- February 11, 2021
On February 11, 2021, Aspen Germany hosted the seventh event of its series “Virtual Road to the Laboratories of Democracy Initiative” to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and education. Building on the last meeting on January 15, participants dove deeper into these two subtopics under the umbrella of the economic impact of the pandemic, identifying common challenges and potential policy solutions on the sub-national level.
The first group addressed the economic impact of COVID-19 on businesses. The pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to certain industries and self-employed people. Many of them are suffering from uncertainty on a number of fronts and are struggling to survive. There may also be long-lasting changes in the work environment that companies have to adapt to. And the pandemic has exposed and magnified structural weaknesses in certain sectors, opening up the possibility of using the crisis as a catalyst for change. The state lawmakers identified the most urgent challenges facing businesses and how state lawmakers could get involved to provide economic support.
The second group focused on the longer-run economic costs of virus-induced disruptions in education and training. A central component of economic development is investment in human capital. Individuals with better education and more skills are more likely to have better labor market chances and income prospects. And national economies will profit from a more skilled labor force in terms of more economic growth and competitiveness. But the pandemic has created a huge disruption of education and training systems globally. State lawmakers identified the biggest virus-induced challenges in education that will likely lead to longer-run economic costs and brainstormed potential policy solutions.
This webinar series is part of the “Laboratories of Democracy Initiative” which brings together German and American state legislators to facilitate a values-based discussion and an exchange of ideas about how to tackle current international policy challenges on a subnational level. In 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, Aspen Germany holds a series of webinars as part of a “Virtual Road to the Laboratories of Democracy Initiative” providing a virtual platform for exchange for the 2020/21 cohort. The webinar series explores subnational governance in the United States and Germany amid COVID-19, leadership in times of crisis, the role of tech in the COVID-19 response, and prospects for German-American cooperation. The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany, funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).