UBS Center Newsletter July 2018

10 Florian Scheuer – what is the reason for this publi- cation? We have a vibrant community of economists here at the Department of Economics, and the scope of the research we produce is vast. It addresses pressing problems, breaks new ground in examining chal- lenges to society and often finds its way into leading academic journals. But it does not always reach decision makers in the public and private sector. Regardless of whether we are exploring the real- world impact of technological progress, rising inequality, tax and trade policy, or changing social norms: our tools and insights are relevant for gov- ernments and businesses. They help design policies and strategies that ultimately benefit millions of people, both in Switzerland and across the world. With the policy briefs, we make this research easily accessible and share it with a broad community. What topics can we expect? Our first policy brief will cover the changing gender composition in the most high-paying, cognitive jobs. Over the last decades, we have observed a significant increase in the share of female, college- educated workers in these occupations. The policy brief will examine the role of social skills in ex- plaining this finding. The second brief will address the widely shared concern that technological change saves labor, e.g. through automation, and could destabilize both social cohesion and the functioning of democracy. The authors go back in history and explore the introduction of a new technology – the threshing machine – which displaced agricultural workers and led to social unrest in 1830’s Britain. The third policy brief will zoom into Switzerland and highlight how social norms differ, especially regarding the work ethic, between the German and French language areas of Switzerland, and how this affects labor market outcomes. Other future briefs will cover topics from the best way to provide insurance to farmers and how to enforce taxes in developing countries, to the design of trade policy, and the role of firms in the recent rise in top income inequality. What opportunities do you see unfold? I am excited to help my colleagues’ research make its way into the hands of policy makers through this channel. Their expertise can give governments and businesses the rigorous and clear insights need- ed for informed debates and decisions. We have a chance to influence many of the most important policy issues, make economic policy more effective, and thereby, ultimately, make people better off. I hope it also encourages researchers, especially the younger ones at the start of their careers and our graduate students, to work on the policy-relevant problems that need to be tackled to strengthen our domestic and the global economy. I view it as a great complement to the many other activities we pursue with the UBS Center, especially our events that bring together scholars, decision makers and our supporters to exchange ideas on the economic challenges of our time. What is a policy brief, in short? A policy brief is a condensed and non-technical version of our top research papers. It covers a com- plex issue in a way that can help readers understand and decide about government policies. Addressees are leaders in the public and private sector, as well as the wider public and journalists. We will publish around eight policy briefs every year and make them available on our webpage and on . One aspect I would like to emphasize is that, even though our goal is to address real-world policy questions, we remain strictly nonpartisan. We see our role as injecting rigorous, objective scientific New policy brief series We are excited to announce the upcoming publication series titled “UBS Center Poli- cy Briefs.” To get some insights, we sat down with editor-in-chief Florian Scheuer, Professor of Economics of Institutions at the University of Zurich, endowed by the UBS Center. PUBLICATIONS New UBS Center Policy Briefs, condensed and distilled.