Nobel Perspectives: U, V or W economic recovery from COVID-19 crisis?

Conversation with Noble Laureate Sir Christopher Pissarides

18 May 2020

Nobel Laureate Sir Christopher Pissarides speaks with Evan Brown, Head of Multi Asset Strategy about increasing debt-to-GDP, restoring unemployment and the next normal in the post COVID-19 world.

As long as interest rates remain low, I am not overly concerned about high debt-to-GDP levels. I believe the best response is through expansionary monetary policy and not through restrictive fiscal policy and raising taxes

Sir Christopher Pissarides

Key highlights

U, V or W economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis?

  • Given the nature of this recession, a V- or W- shaped recovery is more likely than a U-shaped one
  • Government subsidy programmes would support the economy by retraining workers displaced by technology or low growth industries
  • Further fiscal stimulus is required by governments to minimize job losses and support economies
  • Some industries will take longer than others to recover post COVID-19 such as personal services, the hospitality sector and the broader services sector
  • COVID-19 has accelearated the deglobalization trend as supply chains are brought back to domestic markets
  • Opportunities still exist in the medical sector, land ownership and online education sectors

Evan Brown, Head of Multi-Asset Strategy, UBS Asset Management

With much of Pissarides' research focusing on the dynamics of unemployment amid changes in the economic environment, this webinar was a prime opportunity to tap into the mind of one of the world’s greatest thinkers amid such uncertain times.

Sir Christopher Pissarides transformed how the field of economics looks at unemployment, bringing it beyond pure supply and demand to incorporate how employers and employees search for, and find each other. We are now sadly living in a world of historically high unemployment due to COVID-19 and related lockdowns. Millions across the globe have lost their jobs and unemployment rates in some countries are at the highest since the Great Depression.

This time around we are seeing the typically less cyclical, service sectors leading the downturn.

Evan Brown


The world in the grasp of COVID-19

Response from policymakers

The unveiling of the next normal

The path of long term trends

Audience Q&A

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Sir Christopher Pissarides

Nobel Laureate

Labor market economist was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 2010 for his work on the economics of unemployment, including job flows and the effects of being out of work.

Prior to that, in 2005, he became the first European economist to win the IZA Prize in Labor Economics. 

“When I realized there were people who wanted jobs but couldn’t get them even though companies were hiring, it became obvious there was a great lack of understanding of the problem and what could be done about it.”

Evan Brown,

Head of Multi Asset Strategy

In his role as Head of Multi-Asset Strategy in the Investment Solutions team, Evan drives macro research and tactical asset allocation investment process for over $100 billion in client

Additionally, he is responsible for advising UBS Asset Management’s global institutional and private wealth client base on the macroeconomic outlook and asset allocation.

Evan runs Asset Management's Quarterly Investment Forums and monthly Investment Committee meetings, bringing together the views of the firm's senior investors. He represents Asset Management in the UBS CIO Global Investment Committee and in the UBS Chairman's monthly discussion on markets and the economy.

Evan holds and M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in economics from Brown University.

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