The sanctions placed on Russian oil may give new impetus to the energy transition by encouraging developed economies to find new sources of energy. Current policy has focused largely on supply-side responses to manage this development. This VoxEU column says that demand-side policies may also play a critical role. The authors argue for policies that increase the price elasticity of oil demand, such as incentives for individuals to switch to electric vehicles through subsidies. Nonetheless, they emphasise that the distributional effects of policies, including carbon pricing, are politically important and cannot be ignored.
To assess the impact of Covid-19 on Egypt’s labour markets, it is useful to understand how they functioned prior to the shock. Drawing on two decades of data on labour market transitions, this column concludes that the hefty reliance of the country’s economy on public sector employment, in particular for women, the small size of the private formal sector, the large and increasing private informal sector, and the very low participation of women all make the Egyptian labour market less resilient in absorbing the negative effects of the pandemic.
The idea of a regular, unconditional and individual cash payment distributed to all citizens is gaining ground. This column argues that such a basic income would ensure that everyone is able to meet their basic needs unconditionally, thereby improving people’s resilience and solidifying communities. Ultimately, a basic income could help to rebuild the social contract in the Arab world where governments would uphold human dignity by awarding citizens economic security as a right.