The latest thinking of European macroeconomists

German current account surpluses

Summary

The October 2016 expert survey of the Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM) and the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) invited views on Germany’s trade surplus, its impact on the Eurozone economy and the appropriate response of German fiscal policy. More than two-thirds of the 67 respondents agree with the proposition that German current account surpluses are a threat to the Eurozone economy. A slightly smaller majority believe that the German government ought to increase public investment in response to the surpluses.

Are academic economists ‘in touch’ with voters and politicians?

Summary

The outcome of the UK’s referendum on EU membership has prompted much soul-searching in the economics profession, which was nearly unanimous in anticipating negative economic consequences from a vote for Brexit. The July 2016 Centre for Macroeconomics survey of experts asked for views on the role played by economic arguments in the referendum outcome, and whether institutional change is needed in the way that the findings of academic economic research – and the views of the profession as a whole – are communicated.

Brexit: the potential of a financial catastrophe and long-term consequences for the UK financial sector

Summary

The June 2016 Centre for Macroeconomics survey of experts asked for views on the impact of the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union for the country’s financial sector. Almost all panel members thought that a vote for Brexit would lead to a significant disruption to financial markets and asset prices for several months, which would put the Bank of England on high alert.

The future role of (un)conventional unconventional monetary policy

Summary

The April 2016 Centre for Macroeconomics survey of experts asked for the panel’s views on the future role of unconventional monetary policy. Opinions were divided, with healthy doses of scepticism on the effectiveness of current and future policies, but also many respondents expressing urgency that central banks should have more policy tools to affect inflation and real activity when the need arises. Ultimately, the experts’ hesitations match those of central banks.

Background