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Evidence and Analysis Series

Defra places research and analysis at the heart of policy-making.

Defra’s economists, statisticians and social and operational researchers work as an integral part of the policy process to answer some of the key questions facing our society: How should we prepare for climate change? How can we safeguard environmental resources for future generations whilst still meeting the needs of today? How can we adequately value the goods and services provided by the natural environment in decision making?

The Defra Evidence and Analysis Series, launched in 2010, brings the department’s research and evidence base to a wider audience, creating the basis for discussion with the academic, business and policy-making community.


Paper 1: Adapting to Climate Change: Analysing the Role of Government

This paper sets out how a number of barriers to adaptation (market failures, behavioural barriers, adaptive capacity, natural capacity) may affect adaptation decisions, and provides a framework for considering the Government’s role and identifies implications for policy design. It also identifies the priority areas for future research on the economics of adaptation.

Paper 2: Economic Growth and the Environment

This paper explores the complex relationship between the natural environment and economic growth, including the importance of the environment in supporting and enabling economic activity and the different drivers that affect environmental quality as the economy grows.  It makes the case for sustainable economic growth, managing the use and provision of natural assets in a way that ensures their availability for future generations.  Finally, it identifies the range of policy responses the government can use to enable this shift to a sustainable economy, and the potential opportunities and economic impacts in the near- and long-term.


As part of its work for the G20 on Green Growth, the OECD held a workshop to discuss its Green Growth Strategy in February 2011, involving all OECD member states and a number of NGOs. The Strategy seeks to provide tools for a shift towards a more sustainable development path, while identifying economic opportunities and benefits of going in that direction.  Defra’s Chief Economist, Richard Price, was invited to lead the workshop session on policy instruments for green growth. To set the context he made these introductory remarks on instrument selection.

Defra’s Chief Economist, Richard Price, explains in a speech at the Prime Minister’s conference how environmental assets underpin both economic growth and broader wellbeing. As policy and development decisions across government have an impact on the condition of complex environmental assets, all departments assess the environmental effects of their policy choices. Our approach to policy design reflects how people value the environment and the services it provides – including recreation, health, relaxation, biodiversity and innovation; as well as clean air and water, flood alleviation and climate regulation.  Each of these contributes to wellbeing.  The UK’s path-breaking National Ecosystems Assessment helps develop a more robust approach to understanding the condition and impacts of the UK’s environmental asset base, and its relationship with wellbeing.    

Evidence and Analysis Back Series

The Evidence and Analysis Back Series brings together some of the most important research and evidence from Defra social science that pre-dates the launch of the Evidence and Analysis Series.





Discussion Papers

Defra has a number of pieces of research under development and, on occasion, will place earlier drafts here as Discussion Papers.  This will allow fellow analysts and policymakers, as well as those in the academic and business communities, to provide views on emerging research.

Page last modified: 22 February 2011