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Advantage Magazine – Summer 2023

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Advantage Magazine – Summer 2023

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Welcome to this issue of Advantage Magazine…

In this issue...

Escaping persecution: The role of professional networks
Sascha O. Becker and Sharun Mukand

How post-Brexit trade has driven up food bills
Jan David Bakker, Nikhil Datta, Richard Davies and Josh De Lyon

Are mandatory pension contributions boosting retirement savings?
David Burgherr

Political influencers: Does the US have a handle on lobbying activity?
Mirko Draca

Free trade, drugs and violence
Eduardo Hidalgo, Erik Hornung, Pablo Selaya

Can India achieve low-carbon growth?
Anant Sudarshan

Parting shot
Michael Waterson

In this issue we explore the challenge of designing policies that work in the real world. And the importance of understanding how people respond to them.

Badly designed policy can have unintended negative consequences. In leaving the EU, many policymakers hoped that UK trade could be released from unnecessary regulation, and this would boost the economy. But Jan Bakker et al. show that so far new trade arrangements with the EU have increased non-tariff trade barriers, and this has pushed up food bills. Looking back into history, Eduardo Hidalgo et al. demonstrate the negative effects of another trade policy, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Their analysis indicates that the agreement led to an increase in drug-related homicides in Mexico.

Yet, carefully considered policy can have positive effects. In a study of the impact of mandatory work-based pensions in Switzerland, David Burgherr finds some early evidence that the policy has encouraged some employees to save more for retirement. Meanwhile, Anant Sudarshan explains findings from a first-of-its-kind emission market experiment in India, which suggest emissions trading could hold the key to low-carbon growth there. Both studies demonstrate how important it is to test and monitor policy frameworks to understand how people respond.

Implementing new policy doesn’t necessarily mean people will comply. Our remaining two articles explore what happens when people try to work around new rules. Sascha O. Becker and Sharun Mukand explain how professional networks enabled Jewish academics to escape persecution in Nazi Germany following the introduction of racist policies in the 1930s. Mirko Draca meanwhile, takes us to Washington to reveal how firms are working around lobbying restrictions to lobby government from the shadows. Both articles showcase the power and adaptability of professional networks in responding to new regulations.

The need for agile policymaking – the ability to respond to unexpected shocks like energy price rises, in addition to long-forseen emergencies like climate change – has never been more obvious. In our parting shot, CAGE Impact Director Michael Waterson shares his expertise on the energy market, and highlights how recent energy policies have created conflicts for distributers, suppliers and consumers.

Stephanie Seavers, Editor