• Visa Ban Strikes Another Blow at Cross-Border Labor Flows

    President Donald Trump’s executive order this week to extend and expand a ban on issuing visas to certain classes of foreign workers — ostensibly to preserve 525,000 jobs for hard-pressed American workers — was celebrated by advocates of decreased immigration. But business leaders and economists worry that in addition to doing short-term damage to some sectors of the U.S. economy, it could also make talented professionals from overseas less willing to relocate to the United States in the future. 

  • Uncertainty in Renewable Energy Regulation Leads to Electricity Price Volatility

    Incorporating renewable energies into the electricity system entails a certain degree of volatility in the electricity price owing to the intermittent nature of generation by plants of this type. However, a study by the UPV/EHU shows that the greatest volatility is caused when unexpected regulatory changes are made in the renewable sector. What disrupts economic players most is uncertainty.

  • Protecting Children's Online Privacy

    A University of Texas at Dallas study of 100 mobile apps for kids found that 72 violated a federal law aimed at protecting children’s online privacy. Researchers developed a tool that can determine whether an Android game or other mobile app complies with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

  • Manufacturers to Rethink Global Operations in Face of COVID-19

    Manufacturers must redesign and reform their Global Supply Chains or Global Production Networks (GPN) if they want to survive and prosper in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study argues. The virus’ impact demonstrates that global manufacturing concerns must switch from large production sites in a single location, such as China, to numerous smaller facilities around the world to reduce business risk. Stability, reliability, resilience and predictability are critical in the design of global production networks that balance risk versus reward and harmonize economic value with values related to reliability, resilience and location.

  • Forget the Doom and Gloom. The Retreat of COVID-19 Is a Great Cause for Optimism

    While respiratory viruses nearly always evolve towards lower virulence, essentially because the least sick people go to the most meetings and parties, this one was never very dangerous for most people in the first place. Its ability to kill 80-year-olds in care homes stands in sharp contrast with its inability to kill younger people.Matt Ridley writes in The Telegraph that the influential Imperial College modelers have unrealistically assumed that all the reduction in coronavirus transmission was due to interventions. But as an expert scourge of dubious models, Nic Lewis, has shown, with arguably more realistic assumptions, Imperial’s own model implies lockdowns did not make the largest contribution towards ending this wave of the pandemic. Will there be another wave in the autumn? Most medics think so. But if we learn the lessons of the first wave – mainly that shielding the old and vulnerable is key – and we manage at least some effective contact tracing, then the winter wave should be more like a series of small, local outbreaks. A second national lockdown would be a huge mistake, given the harm the first one has done to everything from cancer diagnosis to mental health, let alone employment.

  • COVID-19 Sparks Technology Innovation

    Researchers say the swift development of wearable sensors tailored to a pandemic reinforces how a major crisis can accelerate innovation, Kane Farabaugh writes in VOA News. “I think it’s really opened people’s eyes to what’s possible, in terms of modern technology in that context,” said John Rogers of Northwestern University Technological Institute.

  • Fear of Infection Hurt the Economy More Than Lockdowns

    There’s good reason, though, to believe that most of the economic damage from the lockdowns weren’t due to stay-at-home orders, but because of public fear of the virus. For example, people started avoiding restaurants before lockdowns began in late March. Noah Smith writes in Bloomberg that it might seem strange that lockdowns can be both effective at protecting people from coronavirus and yet not have a big impact on the economy. But it’s definitely not impossible. This suggests that new lockdowns need not be as restrictive as the ones in March to protect the public. This sort of lockdown-lite might achieve the best of both worlds for states and cities experiencing coronavirus spikes. But it also needs to be paired with vigorous testing, contact tracing and isolation of infected people.

