Can academic research influence government policy?

By | November 21, 2013

Jacoub SleibiJacoub has completed an MSc in Global Finance and Banking at Bradford University’s School of Management and is working with the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) to develop plans to reestablish a single Palestinian currency, the Palestinian pound. Currently, Palestinians use three currencies – the US dollar, the Jordanian dinar and the Israeli Shekel.

I am currently working with the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) to turn the research from my dissertation into a white paper that will be viewed by those countries which invest in Palestine.

We are very dependent on  foreign aid and when we implement the new single currency, we will need a lot of funds, so the aim is to use this paper to provide a business case to the donor countries. The paper will also show that having our own currency is crucial to us becoming an independent state, something which is now recognised by the UN.

1. How is my research influencing the PMA?

The major finding in my research whilst at the north’s top management school has been the discovery that one exchange rate pushes up the economy and the other pushes it down, leaving the economy (measured by real GDP) in between both scenarios. Moreover, the economy responds negatively to an increase in the inflation rate which is a deviation from theory.

My MSc has really helped me look at this, particularly the module quantitative methods in finance. This taught me some very important econometric tools, such as using statistical software. And with the help of my professor Dr Abhi Sharma at the University of Bradford Management School, I discovered impulse response functions (IRF) – these showed me how one exchange rate pushes up the economy and the other pushes it down.

Other aspects of my course gave me a strong understanding of the core principles of macroeconomic aspects of banking and finance and it is this knowledge which has the potential to ultimately influence not only government policy but also the economic climate in Palestine. Read my blog to find out more.

GDP

2. Can academic research realistically be used to influence government strategy?

Courtesy of www.dur.ac.uk

Courtesy of www.dur.ac.uk

I believe my research will in the long term bring about both economic and political stability and it gives me real pleasure to know that I am helping my country in such a way, irrespective of the outcome of the peace talks between Palestine and Israel.

Dr Thom Brooks, reader in law at Durham University, believes employing academics is a trend that should be used more by governments particularly as it has been reported that the UK government spent up to £800 million on private consultants and short-term staff in 2012-13.

Dr Brooks says that in the UK, this bill could be greatly reduced by tapping into the specialist knowledge of academics and using them as consultants.

This is nothing new though. Back in 2008, a report by the Council for Science and Technology said healthy engagement between academics and policymakers was essential to the provision of informed, evidence-based, world-class policymaking – a result of the “impact” element of the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

But to achieve this fully, academics would need to produce clear outcomes, define policy implications and communicate in a clear and accessible way. Only then, would they be considered as an alternative to thinktanks or as a partner.

3. What is the next step?

The ongoing problem we face here in Palestine is the political situation and the huge uncertainty associated with it. This is going to make it hard for us to implement a new currency because the transition from three currencies to one needs a safe political environment and at the moment, there isn’t one.

However, I always remain optimistic and believe that one day, my country will once again have its own currency.

How can academics sell their skills better to both government and business? What do they need to do to show they can contribute to the ‘real’ world? What else would help the PMA introduce a single currency?

One thought on “Can academic research influence government policy?

  1. Pingback: So how should you go about researching a university – and course – and what questions should you ask? | Bradford Management Thinking Blog

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