Launch of new Economics Observatory

Today, a new website has been launched – the Economics Observatory (ECO) – that aims to offer insights into the economics of the Covid-19 crisis and the recovery.

The initiative, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), draws on the expertise of economists from over 25 universities and research institutions from across the UK.

You can access the website at the following link –

At the Fraser, we’re delighted to be part of this new exciting initiative. Professor Graeme Roy is a Lead Editor on the project, and Dr Stuart McIntyre a contributing author and editor.

We’re pleased to have secured contributions to the ECO from academics across Scotland on a wide range of topics. Some of these are already on the ECO website, and others will be added in the coming weeks.

The briefings are written for policy-makers, the media, the public, students and teachers who are interested in the economics of Covid-19 and the implications for households, organisations and public policy.

The website already features some interesting briefings, including:

  • The epidemic and the economy: what are the trade-offs? The Covid-19 health emergency has caused economic havoc on a scale not seen in living memory. It is important to understand the interactions between the epidemic and the economy to be able to deal with the difficult trade-offs facing policy-makers and the public.
  • When should schools re-open? Countries in Europe and elsewhere have taken very different strategies to getting children back to school after closures. What are the difficulties in making decisions about re-opening? And why is there so much variation among national approaches?
  • How will the Covid-19 crisis affect the NHS? The lockdown was implemented largely to ‘save lives and protect the NHS’ amid fears of capacity being overwhelmed. What are likely to be the effects of the crisis on the supply of NHS healthcare, and on demand for healthcare, now and in the future?
  • Why is uncertainty so damaging for the economy? The Covid-19 pandemic and policy responses have made life much more uncertain for everyone – individuals, organisations and governments. What impact does all this uncertainty have on the economy and how can policy-makers respond?
  • Will Scotland’s economy be hit more or less than the UK as a whole? Just like elsewhere else, Scotland’s economy is facing unprecedented stress from the Covid-19 crisis. How it performs in the months ahead will depend on the policy choices of Scottish ministers – and how these differ, complement or cut across UK-wide policies.
  • Which firms and industries have been most affected by lockdown? Almost all UK businesses have been badly affected by the crisis, but some industries have been hit harder than others. Financial market data and surveys of firms themselves provide insights into the scale of the impact on sales, employment, supply chains and business uncertainty.
  • What is the likely future role of the state in the UK economy? Economic distress caused by the pandemic, the lockdown and the recession have required a big increase in public spending. How has the crisis affected the size of the state and the effectiveness of government policy?
  • How is the crisis affecting inequalities across ethnic groups? There are growing concerns that the UK’s ethnic minorities are suffering disproportionately as a result of the pandemic – in terms of both their higher mortality risks and the worse economic outcomes for some groups.
  • What are the lessons for today from running a wartime economy? The world continues to experience episodes that remind us of the profound disruptions of twentieth-century wartime. But how far does the war analogy stretch? Covid-19 has been able to disrupt our economy at a speed that no foreign enemy has ever matched.

How to help with the ECO

If you are an academic interested in contributing to this portal, please get in touch with either Graeme or Stuart.

If you have a question that you would like us to answer through the portal – get in touch too.

We are keen to make sure that the questions that people have about the economics around the impact of CoVid and the economic recovery are put to experts across the UK.

Who’s all involved

Romesh Vaitilingam is Editor-in-Chief of ECO – and the lead editors are:

  • Tim Besley (LSE)
  • Jagjit Chadha(National Institute of Economic and Social Research, NIESR)
  • Diane Coyle(University of Cambridge)
  • Rachel Griffith (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Manchester)
  • Michael McMahon (University of Oxford)
  • Carol Propper (Imperial College Business School)
  • Imran Rasul(University College London)
  • Graeme Roy(Fraser of Allander Institute, University of Strathclyde)
  • Sarah Smith (University of Bristol)
  • John Turner (Queen’s University Belfast).

For more details, please visit:


The Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) is a leading economy research institute based in the Department of Economics at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.