The pursuit of fairness

Fairness is an economic issue, too

Policies that aim for fair outcomes are not only morally right, they’re good for the economy

The pursuit of fairness is a just cause. We want to be treated fairly, be it at work or in our various dealings with the state. Unfortunately, our experience is often the opposite. The consequences of unequal treatment go beyond right and wrong. As well as blighting the lives of individuals, inequality strains the social and political fabric and imposes a heavy economic cost. Fortunately, as this newsletter shows, fair-minded policymakers are pushing back.

Take financial services. Putting customers first is the goal of rules coming into force soon that require some 60,000 financial services firms to deliver good outcomes for their clients by acting in good faith and avoiding foreseeable harms. We explain how other sectors could learn from the new regulations.

Fairness is an explicit consideration for Europe’s telecommunications regulators. 

The recent Digital Markets Act obliges so-called designated gatekeepers, including Google and Apple, to supply services to other digital firms on ‘fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory’ terms –  or FRAND in the Brussels jargon.

Fairness was also part of the equation when German lawmakers debated how high a tax to levy on the windfall energy profits made after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine without scrambling the energy market’s well-functioning supply and demand signals.

Inequality takes many forms and has many causes. We look at how these various causes interact with each other, compounding the problem. One group constantly battling for fairer outcomes is women. We explore how women are underrepresented across Europe in science, technology, engineering and maths jobs, resulting in lost output, lower productivity and reduced innovation. We reckon the key to redressing this growth-sapping imbalance is more generous parental leave for fathers.


Team thoughts

The DMA leaves open a lot of tough questions about how FRAND should be applied to digital platforms, which puts the onus on the gatekeepers to justify their terms.
Peter Davies
Scott Burrell_02W.jpg
An expanded STEM workforce would boost the pool of skilled female workers, which would also drive improvements in productivity and output – to the further benefit of growth and female economic empowerment.
Scott Burrell

In numbers


FS companies must comply with Consumer Duty


of scientists and engineers are female (UK & EEA 2021)

Team Thoughts

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