Below is a brief collection of the areas in which I work, along with a few examples of what I do. Visit the my writing for a chronological list of my publications, posts, reports, and commentary.
governing digital tech
Over 2018 and 2019 I ran the research and policy team of the Pathways for Prosperity Commission on technology and inclusive development. A two-year commission of inquiry – chaired by Melinda Gates, Sri Mulyani Indrwati and Strive Masiyiwa – that reset the global discussion on how developing countries can navigate and take advantage of technological disruption. Now I hold a similar role setting up a long-term research agenda at Oxford University on the same issues.
- the final report from the Pathways Commission: the Digital Roadmap
- a recent (2020) paper on using digital technology to deliver social protection
- a recent (2020) paper looking at how the interests of developing countries are served (or not) by global digital governance
economic strategy (and the digital economy)
The nature of the global economy has changed dramatically over the last few decades. The tools we use to think about trade and value and competition are not well-tuned to the digital economy. For some people, this mismatch leads leads to bold claims: “data is the no oil” (it isn’t) or “everything should run on blockchain” (please, stop). Everyone is going to need new models and new heuristics to navigate the digital economy, and I am trying to push out the edges out a bit further.
- blog post on the economics of “data dominance”
- As part of the Pathways for Prosperity Commission, I managed and oversaw digital economic strategy projects with the governments of South Africa, Mongolia and Ethiopia
I am one of the research leads behind the Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker (GitHub repo, university website). We have created a systematic database of government responses to Covid-19, tracking the types of levels of responses in almost every country in the world. Our data is being used by journalists, policymakers and researchers all over the world, accessed thousands of times a day.
- interactive website presenting our data, created by Our World in Data
- working papers on understanding how country-level socioeconomic factors are shaping national responses, and on how the speed and stringency of government responses impact the peak death rate
- TV interview with ‘NewsTrack’ on India Today
- commentary on easing restrictions
When I was a civil servant in Australia I mostly worked on domestic policy: housing, social services, education, tax and transfer system. This is the bread and butter issues of government; how to make sure that a country moves towards shared prosperity. Working on these questions requires one to be part technocrat and part philosopher – understanding the complex interconnections between policy, economy and society, and then ultimately making values-based decisions about what goals to aim for and how to achieve them.
- article in Aeon on how our living standards exceeded even the most optimistic estimates from economists in the early 1900s, even if it doesn’t feel like it
- a series of papers and notes with the Resolution Foundation on welfare and living standards in the UK
- commentary in the Sydney Morning Herald on Australian housing policy
I am from Australia – I grew up in Adelaide and moved to Canberra to start my career as a civil servant. Occasionally my work will overlap with Australian issues. And when it doesn’t, which is more often than not, I seek out opportunities to work or write on Australian issues.