Questions and answers about
the UK economy.

Economics and the
coronavirus crisis

The Economics Observatory (ECO) is a new project that bridges the gap between academic research, government policy and the general public. Our goal is to provide balanced and reliable answers to the economic questions that Covid-19 and its aftermath will bring. We make it our mission to make these answers as accessible and engaging as possible. The ECO team are drawn from across the countries and regions of the UK, with a hub in Bristol. By publishing daily articles, videos and charts, we believe ECO can help the public and policymakers better understand the pandemic and the numerous challenges that will follow.

Core Team

Richard Davies is an economist and heads up the ECO team. He is the author of Extreme Economies and writes occasional op-eds and journalistic pieces having previously been economics editor at The Economist. An active researcher he is interested in using micro data to answer questions about the aggregate puzzles, including inflation, productivity, and wages. Richard teaches at Bristol University, is co-director of the Bristol Festival of Economics and a founding trustee of CORE.

Romesh Vaitilingam is an economics writer and leads editorial work at the ECO. He is the author of several books and reports on economics, finance, business and public policy, including the Financial Times Guide to Using the Financial Pages which has sold over a quarter of a million copies since 1993. Romesh also works with the economic research and policy-making community, including the Centre for Economic Policy Research and VoxEU, the European Economic Association, the IGM Forum’s Economic Experts Panels and the Royal Economic Society.

Charlie Meyrick runs the ECO website and is manager of the Bristol hub. Having studied economics and mathematics at university, as well as completing a master’s degree in international development, he is interested in improving the communication and accessibility of economic research. He has written for the Bristol Festival of Economics and works as a copy editor for the Centre for Economic Policy Research and VoxEU.

Ashley Lait is the editorial manager at the Economics Observatory. She is also the Centre Manager of the Economics Network (an organisation that works to enhance the quality of university economics education and expand the wider understanding of the subject) and an Editor for the Economic Review magazine for A-level students. Ashley is in the process of completing her postgraduate thesis which examines post-conflict negotiations in South Asia, having previously worked as a Research Assistant at King’s College London.

Dénes Csala manages ECO’s data. Dénes is a researcher and thinker interested in exploring the language of data: visualisation. He holds an Assistant Professorship at Lancaster University, where his research is focused on modelling complex energy systems. He is also Visiting Assistant Professor at Babe?-Bolyai University in Romania, where his work is centred around data visualisation and business intelligence.

Xenia Levantis helps run ECO’s Bristol hub. Xenia’s background is in higher education policy, with expertise in student engagement practices. Before joining ECO, she worked on the development of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcome Framework, as well as the review of digital teaching and learning in higher education. Xenia is currently studying for a master’s degree in public policy, with her research focusing on user-driven policy change and user-centred policy formulation practices.

Lead Editors

Tim Besley is an expert in development economics, public economics and political economy. Much of his research on international economic policies, both in developed and emerging market economies. Tim also has first-hand experience as a policymaker, having been on the Bank of England’s MPC, and serving on the National Infrastructure Commission. He is School Professor of Economics and W Arthur Professor of Development Economics at LSE.

Jagjit Chadha is an expert on financial markets and monetary policy, as well as economic and financial history. This means that much of his research has been focused on money, inflation, interest rates and the banking sector, and how each of these areas has developed over time. Jagjit is the Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

Huw Dixon is an expert on monetary policy and the measurement of the economy, including inflation and GDP. He has conducted research with the Bank of England, ECB, Bank of France as well as working with the Office for National Statistics on developing house price indices and the use of big data. He is Professor of Economics at Cardiff Business School.

Diane Coyle is an expert on digital markets, productivity and competition. She has extensively researched the role of new technologies in the economy, as well as wider approaches to measuring economic wellbeing. Diane is the inaugural Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, and a Director of the Productivity Institute and Fellow of the Office for National Statistics.  

Rachel Griffith is an expert on the impacts of government policies on firms, workers and consumers. This means that she has produced a large body of research on how different economic policies affect the functioning of markets. Rachel is also interested in improving the ways that economists communicate with the wider public, and in increasing diversity within the profession. She is Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester and is Research Director at the IFS.

Michael McMahon is an expert on monetary economics, fiscal policy, business cycles, and applied econometrics. This means that a large part of his work has been focused on the role and behaviour of central banks, government budgets, and the economic cycle. As well as serving on the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, Michael is Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Hugh’s College.

Carol Propper has focused her research on increasing understanding of the factors that affect the production of public services, with a particular emphasis on healthcare. This means that much of her work has been centred around how governments design public services, and how they can be improved. Carol is Professor of Economics at Imperial College Business School, London.

Graeme Roy is an expert in economic devolution, regional policy and the Scottish economy. This means he has done extensive research on economic policy in Scotland, having also worked as a government advisor for many years. Graeme is Dean of External Engagement in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow.

Sarah Smith is an expert on charitable giving and pro-social behaviour. She is also an expert on gender and has worked on the impact of Covid-19 on the allocation of childcare. Sarah is co-chair of a campaign to promote diversity among economics students and set up a COVID-economics blog targeted at 6th formers wanting a taste of economics. She is Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol.

John Turner is an expert on economic and financial history. This means he has focused much of his research on how economic policies, banks and businesses have all evolved over time. John is a Professor of Finance and Financial History at Queen's University Belfast and is director of the Queen's University Centre for Economic History.

Editorial Board