato Institute calls for federal and state policymakers to repeal or reform regulations, tax distortions and entitlement programmes which encourage such market concentration.

The NHS: Decline and fall, or resurrection? – Social Market Foundation (UK)

Former Labour Health Minister Lord Warner puts forward a series of recommendations focussed on supporting the NHS, including a reform of public health policy, the expansion of community healthcare, and the consolidation of specialist healthcare services.

Covid-19

Long Covid and the labour market – Institute for Fiscal Studies (UK)

The IFS assesses the impact of long Covid on Britain’s labour market. It finds almost 2 million people, or 3% of the population, were affected by long Covid in May 2022, with 72% of these limited ‘a lot’ by the condition. Women, middle-aged people, those with pre-existing health conditions and those claiming benefits and living in social housing prior to the pandemic are more likely to suffer from long Covid. An estimated 110,000 people have long Covid at any given time, with those who stop work on account of long Covid typically losing £1,100 in monthly earnings – this sums to £1.5 billion across the British economy. 

The European Renewal: Making the most of pandemic recovery – Bruegel (Europe)

Bruegel argues that while Covid-19 remains dangerous, if Europe continues its current levels of unprecedented fiscal cooperation, this could pave the way to a new era of prosperity. During the pandemic, the bloc’s member states agreed to borrow jointly and at scale, and the war in Ukraine has highlighted the necessity of ongoing collective actions. If the EU can continue to develop a permanent fiscal framework, Bruegel contends it will be better-equipped to reduce inequalities between member states, combat climate change and develop energy independence.

Fifth round of the Living, working and Covid-19 e-survey: Living in a new era of uncertainty – Eurofound (Europe)

The fifth edition of Eurofound’s e-survey into people living and working across Europe two years after Covid-19 arrived on European shores shows the heavy toll of the pandemic. Trust in institutions has continued to fall, with unvaccinated respondents reporting much lower trust in institutions than their vaccinated peers. Among the e-survey’s other findings: unmet healthcare needs now affect nearly one in five respondents across the EU; mental wellbeing in the EU remains below pre-Covid levels, with young people particularly affected; and over a quarter (28%) of households report living in a household which is behind on utility bills or struggling to afford the cost of living.

Covid-19 in the European Union: health impacts and effects on economic activity – Bruegel (Europe)

This working paper quantitatively describes different aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic, including new cases, hospitalisations, intensive care admissions and deaths, and illustrates how the relationships between these have changed over time. It concludes that, from an economic perspective, when it comes to managing the pandemic policymakers should focus on preventing intensive care admissions and deaths from Covid, and the success of vaccination campaigns should be viewed through the lens of their having prevented the most serious consequences rather than having prevented infections and hospitalisations.

Defence 

National Defense Authorization Act Increases: Senate Prioritizes Inflation; House Favors the Navy – American Enterprise Institute (USA)

This blog post analyses changes made by both chambers of Congress to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which significantly increased funding allocated to Defence. However, the two chambers added funds to different parts: the Senate’s additional cash prioritised shielding defence spending from the effects of inflation, whereas the House allocated more money to specific programmes, procurement and R&D, as well as the Army and Navy.

European security after Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine – Macdonald-Laurier Institute (Canada)

MLI assesses Europe’s security infrastructure following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and establishes important questions which will need to be answered, including: whether Europe’s current security arrangements are adequate to meet current risks; whether the security of EU and/or NATO countries be separated from that of their neighbours and partners; and how technologies have changed war tactics, and what new domains of warfare have emerged.

Indefensible: Reforming the Ministry of Defence – Adam Smith Institute (UK)

Part of a series of papers looking at reform of the Civil Service, this report examines how the MoD operates and calls for changes to its approach to procurement, cessation of some activities and privatisation of some agencies under its control. It claims that the MoD could reduce headcount by approximately 28,682 civilian personnel (45%) through restructuring, redistribution and redundancy.

Learning to Win: Using Operational Innovation to Regain the Advantage at Sea against China – Hudson Institute (USA)

With the US Navy shifting its tactical focus from maintaining the post-Cold War peace to deterring China and Russia from aggression, the Hudson Institute argues a change in innovative tack will be needed, with the US fleet needing to establish new operational concepts and tactics to exploit its own strengths and the enemy’s weaknesses. Training and experimentation should no longer be prioritised, says the article, and instead the US Navy must look towards reforms.

