David Cobham's picture
Affiliation: 
Heriot Watt University
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

Labour Markets and Monetary Policy

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Question 2: Do you agree that, in a period of great uncertainty and after a prolonged period of weak real wage growth, monetary policy makers can afford to wait for greater certainty about real wage developments and building inflationary pressure before raising interest rates?

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Answer:
Strongly Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Yes, the MPC should wait: it is not yet clear that real wages are rising in any significant way, particularly if account is taken of the continuing high level of underemployment as highlight in the article by Davids Bell and Blanchflower in the latest National Institute Economic Review.

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Question 1: Do you agree that a strong labour market is a good indicator of building inflationary pressure?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
In principle, yes. But we need to revise our ideas of 'strong' so as to take account of the innovative devices used by employers (zero contract hours, tightened work discipline, that sort of thing) as well as the much greater pressure from job centres and the benefit system on the unemployed to take poor jobs: the older period search models which can be seen as lying behind the Jackman, Layard and Nickell conceptualisation of the Phillips relationship are no longer adequate (but need to be supplemented rather than thrown away). Such a reappraisal which focuses on long term changes in the balance of power in the labour market, as well as cyclical variations, would also illuminate current issues regarding inequality.

Bitcoin and the City

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Question 2: Do you agree that the regulatory oversight of cryptocurrencies needs to be increased?

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Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Confident

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Question 1: Do you agree that cryptocurrencies are currently a threat to the stability of the financial system, or can be expected to become a threat in the next couple of years?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Not a threat so far, or for a good while yet, though it is conceivable things could change.

House Prices and the UK economy

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Question 2: Do you agree that a more widespread weakening of the UK housing market will slow UK GDP growth significantly?

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Make sure to save each question separately

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
I agree with the statement for the short term. But if this weakening was part of a wider rebalancing of the UK economy (which I doubt will occur), then there could be some positive effects on growth in the longer term.

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