David Smith's picture
Affiliation: 
Sunday Times
Credentials: 
Economics editor

Voting history

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

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Question 1: Do you agree that the economics profession needs an institutional change that promotes the ability to communicate more effectively with policy-makers and the public at large and to make clear when economists have a united view; and do you agree that we need to introduce leadership to help achieve this improvement through coordinated efforts?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
There was nothing wrong with the arguments put forward by academic economists. There was a lot wrong, however, with the way they were presented. Academic economists did not see the pitfalls of round-robin letters (remember the 364?), or the need to present those arguments in a way that influenced, not just the readers of the broadsheets, but also of the tabloids. The LSE did excellent work, as did the IFS and NIESR, but I suspect the influence on the debate was minimal. Too often it was too easy for the Leave camp to say that the work of academic economists was tarnished because it was EU-funded, even where that was demonstrably not the case. The heavily outnumbered Economists for Brexit group lost the economic argument but nevertheless achieved disproportionate coverage, particularly on the BBC, not least because it invested in PR.

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

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Question 2: What is the probability that the UK experiences such a significant disruption to financial markets and asset prices following a vote for Brexit on 23 June?

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Answer:
> 70%
Confidence level:
Confident

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Question 1: Do you agree that there would be substantial negative long-term consequences for the UK financial sector if the UK were to leave the EU?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Very confident

The future role of (un)conventional unconventional monetary policy

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Question 2:  Do you agree that central banks should operationalise the use of these alternative tools of unconventional monetary policy for use either in the near term, or in the future, as economic conditions warrant?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Operationalising additional tools would create an expectation of their early use, which may not be the signal that the Bank of England would want to send out. Better just to pledge to use all available tools as and when necessary.

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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:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Unconventional monetary policy is an appropriate response to a shock, as in 2009, but much less appropriate in normal economic conditions. Disappointing growth, which prompted the UK's second round of quantitative easing, was not in my view a strong enough reason. Though the evidence is mixed, I also suspect that QE was subject to diminishing returns.

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