As Small Drones Shape How We Fight, is the British Army Ready to Face Them? – RUSI (UK)

This long-read article explores how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are influencing combat and questions whether the British Army is capable of managing this threat.

Supporting the Royal Australian Navy’s Campaign Plan for Robotics and Autonomous Systems – RAND Corporation (USA)

As the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) modernises to be better-equipped to tackle the challenges Australia will have to tackle in the Indo-Pacific in the coming years, this report by the RAND Corporation provides an overview of the effects of robotics, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence (RAS-AI) on the Defence workforce in view of continuing efforts by the RAN to facilitate RAS-AI integration.

Transport

The moment for EVs: Strategies to transform American roads – Brookings Institution (USA)

With 36% of Americans saying they plan to make sure the next car they buy will be an electric vehicle (EV), the Brookings Institution argues the time is now to electrify America’s roads. This will bolster US energy security, insulate Americans against spikes in oil prices, and decarbonise the country’s largest source of carbon emissions. Furthermore, the article argues that federal, state and local policymakers should extend tax credits to incentivise EV purchases; announce a zero-emission mandate to obligate automakers to sell a certain number of EVs to meet air quality standards.

How Cost-effective are Electric Vehicle Subsidies in Reducing Tailpipe-CO2 Emissions? An Analysis of Major Electric Vehicle Markets – King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (Saudi Arabia)

In this externally published article, the KAPSARC assesses the cost-effectiveness of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) subsidies in reducing tailpipe-CO2 emissions in China, the US and nine European countries. It finds that the per-tonne cost of tailpipe-CO2 emissions avoided increases linearly with the proportion of the PEV price subsidised by the government.

Recommendations for the Zero Emissions Mobility Consortium – Civic Institute (Hong Kong)

This white paper recommends six key action points for Government to accelerate decarbonisation. Central Government has enacted regulations to incentivise policies, infrastructure support and innovation policies in order to achieve carbon neutrality within respective transport sectors.

Justice & policing

Policing Can Win: The Next Met Commissioner’s First 100 Days – Policy Exchange (UK)

The central thesis to this report is that ‘Policing Can Win’ over those who would commit crime and disorder in our communities. In addition to summarising the core issues London’s Metropolitan Police have faced over the last five years, this report sets out the three areas where substantial changes must be made: Leadership at Every Level; Fighting Crime and Reconnecting with the Public; Police Officer Conduct and Competence. During and by the end of the Commissioner’s first 100 days in office, Policy Exchange contends, things need to feel different.

Stopping crime will take time … and effort – Maxim Institute (New Zealand)

This short article looks at why the crime rate in New Zealand has increased by an average of 15% and suggests a number of solutions as a result. New Zealand’s Police Minister has recently announced reforms to give police more power and focus on ingrained causes of crime. An increased police presence reduces offending and deeper reasons for crime must be addressed.

Inequality on the inside: Using hospital data to understand the key health care issues for women in prison – Nuffield Trust (UK)

Is good-quality healthcare being provided for women in prison? As the UK Government proceeds with plans to build 500 more prison places for women, this new Nuffield Trust analysis uses HES data to look at women prisoners' use of hospital services, finding that they face a series of challenges and risks in prison because of barriers to accessing health and care services.

Immigration

Resources on Temporary Protected Status – Center for American Progress (USA)

This article explains the concept of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the US, which allows immigrants from certain countries experiencing ‘extraordinary and temporary conditions’ to remain in the US until they can safely return home. As of February 2022, over 350,000 TPS holders live in the US. However, they remain vulnerable to the executive revoking TPS designations for their countries of origin, and as such the article calls for Congress to take action to provide a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship for these immigrants.

Policies to support refugees from Ukraine – Eurofound (Europe)

According to the UNHCR, five million Ukrainian refugees have immigrated to the EU since their country was invaded by Russia, putting European societies under pressure. The Temporary Protection Directive gave Ukrainian nationals temporary refugee status, including the right to residence, social protection, the right to work, education and healthcare and other public services. This article summarises those first policy responses of the EU’s member states which enabled Ukrainian refugees to exercise these rights.

Energy, climate & net zero

Where next? Uncertainty in transport's path to net zero – IPPR (UK)

The UK government is legally committed to reaching net zero by 2050. This report examines the views of people working in the transport sector and how they believe a ‘fair transition’ can be achieved.