  • Air Bridges for Holidaymakers Could Be Restricted to Under Ten Destinations from Beginning of July

    Air bridges for holidaymakers to sidestep quarantine are set to open with fewer than 10 predominantly short-haul destinations, The Daily Telegraph understands. Charles Hymas, Gordon Rayner, Sam Meadows, and Hugh Morris write in The Telegraph that a list of about a dozen potential countries including Portugal, Spain, France, Greece and France is being considered for bilateral agreements where British holidaymakers could fly from July 4 without facing the 14-day quarantine on their arrival or return. Officials are drawing up criteria by which to determine the risk posed by each destination of spreading coronavirus on tourists’ return.

  • How Safe Is Flying in the Age of Coronavirus?

    With many governments loosening travel restrictions to restart economies, airlines have begun restoring flights that were put on hold as the coronavirus pandemic spread. Charlotte Ryan and Naomi Kresge write in the Washington Post that business is slow, as would-be passengers worry about being stuck in a cabin for an extended time with possibly infectious strangers. The record shows the risks aren’t negligible.

  • The Dangers of Tech-Driven Solutions to COVID-19

    Although few sensible people have anything good to say about the federal government response, reactions to tools for managing the pandemic designed by tech firms have been more mixed, with many concluding that such tools can minimize the privacy and human rights risks posed by tight coordination between governments and tech firms. Julie E. Cohen, Woodrow Hartzog, and Laura Moy write for Brookings that contact tracing done wrong threatens privacy and invites mission creep into adjacent fields, including policing. Government actors might (and do) distort and corrupt public-health messaging to serve their own interests. Automated policing and content control raise the prospect of a slide into authoritarianism. 

  • Critical Minerals in U.S. Waters

    For centuries, people have crossed oceans in search of valuable minerals. In recent times, though, increasing attention has been paid to the oceans themselves for their mineral potential, especially rock formations on the seafloor. American researchers are focusing primarily on the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ. This region extends 200 miles from a country’s shoreline and gives the country control over the exploration and exploitation of marine resources in that area.

  • U.K. to See Three Waves of Unemployment as a Result of COVID-19, Experts Warn

    The UK will be hit with three waves of unemployment as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, experts have claimed as official data is on Tuesday expected to show a record monthly rise in joblessness. Anna Mikhailova writes in The Telegraph that new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will reflect the first wave of jobs lost since the lockdown began. Analysis by the Resolution Foundation, the economic think tank, predicts the April data will show a record monthly rise of people out of work, up from the latest figure of 1.29m in March.

  • U.K. to See Three Waves of Unemployment as a Result of COVID-19, Experts Warn

    The UK will be hit with three waves of unemployment as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, experts have claimed as official data is on Tuesday expected to show a record monthly rise in joblessness. Anna Mikhailova writes in The Telegraph that new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will reflect the first wave of jobs lost since the lockdown began. Analysis by the Resolution Foundation, the economic think tank, predicts the April data will show a record monthly rise of people out of work, up from the latest figure of 1.29m in March.

  • This Disastrous Lockdown Can Never Be Repeated, Even If the Virus Returns

    Three months after we entered lockdown, as we tiptoe out to non-essential stores and meet a lonely relative, we can begin to benefit from something previously unavailable – experience. William Hague writes in The Telegraph that instead of having to rely entirely on widely varying mathematical models and fight an unknown virus in a fog of uncertainty, governments can start to see what has actually worked in different places around the world. The most important thing we now know is the true cost of a national lockdown, not just in economic but in human terms. The lockdown was a disaster on many fronts. “Such a disaster cannot under any circumstances be repeated. There can be no second lockdown.”

  • If Scientists Are Wrong about COVID, They Must Be Held to Account

    The world has panicked, and the British government has panicked worse than most. We scared ourselves and our fellow citizens out of rational thought. Matthew Parris writes in The Times that by losing our sense of proportion I submit we have crashed our economy, crashed our education system, our performing arts, our tourist and travel industry, and blighted the life chances of a whole generation. Before too long, commentators, politicians and scientists may be blushing at the mess we made of our national response to the coronavirus pandemic. Commentators will duck. Politicians will be blamed for everything, and who can doubt that political leadership has been a shambles? But how about “the science”, those men and women, academics, doctors and mathematical modelers, in whose expertise ministers once placed their trust?