Written on 6 Apr 2020 by Professor Michael Kenny and Professor Diane Coyle

The COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 crisis, which is affecting us here in the UK, and across the world, is having profound impacts upon everyday life, economic systems and political communities in unprecedented ways.

Like many others, we too have been forced to change how we work and talk to each other, and to figure out new ways of communicating with the audiences for our work.

Our core mission – to provide rigorous, evidence based arguments for public policy-makers in an era characterised by economic, political, and now medical, turbulence, drawing on the world-class research being conducted at Cambridge – is more urgent than ever. And we are acutely aware of the need for experts to show due responsibility and humility when offering advice and ‘solutions’ to policy-makers who are operating in conditions of huge uncertainty, and are wrestling with decisions that will have major impacts upon the lives and well-being of the populations they govern.

In this spirit, we are publishing a series of short blogs and papers offering some of the key findings and relevant insights of research being conducted within our community. We hope this will make a contribution to policy-makers’ understanding of the pandemic, its likely impacts and the merits of different responses and actions. 

We will be offering reflections, too, on the decisions and challenges facing all countries affected by COVID-19, as they move beyond the immediate crises they face. We will provide thoughts and evidence about the kinds of economic recovery that countries might wish to pursue; about the importance of integrating economic and social scientific analyses alongside scientific insight into the future thinking and planning of governments; about the various kinds of inequality - and their geographical and social axes - which the current crisis may well exacerbate; and about the challenges to politics and governing institutions which are already manifesting themselves.

Our contributions are designed to join a growing global conversation about the many different policy challenges which the Coronavirus pandemic, and its aftermath, are raising. And they are intended as well to help decision-makers and analysts grapple with the deep questions about the goals and nature of public policy as an enterprise, which are becoming ever more pressing in its wake. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported the Institute so far, we offer our very best wishes to all of you. We hope that you will find these contributions of some value in these most trying of times.

Michael Kenny and Diane Coyle
April 2020

  • About the author

    Professor Michael Kenny, Co-Director, Bennett Institute for Public Policy

    Professor Kenny directs the Institute’s place and public policy programme.   Learn more

    Mike Kenny
  • About the author

    Professor Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy

    Professor Coyle co-directs the Institute with Professor Kenny. She is heading research under the progress and productivity themes.   Learn more

    Diane Coyle 2018