U.S. Supreme Court Constrains EPA’s Climate Authorities – Center for Strategic & International Studies (USA)

This explainer sets out what the US Supreme Court’s ruling on West Virginia v. EPA means for the Environmental Protection Agency’s capacity to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from America’s power plants. By invalidating the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and finding that, without congressional approval, the EPA did not possess the ‘highly consequential power’ to regulate power sector emissions, the Supreme Court’s decision may have significant ramifications for the Biden administration’s pledge to take an ‘all-of-government’ approach towards tackling climate change.

CO2 is CO2 is CO2 – the Implications for Emissions Caps – Fraser Institute (Canada)

The Fraser Institute calls upon policymakers to allow industry to reduce carbon emissions in Canada in the least costly way possible, rather than arbitrarily capping emissions from certain sectors, notably oil and gas, while allowing other sectors to continue increasing emissions. The report contends that if a government imposes a price on carbon emissions equal to their marginal social cost, people and firms will take it upon themselves to find the least costly way to reduce their emissions, and no further state intervention will be required.

The Impact of the Ukraine War on Global Energy Markets – Centre for European Reform (Europe)

This analysis lays out the impact on global energy markets of Russia’s decision to begin cutting off gas supplies to Europe, leading natural gas prices to rise 400% in Europe. The article furthermore sets out several possible outcomes for the future, how by 2023 European countries may have drastically cut natural gas imports from Russia and found other sources in the Middle East and the US, with the global energy market beginning to move to one of bilateral or multilateral deals rather than the current open trade structure. By 2024, the energy market may have found a new balance, with European countries likely to have signed long-term deals to secure gas supplies, gas developments around the world under construction, and Europe beginning to substitute electricity for gas and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The next industrial revolution: Transforming Australia to flourish in a net-zero world – Grattan Institute (Australia)

This report asserts that Australia needs a 21st Century industry policy in order to become an industrial success story as the world moves to net-zero carbon emissions.

Managing the energy and food crises: Exceptional times call for exceptional measures – European Policy Centre (Europe)

This discussion paper highlights priorities for action to prevent the EU’s energy and food crises from spiralling out of control. These include: a ‘wartime mindset’ among EU leaders in their communication and actions; accelerating the greening of European energy and food systems; and collaborating and demonstrating solidarity across borders and society.

A Transatlantic Energy and Climate Pact Is Now More Necessary Than Ever – Bruegel (Europe)

The war in Ukraine has prompted the EU and the United States to reinforce their bilateral energy partnership, starting with boosting US liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies to Europe to help wean the continent off Russian gas. This article identifies five priorities for an EU-US climate and energy pact, including: ending Russian energy imports entirely in Europe; avoiding new dependencies and vulnerability to ‘geopolitical blackmailing’; accelerating development and deployment of new technologies; avoiding trade frictions between the EU and the US; and continue efforts to call upon the international community to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Middle East’s worsening dust storms are making it harder to deploy solar energy – Middle East Institute 

Recent years have seen a number of ambitious solar projects announced in the Middle East, particularly by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. However, the increasing number of dust storms in the region is complicating efforts to deploy solar energy – the cleaning of solar panels is difficult, meaning they often cannot function as expected and raising the risk of reduced electricity output. Additionally, dust storms are expected to worsen as climate change’s effects accelerate.

Skills & education

Public education funding in the U.S. needs an overhaul – Economic Policy Institute (USA)

This report on public education funding in the US finds that: the current funding model is inadequate, inequitable and short-changes students, especially lower-income ones; the federal government plays an insufficient role; these problems are amplified during and after recessions, with education funding often falling and only recovering pre-recession levels after years; but increased post-recession federal funding can help mitigate funding shortfalls and inequities and expedite the US’ economic recovery.

Higher Education: The Economic Engine of California – Public Policy Institute for California (USA)

This blog post finds that higher education is seen as a high priority for California residents: 73% of California parents want their children to go to university, but the same number have concerns about affordability. PPIC polling furthermore indicates strong public support for state investment in higher education, with large majorities supporting making university tuition free and for cancelling student debt.

Levelling up and skills policy – Institute for Government (UK)

Focused on how to improve the UK’s approach to skills and training outside of London and the South East, this report calls for the Government to: make the levelling up skills mission more ambitious to return participation in adult education qualifications to 2010 levels; aim to increase participation in higher education as well as adult skills qualifications; and develop policies to improve early-years provision.

Have we missed something interesting? Let us know by getting in touch through info@sercoinstitute.com

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