ESCoE is holding a new set of webinars this Autumn to share some of the latest research on measuring the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presenter: Gregory Thwaites (University of Nottingham)
‘The Impact of COVID-19 on Productivity’
We present forecasts of the impact of COVID-19 on productivity in the private sector of a representative industrialised country derived from a firm-level survey. Our estimates suggest that COVID-19 will reduce TFP by around 5% per cent in the year to 2021Q2. Firms anticipate a large, negative reduction in productivity within firms, which is more than fully accounted for by an increase in the use of intermediate inputs to produce sales. Part of this may not be fully measured in early vintages of official data. The negative within-firms effect is expected to be offset, partially and decreasingly over time, by a positive between-firms effect as employment shrinks most in the least productive sectors, and the least productive firms within them.
Presenters: Nick Bate and Alastair Firrell (Bank of England)
‘Necessity is the mother of invention: the Bank’s use of “faster indicators” of economic activity since the COVID-19 outbreak’
The vast majority of traditional economic indicators are published with lags of at least a few weeks. Moreover, many of them are ill-suited to capturing the extent of the decline in activity after the COVID-19 outbreak. Consequently, given the speed and magnitude of the changes in economic activity since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a rapid expansion in the use of “fast” indicators of economic activity both in the UK and abroad. This presentation sets out the main issues faced by the Bank of England in incorporating faster indicators into its monitoring of the economy after the COVID-19 outbreak, some of the new data sources it is now employing to gauge economic activity and the data science techniques involved in assimilating them.
Presenters: Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge) and David Nguyen (NIESR & ESCoE)
‘Free goods and economic welfare’
We use surveys representative of the UK online population to assess the welfare value of online and offline goods with a zero price. Through pilot studies and two surveys conducted before and during the COVID-19 lockdown, we ascertain consumers’ willingness to accept the loss of a range of ‘free’ online and offline goods, as well as some substitutes with a positive market price. The average value assigned to free goods was generally high, particularly when benchmarked against revenue figures for the services. The ratio of stated valuations to average revenues is higher for free than for non-zero price goods. We also present demand curves and explore the distributional effect of free goods as between different demographic groups. The surveys suggest that absolute valuations are not tightly anchored, but indicate clear rankings among goods. The natural experiment of the COVID-19 lockdown brought about changes in valuations that were significant for some goods and have plausible sign and scale. We also discuss the limitations of the contingent valuation approach to estimate the aggregate effect of such goods on economic welfare, in particular questions of distribution, the meaning of the gap between willingness to accept and willingness to pay, and the absence of an adding up constraint for aggregate measurement.
Presenter: Karlis Kanders (Nesta)
‘Mapping ‘career causeways’ for workers displaced by automation and COVID-19’
Abstract not yet available.