Andrew Mountford's picture
Affiliation: 
Royal Holloway
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

Wages and economic recoveries

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Question 2: Do you agree that the different behaviour of UK real wages relative to Eurozone wages during the Great Recession is in large part due to the UK having different labour market policies?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
This is simply the wrong question to ask about the labor market. Of course if you make welfare payments low enough and employment obligations small enough then in equilibrium you will have lower unemployment and more people having to put up with low pay and poor working conditions, see e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37334936 But if this is the reason for low unemployment and high participation rates then it is not the sign of a well functioning labor market. Furthermore, such work often leaves workers below the bread line and so is effectively subsisized by the welfare system thus implying taxation and so inefficiency elsewhere in the economy. Investing in training and workers invariably implies commitment and so a degree of infelixibility. A flexible response to business cycle variability is a clearly a good thing in itself but not if it is at the expense of training and long term accumulation of skills, experience and organizational capital.

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Question 1: Do you agree that lower real wage growth was beneficial for employment levels during the Great Recession?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
This is simply the wrong question to ask about the labor market. Of course if you make welfare payments low enough and employment obligations small enough then in equilibrium you will have lower unemployment and more people having to put up with low pay and poor working conditions, see e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37334936 But if this is the reason for low unemployment and high participation rates then it is not the sign of a well functioning labor market. Furthermore, such work often leaves workers below the bread line and so is effectively subsisized by the welfare system thus implying taxation and so inefficiency elsewhere in the economy. Investing in training and workers invariably implies commitment and so a degree of infleixibility. A flexible response to business cycle variability is a clearly a good thing in itself but not if it is at the expense of training and long term accumulation of skills, experience and organizational capital.

Happiness and well-being as objectives of macro policy

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Question 2: Do you agree that quantitative well-being analysis should play an important role in guiding policy makers in determining macroeconomic policies?

 
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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident

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Question 1: Do you agree that subjective well-being measures, or at least some of the subindices from the typical survey measures, are now reliable enough to give useful insights when used in macroeconomic empirical analysis?

 
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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident

A “new” UK industrial strategy ?

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Question 1: Do you agree that the UK needs a new industrial policy?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
Industrial policy is a term that means different things to different people. To some it is about giving tax breaks in a race to the bottom game of international "beggar-thy-neighbor" tax competition, while to others it is about investing in the development of skills and infrastructure to complement/partner private sector investment. I am not in favor of the first interpretation as it is irresponsible at a global level and will ultimately be self defeating. Support for subsidizing training and providing public investment depends on whether you think there are externalities associated with skill accumulation and public infrastructure. I believe that there are very strong externalities associated with these investments and so support such an industrial strategy.

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