The Covid-19 pandemic presents significant challenges for governments across the world. In addressing the virus, many Governments plan to release a contact-tracing app as part of its strategy to “test, track and trace to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and move towards safely reducing lockdown measures.” The app would notify individuals who may have been exposed to the virus to take the appropriate action such as to self-isolate or to be tested.
As highlighted in Human Rights and the Government’s Response to Covid-19: Digital Contact Tracing report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in the United Kingdom:
However, any such app will have an impact on the right to private and family life. If a contact-tracing app enables people to move around freely and safely, and is accompanied with sufficient protections, then the risk to privacy could be a more proportionate interference with individuals’ human rights than current restrictions imposed by the lockdown. However, there are significant concerns about a tracking app being rolled out at speed with the potential longer-term effects on personal freedoms and concerns around surveillance encroaching on people’s everyday lives. Such an app must not be rolled out nationally unless strong safeguards and protections are in place.
Unfortunately, it is not clear that the current legal and regulatory arrangements provide the necessary oversight and protections that should be required. As such, more should be done to consider deployments of technology with an eye toward preserving privacy, individual control, deletion, and short and long-term oversight.
Previously managed within the Blockchain, Digital Governance and Smart and Connected Communities Working Groups
Contact: Angie Raymond (email@example.com)
The Pandemics working group analyzes aspects of governance and political economy during pandemics.
Pandemic are not only biological events. They generate impacts that are worth understanding from a broad societal, political and economic perspective. This requires focusing on the big picture and on fundamental questions. Central features of our global society such as connectivity, mobility, and social interactions render the world more vulnerable to the challenge of pandemic diseases.
Pandemics increase the general problem of scarcity that always exists in society. For every decision made, opportunity costs must be considered in order to reduce total damage for society. Awareness of a secondary non-biological crises arising from the side effects of pandemic reactions need to be raised at the same time.
As infectious diseases spread, we can harness a valuable key resource, namely people who have immunity. This vital resource of immune people must be employed effectively, it must be certified, it must be searched for, it must be found, and it may be even be actively produced. Issues surrounding certification need to be systematically investigated.
Taking a resource perspective on pandemics allows to view the problem through the lens of other standard allocation and distribution issues. This means that economists and other social scientists, being well trained in handling such problems, should and will be able to provide useful solutions on how to cope with epidemic diseases and mass infections outbreaks.
Questions that can be explored within the working group are, among others: Why are some countries/region handling the crisis better than others? What is the role of political and economic institutions for crisis management? How can resources be effectively mobilized? What are the lessons for the future?
Specific Research Ideas Related to the Pandemic and Addressed by the Working Groups (non-exhaustive list)
- What type of institutions should be built to deal with a pandemic?
- What is the relevance of the separation of powers and “checks and balances”
- How do and how should we deal with emergencies that may require temporary concentration of power?
- The political economy of rational behavior versus panic during crisis.
- Macroeconomic and general equilibrium aspects related to redistributive politics
- The economics and politics of government debt: Who is buying government bonds to pay for stimulus programs?
- Enforcement and cooperation mechanisms during pandemics: Lockdowns, trust, immunity certificates.
- Role of experts during crises.
Working Group Leader:
David Stadelmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)
David Stadelmann (email@example.com)
Gustavo Torrens (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Short CV of Working Group Leader
Prof. Dr. David Stadelmann studied Economics (MA/BA) as well as Mathematics (MSc/BSc) at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) where he received his PhD in 2010 in Economics and Social Sciences.
He has been teaching and researching as a professor at the University of Bayreuth (Germany) since 2013 (call at age of 29). He is a committed educationalist.
David Stadelmann's research interests include political, public and institutional economics as well as the topics related to growth, development, federalism, and global factor mobility. He has authored over 40 scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals (among others in the PLOS ONE, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Public Choice, Journal of Development Economics) and seeks to extend economics beyond the standard neo-classics by including insights from other disciplines such as political science and sociology.
He publishes policy relevant findings of his research in non-academic outlets such as newspapers, magazines and blogs and he is a regular guest at international conferences around the world. He is a research fellow at CREMA (Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts), BEST (Centre for Behavioural Economics, Society and Technology), the Walter-Eucken-Institut, IREF (Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal Issues), among others.
He has been awarded diverse research prices including the “Reinhard-Selten-Preis” (German Economic Association), the “Ludwig-Erhard-Preis” (Ludwig Erhard Foundation), or the “Wissenschaftspreis” of the Region of Vorarlberg. Since 2015 he is an editor of the peer-reviewed journal Kyklos – International Review for Social Sciences.
Scientific and Other Contributions
The working group leader has already authored several scientific contributions (peer-reviewed articles and working papes) on the COVID-19 crisis and these contributions are discussed in the international press.
Extract of Scientific Contributions
- Eichenberger, R., Hegselmann, R., Savage, D. A., Stadelmann, D., and Torgler, B. (2020). Certified Coronavirus Immunity as a Resource and Strategy to Cope with Pandemic Costs. Kyklos, forthcoming, https://doi.org/10.1111/kykl.12227.
- Eichenberger, R., Hegselmann, R., Savage, D. A., Stadelmann, D., and Torgler, B. (2020). Corona-Immunity as a Resource and Opportunity for Emerging Markets. in The Viral World, Observer Research Foundation, forthcoming.
- Frempong, R. B., Stadelmann, D., and Wild, F. (2020). A Perspective on Secondary Effects of the Spread of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa), CREMA Contributions to Economic Policy No 2020-8, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts, http://www.crema-research.ch/bawp/2020-08.pdf
- Eichenberger, R. Hegselmann, R., Stadelmann, D. (2020). Corona-Immunität als entscheidende Ressource: Der Weg zurück in die Normalität, CREMA Contributions to Economic Policy No 2020-3, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts, http://www.crema-research.ch/bawp/2020-03.pdf
- Eichenberger, R., Hegselmann, R., Savage, D. A., Stadelmann, D., and Torgler, B. (2020). Coronavirus Immunity: A Certifiably Valuable Resource, https://socialsciences.nature.com/users/376755-benno-torgler/posts/66406-coronavirus-immunity-a-certifiably-valuable-resource, Dialogues - COVID-19 , NATURE community Behavioral & Social Sciences, https://socialsciences.nature.com/users/376755-benno-torgler/posts/66406-coronavirus-immunity-a-certifiably-valuable-resource
Extract of Contributions in the International Press
Institutions of all sizes are being challenged from a wide array of both internal and external forces, including climate change, social divisions that are undermining trust, cyber attacks, and recently threats to public health. This working group will engage with the literature on resilience and trust as informed by the Ostrom tradition to seek out new grant and research opportunities.
Scott Shackelford (email@example.com)
Janet McCabe (firstname.lastname@example.org)