The introduction of new or amended laws or policies can affect firms, consumers and the government. It’s the role of economists to understand and quantify the impact of these changes and their interaction with the wider economy.
Oxera's economists not only apply the latest thinking and analytical techniques to cases, but also use experience and sector knowledge to provide insight and make judgements. Our understanding of economic links and quantitative tools allows us to assess how regulatory interventions and competition effects might affect markets and consumer welfare.
‘‘Clients need us to assess the economic effects of a policy or legislative change.’’
In this Q&A, Oxera economic experts discuss the success stories and key issues our clients face in impact assessments
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The skills we apply to impact assessment

Oxera brings together robust and insightful analysis with experience and sector knowledge to assess different cases. We have an excellent track record, based on a clear framework and proven theory.

Our experts have a deep understanding of the behavioural aspects of both consumers and firms. They are able to convey the implications of changes in a clear and compelling way.

Oxera impact assessments green lines

Robust and insightful

Oxera employs qualitative and quantitative economic research tools to assess the impact of changes. Our economists specialise in advanced quantitative techniques, including econometrics and simulation modelling. We quantify the impact on both firms and consumers, or work with clients in an advisory role.

Clear and compelling

The output of our research can take several forms, including a formal report, a graphic or set of slides with relevant statistics, and findings in graph and bullet-point form. Whatever our findings, we communicate them in language our client understands.

Track record and sector knowledge

We’ve conducted impact assessments to establish economic benefits, contributions to the wider economy, and the incremental value of clients’ activities. Our clients include Google, AstraZeneca, the Airport Operators Association, Ordnance Survey, the Rail Delivery Group, and Gatwick Airport.

Oxera Impact Assessments

Google Geo services

Locating the facts and figures

Client: Google
Impact: Economic impact of Geo services
Result: Sector valued at up to $270 billion a year

Client: Google

Impact: Economic impact of Geo services

Result: Sector valued at up to $270 billion a year

Google asked us to estimate the economic impact of the global Geo services industry—an industry that brings together hardware and software to create better user experiences, but which had never been examined in that way before.

Every time you search online for a destination, open a map or use a GPS device, you are using a combination of location–based services that have been put together to improve the consumer’s experience. Our analysis estimated the revenue from global Geo services at between $150 billion and $270 billion a year. This suggests the industry is already larger than video-gaming and generates around one-third of the annual revenue created by the airline industry.

Nobody had ever tried to work out the size of the Geo services sector before. Nor had anyone attempted to identify and quantify the many positives users get from location-based services, like faster response times to emergencies and increased competition. We were able to provide Google with a thorough list of benefits to the world economy, businesses and consumers.

We used robust mechanisms in the report and provided a framework to quantify the impact of the services as the market develops further.

Gatwick Airport

Clear for take-off?

Client: Gatwick Airport
Impact: New runway assessment
Result: Second runway estimated to provide benefits of £40 billion over the next 60 years

Client: Gatwick Airport

Impact: New runway assessment

Result: Second runway estimated to provide benefits of £40 billion over the next 60 years

Gatwick Airport Ltd hired us to provide an independent assessment on the economic impact of building a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow. Our report was submitted to the Airports Commission, tasked by the UK government to assess whether a new airport runway should be built in South East England and, if so, provide recommendations on where it should be located.

This impact assessment considered how a new runway at Gatwick would affect passengers, airlines, the airport itself and the wider UK economy. It involved thinking through the application of a practical solution and innovative approach, while ensuring that our economic and conceptual framework could stand up to the anticipated intense scrutiny on one of the biggest transport policy issues in the UK at the time.

To this end, we built a number of models to estimate the impact of the new runway. Our approach went beyond the appraisal guidance used by the Department for Transport and the Airports Commission in several areas. We presented the results in a clear and rigorous report, with explanations of our processes and methodologies. The analysis has been used to help inform how the Commission thinks about the core questions in the debate, such as how airport and airline competition affects economic activity.

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