Public Policy

Thinking our way to improving public policies

The goal is delivering sustainable economic growth and increased productivity. But governments face constant pressures: sometimes to do more, sometimes to do less; to spend more or to spend less. Our analysis helps to cut through those pressures: providing economic advice and ideas that everyone – both public and private sector – can get behind.

What our clients say

I am grateful to Frontier Economics for their thoughtful and rigorous analysis of the UK’s geospatial data market, which takes a unique approach to identifying the full impact of geospatial data throughout the UK economy and is the main basis for the Geospatial Commission’s recommendations.
Sir Andrew Dilnot
Geospatial Commission Chair

To govern is to choose

We’re able to provide these insights because:

  • We deploy specialist, tested economic theory and knowledge
  • We use cutting-edge techniques and behavioural insights to assess the impact of policies.
  • We work with and understand governments, businesses and the third sector in all their complexity.

We work with policy makers and business across Europe, in all major public sectors and areas of public policy. We help them understand what policy solutions might look like and whether they have been effective, by offering:

  • Appraisal
  • Evaluation
  • Experimentation
  • Modelling
  • Strategy


Health and social care

Health and social care are transforming fast. New treatments, new ways of delivering care, shifting attitudes to mental health and an ageing population - all of these changes make the economics of health and social care complex and important.

We are expert in ensuring the right combination of policy instruments are used to meet the multiple objectives for health and social care policy:

  • Economic regulation: when to implement new standards, rules or regulations; and how to design them to be effective and efficient?
  • Policy design and evaluation: where can fundamental reform help to shape how a sector evolves, such as meeting the challenge of long term conditions or of social care for an ageing population?
  • Choice and competition: where can different forms of competition or markets (from tendering to auctions to wider public choice) help to deliver desirable outcomes, and where will they not do so?

We understand the complexity of healthcare markets and their links to wider social care. We understand the challenges faced by governments and the practical issues of delivering care.

Innovation and growth

Stimulating sustainable economic growth is a priority for all nations. Increasing productivity is key to doing so.

We advise governments and businesses on the policies and measures that contribute to lasting economic growth, including:

  • Investment in drivers of growth such as infrastructure, skills and innovation.
  • Creating institutions and conditions that support a healthy and vibrant commercial sector, one which is innovative, collaborative and able to adopt and diffuse new ideas.
  • Understanding the contribution of different sectors and technologies to economic dynamism based on high-quality evidence.
  • Ensuring that the benefits of these policies reach people across regions and different socio-economic groups and local areas to help address spatial and other inequalities.

We understand the barriers to growth – including regulatory, policy and market failures – and how policy reform can help to overcome them. And we look at the bigger picture: thinking through the wider social impacts such as knowledge spillovers, environmental effects, and individual well-being.

Education and skills policy

Education and skills are crucial for an individual’s prospects and they affect us all: improving skills will increase living standards and productivity for the whole economy. But we need to ensure value for the money invested in new skills.

This means, for example:

  • Developing effective support for children in their pre-school years.
  • Addressing skills shortages through training, migration and ensuring new parents can return to work when they want.
  • Delivering more high quality apprenticeships and opportunities for Further Education.
  • Boosting the quality of and access to Higher Education, and understanding the role that universities play in the wider economy.

We have provided advice to governments on a range of issues in secondary, Further and Higher education, including estimating the impact of £7 billion of spending on educational outcomes, and the economics of how best to administer the exam system for 16-year-olds. We understand the economics of university education, along with its value to the economy and to students themselves. And we have a deep understanding of how and where to spend money before children start school, to improve their prospects and those of their parents.

Labour markets

Low pay is in the spotlight. 26% of women and 16% of men are in low paid work. Job security and patterns of work and pay are also changing rapidly.

We use robust economic analysis of labour markets to understand these trends and develop policy responses.

Recently we have worked on:

  • The links between migration and labour markets.
  • How best to deal with long term unemployment among young people in Europe.
  • The role of house prices and the cost of living in labour supply decisions.
  • Evaluating the impact of new childcare policies on parental employment.
  • The economic consequences of mass layoffs.
  • The impact of minimum wage reforms on labour market outcomes.

We also work more widely on the factors that affect the attractiveness of a county, city or town for high skilled workers: the impact of investments in cultural institutions, infrastructure, health and education. We understand that labour market outcomes result from that combination of demand for skills, supply of talented people and development of attractive places to live.