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

Voting history

Transparency and the Effectiveness of Monetary Policy following the Warsh Review at the Bank of England

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Question 1: Do you agree that the simultaneous release of the policy decision, the enhanced minutes (including the voting record) of the MPC meeting and (in the relevant months) the release of the Inflation Report will facilitate inference on the likely stance of monetary policy?
 
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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
There is a real danger of a deluge of information giving the appearance of transparency but in fact just drowning the observers. Warsh’s recommendation 1 offers a better compromise between the need for more effective communication of information and the need to maintain an effective decision-making process. It should be possible, with the help of an improved secretariat, for the MPC to produce an agreed short rationale of its decisions, agreements and disagreements (maybe less than Warsh’s half a dozen paragraphs) within say one hour of the decision, and publish that together with details of the vote.

Greece’s elections and the future of the Eurozone

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Question 2: Do you agree that refusal of the core EU countries to a renegotiation of the Greek bailout agreements would carry serious risks for the economic well-being of the Eurozone?

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Answer:
Strongly Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Whatever the answer to the great puzzle, 'why is German macroeconomics so different from everyone else's?', EU leaders should understand that it is now time for compromises and actions that strengthen the political and economic prospects of the eurozone: renegotiation of debt which might otherwise be repudiated in its entirety, and infrastructure spending as a way to get round the excessive fiscal constraints they have imposed.

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Question 1: Do you agree that a Syriza victory on 25 January would lead to a significant or sustained escalation in spreads for other peripheral Eurozone countries?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
I think there has been a serious element of decoupling, which would protect other countries' spreads at least in the short term. In addition, the leaders of the EU would have an incentive to treat Greece in a way that validates that decoupling.

2014 Autumn Statement

 

Question 2: Do you agree that the underperformance of tax receipts in recent years, provides a strong case for higher taxes?

Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
No, it provides a strong case for a sea-change in fiscal and other policies which can bring about a genuine recovery with significant wage growth (and, even if it comes later, productivity growth).

Question 1: Do you agree that the scale of this planned reduction in total managed expenditure is credible?

Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Even if one thought a major reduction in the role of the state was desirable (I do not), such a reduction in the timeframe envisaged is not possible.

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