Defra places economic analysis and advice at the heart of policy-making with economists playing a key role in providing analysis, appraisal and evaluation for all aspects of Defra policy. Our aims are to ensure policy decisions are informed by high quality and robust evidence in order to meet Defra’s strategic objectives.

Policy areas

Economic analysis is used in Defra across a range of policies, such as:

Environment policy – aspects of environmental protection and sustainable development, from air and water quality, through climate change and flood management to waste and recycling. Work includes:

Food and farming

  • Animal welfare and disease control – economic analysis and advice on the development of appropriate incentives and policy intervention to improve overall levels of welfare.
  • A wide range of UK food chain issues beyond the farm-gate – economic analysis to support the Food Industry Sustainability strategy and on competitiveness issues.
  • Economic advice and assessment policy areas from sustainable agriculture and biodiversity and natural resources issues, to domestic and international agricultural policy. Particularly, Common Agricultural Policy reform and World Trade Organisation agendas. Work includes development of environmental valuation and economic instruments and the evaluation of the economic and social impacts of new and existing policies on farming.

Rural and countryside

Aiming to stimulate the development of competitive and sustainable economies in rural areas and tackle rural deprivation. Work aims to improve the rural research and evidence base and provide economic analysis and advice on rural issues, including promoting economic appraisal and evaluation of policy in rural areas.

Better regulation and policy-making

Better regulation and better policy-making is an important priority, both for the department and the government as a whole. Better regulation seeks to design and implement regulations so Defra’s policy objectives can be achieved at least cost to business and society.

Interdepartmental groups and other research

Defra’s economists are members of the GES.

Page last modified: 17 December 2010