Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

New PostBusiness, big & small

Should companies be allowed to buy back their own shares?

During the pandemic, there has been severe hostility to firms buying back their own shares, a practice only made legal in the UK in 1981. Opposition to stock repurchases is associated with allegations of ‘short-termism’, but there is little evidence to support such claims.

Prices & interest rates

How are economic models adapting to rising inequality and the pandemic?

Over the past 15 years economic models have evolved to place the differences between individuals at their heart. This new breed of model is helping us understand the implications of rising inequality, the pandemic and the recovery.


Economic evolution: fast and slow

Economics is evolving, with researchers developing new ideas and tools for the modern world. Economies themselves are harder to shift, as a piece on pay in Britain shows. At the Observatory we are changing too, with lots of new projects and events to tell you about in this week’s letter.

Nations, regions & cities

Update: What has been the impact of Covid-19 on Northern Ireland’s economy?

Given the resurgence of the virus and a bigger fall in Northern Ireland’s GDP than expected, policy is focused on restoring public health and maintaining some stability of jobs and incomes. But delays in tackling underlying economic weaknesses will have long-term costs.

Prices & interest rates

Do we need a new constitution for central banking?

The global financial crisis, persistently weak growth and now Covid-19 have created tensions between politics and central banking. The time is ripe for a refreshed constitution, making clear the purpose of independent central banks, and what should fall to fiscal authorities.

Health, physical & mental

Who should be vaccinated first?

Limited supplies of Covid-19 vaccines mean that hard choices need to be made. There have been a variety of different national strategies for deciding who should be priorities for the first doses. Each method of allocation raises health, economic and ethical issues.

Public spending, taxes & debt

Who has financed higher government spending during the pandemic?

Borrowing by the UK government has hit peacetime highs this year. Often such increases in public debt rest on borrowing from abroad – but in this crisis, a sharp rise in domestic saving by households has offset public spending. In effect, the government has borrowed from taxpayers.

All Answers