October 15, 2021

Friday news roundup October 15, 2021

Friday news roundup October 15, 2021

Austerity measures linked to more than 50,000 extra deaths in five years, according to research published in BMJ Open. Researchers from the University of York who analyzed the joint impact of cuts to health care, public health, and social care made by the Conservative government in England since 2010 found that even in just the four years that followed there were 57,550 more deaths than expected. A slowdown in life expectancy improvement was also found to have coincided with the government’s sharp cuts to health and social care funding after the Conservative government came to power 11 years ago. Prof Karl Claxton of the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York said, “Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the slowdown in the rate of improvement in life expectancy in England and Wales since 2010 is attributable to spending constraints in the healthcare and social care sectors.” Real social care spending rose by 2.2% per capita between 2001–02 and 2009–10, but fell by 1.57% between 2010–11 and 2014–15. Real health care spending rose by 3.82% per capita between 2001–02 and 2009–10, but only by 0.41% between 2010–11 and 2014–15. The current Conservative prime minister, Boris Johnson, has pledged £12 billion per year to help the National Health Service catch up after the coronavirus pandemic and to overhaul social care, but this is to be achieved by increasing tax on workers’ earnings by 1.25% from April 2022.

Read Xi Chen’s IZA World of Labor article, “Relative deprivation and individual well-being,” and Nick Drydakis' article, “The relationship between recessions and health,” and find more Covid-related IZA World of Labor content.

The International Energy Agency’s latest report says progress on clean energy is “far too slow to put global emissions into sustained decline towards net zero.” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, says “[t]he world’s hugely encouraging clean energy momentum is running up against the stubborn incumbency of fossil fuels in our energy systems.” The World Energy Outlook 2021 report comes in advance of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland, to be held between October 31 and November 12. Electric vehicle sales may have achieved new records in 2020 and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic continued to grow rapidly, but “[f]or all the advances being made by renewables and electric mobility, 2021 is seeing a large rebound in coal and oil use,” as recovery from the global recession caused by Covid-19 has put significant strains on the energy system. “Largely for this reason, it is also seeing the second-largest annual increase in CO2 emissions in history.” Birol says governments need to resolve this problem at COP26 because “[t]he social and economic benefits of accelerating clean energy transitions are huge, and the costs of inaction are immense.”

Find IZA World of Labor content (articles, commentary, and video) on environmental regulation and the labor market.

New research suggests investors in Africa still favor male startups. Briter Bridges and the World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab looked at 1,112 companies operating in Africa that received venture capital funding between 2013 and May 2021. Seventy-five percent of the 1,112 companies had all-male teams, 9% all-female teams, and 14% had a mix of male and female founders. Just 3% of the $1.7 billion raised across 1,585 deals that were less than $20 million per deal, the benchmark used, went to all-female founding teams, with 76% going to all-male teams. The report shows that female-led startups are not getting a proportional share of available funding. The trend is current as of 2020, when 84% of funding was found to have gone to all-male founding teams versus 3% to all-female ones, with mixed teams getting 13%. Following the overall trend, only 3% of early-stage funding to fintech—the continent’s most funded sector—goes to all-female startup teams. The issue is partially driven by the fact there aren’t that many women in the finance and technology sector in general, according to Jihan Abass, founder and CEO of Kenyan insurtech company Lami. Abass says more girls need to be encouraged to choose careers in STEM, with entrepreneurship also shown to be a viable career path, actions which could then increase the number of women who go on to found startups. This is important because women-led companies tend to hire more women in staff and management roles, suggests the report.

Read Siri A. Terjesen’s IZA World of Labor article, “Conditions for high-potential female entrepreneurship.” Find content on the subject of entrepreneurship, jobs, and economic growth.