Research project

G20 Insights

The G20 Insights Platform publishes policy briefs intended for G20 policymakers. During Germany’s G20 presidency in 2016/2017, policy recommendations were developed by members of Think20 (T20) Germany, a research and policy advice network for the G20, consisting of research institutes and think tanks from the G20 countries. Helmut K. Anheier and Mark Hallerberg co-chaired their respective T20 Task Forces, publishing policy briefs along with colleagues from other universities and think-tanks from different G20 countries. 

20 Solution Proposals for the G20

This report, by the co-chairs of the T20 process during Germany’s G20 Presidency, presents 20 key policy recommendations for G20 policymakers and stakeholders. Download here. 


Task forces

Recommendations are made by T20 Task Forces broken up into nine thematic categories: The 2030 Agenda, Climate Policy and Finance, Global Inequality and Social Cohesion, Forced Migration, Global Tax Cooperation, Toward Ending Hunger and Sustainable Agriculture, Trade and Investment, Financial Resilience, Digitalisation and Africa.

Helmut K. Anheier is the co-chair of the “Global Inequality and Social Cohesion” Task Force.

Mark Hallerberg is co-chair of the “Global Tax Cooperation” Task Force. 


Policy Brief 1: Global Inequality and Social Cohesion Task Force

"Civil Society Challenged: Towards an Enabling Policy Environment"

Authored by Helmut K. Anheier (Hertie School), Jack H. Knott (University of Southern California) and John Burns (The University of Hong Kong).

The authors propose to initiate a process for the establishment of an independent high-level commission of eminent persons (i) to examine the changing policy environment for civil society organizations in many countries, (ii) to review the reasons behind the shrinking space civil society encounters in some parts of the world and its steady development in others, and (iii) to make concrete proposals for how G20 countries and civil society can relate in productive ways in national and international contexts.


Policy Brief 2: Global Inequality and Social Cohesion Task Force

"The Impact of Foresight on Policymaking. Towards More Transparency and Participation"

Authored by Monika Sus (Hertie School) and Julia Himmrich (London School of Economics (LSE).

Scenario methodology is one of the most resourceful foresight approaches. It facilitates contrarian thinking and undermines the groupthink that often occurs during policymaking processes in homogeneous environments. Political elites have shown that they are not immune to the effects – at times, even fatal consequences – of such streamlining. Since scenario processes are inherently heterogeneous, they increase overall transparency and provide opportunities to include previously excluded social groups and perspectives in the decision-making process. In sum, foresight studies widen the perspective to cover a range of unexpected yet plausible outcomes and thus they represent a valuable tool for policymakers in view of the growing global uncertainties.


Policy Brief: Climate Policy and Finance Task Force

"The G20 Countries Should Lead the Way in Designing and Participating in a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Allowance Trading System that Will Provide Adequate Financing to Enable Low-Income Countries to Meet their COP21 Pledges"

Authored by Christian Flachsland (Hertie School), Adam Rose (University of Southern California), Dan Wei (University of Southern California), Noah Miller (University of Southern California). 

International policy coordination, such as a system of tradable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions allowances, can greatly lower the cost to all participants of slowing climate change. We consider strategic options on a path of international agreements that will help implement the COP 21 GHG reductions. An emissions trading system involving all G20 countries that made unconditional pledges could reduce total mitigation costs from an estimated $1.5 trillion to $0.24 trillion, a savings of 83%. Moreover, the ensuing allowance sales revenues would greatly enhance the capability of lower-income G20 countries to meet their pledges. We also examine analogous benefits of other configurations of participating countries and allowance trading designs, such as the transfer of auction revenues to low-income countries.


Policy Brief: Global Tax Cooperation Task Force

Tax Expenditures

Authored by Mark Hallerberg (Hertie School), Magali Brosio (CIPPEC), Paddy Carter (Overseas Development Institute (ODI)), Santiago Diaz de Sarralde (Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations (CIAT)), Song Hong (Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS)) and Martina Neuwirth (Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC)). 

We explain the issues that arise with tax expenditures and we consider how international cooperation can contribute. We present three concrete policy proposals. The first concerns the benefits from more technical cooperation on the estimation of the magnitude of tax expenditures, their economic effects, and on best practices. The second is that development aid should no longer be exempted from tax in recipient countries. By paying their taxes, donors would gain credibility as partners in efforts to rationalise tax systems and improve domestic resource mobilization. The move would also undoubtedly be warmly received by aid recipients. The third calls for reinforced efforts to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, including tax exemptions. Such a move not only provides incentives for shifting to a low-carbon economy. It could also provide financial leeway for climate adaptation and mitigation as well as protection measures to mitigate the social costs of adaption.


Policy Brief: Providing Global Public Goods

Providing global public goods: What role for the multilateral development banks? 

Authored by Inge Kaul, adjunct professor, Hertie School

There is a growing list of global challenges, from climate change and the spread of communicable diseases and antimicrobial resistance to excessive financial volatility, illicit trade, cyber-attacks, terrorism and forced migration. In some areas, the world is coming close to reaching thresholds of irreversibility, as with climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Resolving these global challenges requires effective international cooperation. But what exactly would it take to generate such cooperation? Are we pulling all the levers at our disposal? And if not, how should we do so? This short paper addresses these questions. It takes a close look at how the multilateral development banks (MDBs), as one part of the operational side of international cooperation, deal with global border-transcending challenges. 


Hertie School T20 Task Force Co-chairs

Hertie School T20 Task Force Contributors

  • Christian Flachsland, Assistant Professor of Climate and Energy Governance

  • Monika Sus, Dahrendorf Postdoctoral Fellow in European and Global Governance

  • Inge Kaul, Adjunct professor