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

Voting history

The future role of (un)conventional unconventional monetary policy

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Question 1: Do you agree that central banks should continue to use the unconventional tools of monetary policy deployed in response to the global financial crisis as part of monetary policy under normal economic conditions?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Yes, QE could be useful and could be held in reserve for the future. But it is only really necessary, at least in most situations, if and when the use of fiscal policy has been ruled out - for example, by the disfunctionality of the political system as in the US, or by political ideology as in the UK and the Eurozone.

National Living Wage and the UK economy

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Question 2: Do you agree that the new NLW will have a muted effect on wages and prices?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
For reasons outlined in answer to previous question, the rise is unlikely to have a large effect, but insofar as it does this is a good thing - reversing a trend towards inequality which has prevailed over several decades - rather than a bad thing, and economists should say that in public.

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Question 1: Do you agree that the new National Living Wage is likely to lead to significantly lower employment?

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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The rate of increase is really not that high; there are monopsony-type reasons for thinking that employment will not fall; it concerns only a small proportion of most firms' labour-forces; and because most workers likely to receive the increase are in the non-traded goods and services sector we should expect a change in relative prices (think of it as a kind of Balassa-Samuelson effect) rather than a large change in employment (we all get to pay more for our lattes, and this is a small price for living in a decent less unequal society).

Brexit and financial market volatility

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Question 2: Do you agree that the possibility of Brexit significantly increases uncertainty and volatility in financial markets and the economy in general?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident

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Question 1: The value of the pound fell sharply this week. Do you agree that the public debate on Brexit can be expected to (continue to) lead to a substantially higher level of exchange rate volatility in the upcoming months?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident

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