Industrial policy in times of pandemic - The risks and benefits of government intervention to #buildbackbetter

Event Type
Online Event

Online, 14.09.2020


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network (PEGNET); German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Industrial policy is back. The Covid-19 Pandemic and the global economic crisis it caused increase the pressure on policy makers to actively engage in industrial policy-making: Subsidising or even rescuing companies, buying shares, offering state guarantees, introducing national controls of production of, or trade with, critical health products, etc. Also, with regard to post-Covid recovery schemes, specific investments are advocated for, e.g. in green technologies and digital capabilities.This raises concerns among those who prefer as little policy interference as possible in the allocative efficiency of markets. Hence, the old core question of industrial policy about specific (“vertical”) vs. generic (“horizontal”) public support is coming back big. To what extent are specific investments needed to shape structural changes in desirable ways (#buildback-better)? Would those open a pandora’s box of lobbyism and favouritism?In this online event, we will start from the conceptual debate about „picking winners“ to then discuss appropriate industrial policies to #buildbackbetter.


To support policy makers in the best possible way, this online event aims at informing policymakers, including those in developing countries, as well as development organisations on good industrial policy-making in times of pandemic.

Key questions:

  1. Many support the idea of using Post-Covid economic stimuli to promote structural change (#buildbackbetter), investing e.g. in green technologies and digital capabilities. How technology-specific should such investment be and what does the industrial policy debate tell us in this regard?
  2. What are the best investments to #buildbackbetter? 



Setting the scene: How do Covid-19 and the aim to #buildbackbetterchange the need for vertical industrial policy?


Panel discussion among experts followed by moderated Q&A with the audience

  • Gabriel Felbermayr, President, Kiel Institute for the World Economy
  • Augustin K. Fosu, Professor, ISSER, University of Ghana
  • Arkebe Oqubay, Senior Minister and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia
  • John Page, The Brookings Institution and former director at the World Bank
  • Lindsay Whitfield, Professor, Roskilde University



Hinweis / Please note

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During our events photos and/or videos may be taken which may be published in various media for the purposes of documentation and PR activities. You have the right at any time to point out to the photographer or videographer that you do not want to be photographed or filmed.

Event information

Date / h
14.09.2020 / 14:00 - 15:30




If you are interested in attending please register beforehand to receive an invite here (event password: buildbackbetter).