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Tracking a generation: How can it contribute to policy making?


Birth cohort studies track a group of people born in a particular period for a considerable length of time. The findings from these studies help formulate thoughtful public policies that address the needs of society. Yet some challenges have to be tackled to achieve goals of the research.

Bittersweet truth about reformulating soft drinks


In the UK, soft drink producers have been reformulating their products to lower the sugar content against the backdrop of a levy on soft drinks with high sugar levels. Although a similar levy is not on the cards in Hong Kong, what can local drink producers learn from the UK’s experience if they wish to reformulate their beverages?       

Keeping tech companies in check is the new trend


In the past, only limited efforts had been made to regulate tech and internet companies or hold social media companies responsible for what their users said or shared. Yet currently, governments around the world are pushing out or pondering measures to hold such companies accountable for the content on online platforms. 

A Scottish experiment in minimum unit pricing


Recently, Scotland has become the first in the world to establish a minimum unit price of alcohol, meaning drinks with a large amount of alcohol could no longer be sold cheaply. What alcohol problem is Scotland trying to tackle via this innovative measure, and what are the possible effects?     

Is bold spending the new normal for the Government?


People who are busy filing their tax returns may be wondering how the current administration will use their taxes. The Government’s annual budget forecasts the government expenses for the next few years. In addition to this clue, studying the underlying demographic trends can also inform us the Government’s principles in managing the public purse.

Staying ahead of the game through online arbitration


Hong Kong is one of the leading centres of international arbitration, and its hearing facilities have been rated as one of the best in the world. However, facing the challenge of land scarcity, it is not easy for Hong Kong to further expand its hearing facilities which Singapore is currently doing. As such, can going virtual and offering online arbitration help the city keep its competitive edge over rivals?     

Principles of taxation in the digital age


Many consumers are accustomed to shopping via cross-border online platforms in the digital era. Since the multinational companies involved do not necessarily pay taxes to the local governments, the European Commission therefore called for corporate tax reform to close tax loopholes for these businesses. If the new principle is widely adopted, how would it affect Hong Kong?

Can sovereign cryptocurrency save the world from financial apocalypse?


Some regulators have raised concerns about the speculative investments in virtual currencies, triggering them to introduce different risk control measures. Several governments, however, take them as remedies for economic crises and decide to issue their own cryptocurrencies. The Swedish central bank even foresees the potential of sovereign cryptocurrency in helping the government diversify the risk of payment systems in a cash-free society.

How to enhance tobacco control without hiring more law enforcers?


It has been said manpower shortage at the Tobacco Control Office has hampered tobacco control efforts. Some suggest that managers of smoke-free premises should bear legal responsibilities for allowing unauthorised smoking in their venues, which in turn increases the number of law enforcers. However, those in the business are worried that they would be charged easily. Are there other ways to enhance tobacco control apart from hiring more law enforcers?

Can ‘one-in, multiple-out’ approach reduce compliance costs?


Even though regulation is necessary, they come at a cost. As time passes, some regulations may no longer be relevant and can be safely discarded or modified to reduce compliance costs. In some countries, governments are even removing or simplifying existing regulations before introducing new ones. How does this approach reshape regulation?