Ethan Ilzetzki's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics

Voting history

Juncker's State of the Union Address

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Question 1; Do you agree that euro membership should be compulsory for all EU member states?

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Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident at all
Comment:
As I note below, the costs of the Euro have proved to outweigh its benefits. However, I can see the potential political need to require this as part of a closer union involving a banking and fiscal union.

Happiness and well-being as objectives of macro policy

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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:
Agree
Confidence level:
Not confident

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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:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
The wellbeing of society should be the ultimate objective of policy, including macroeconomic. I do not feel, however, that wellbeing analysis as currently conducted is the way forward. People differ in what makes them happy. Drivers are happier with better roads while others might be happier with better public transport. The role of democratic politics is to confront and hash out these convergent views and interests. Aggreagting very heterogeneous indicators over which interest differ into decreasingly transparent indexes (like GNH) isn't the way forward. I do believe that we have learned some policy relevant facts from the happiness literature, like the importance of unemployment and mental health and I would be happy to see these insights affect policy. But ultimately, we should be looking at a variety of indicators and will and should continue to disagree on what makes for a good society.

A “new” UK industrial strategy ?

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Question 2: Do you agree that the UK needs a new regional policy?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
I can see some rationale for regional policy, but again am not sure this is helpful in practice. If the UK government were truly serious about regional policy it would devolve more fiscal control and power to local authorities that are more likely to have a good sense of how to help local enterprise. The competition between local governments can also be beneficial in spuring local development. A central government favoring specific localities is more likely to do so at the expense of others.

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

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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
While there are conditions under which an industrial strategy is useful in theory, it is rare for industrial strategy to be useful in practice, particularly in high income economies. It is nearly impossible for the government to do this without picking winners and losers. In an advanced and dynamic economy like the UK, the government has no particular advantage in forecasting the industries of the future. This should be left to the free market and to private enterprise. The government should rather focus on providing the physical and regulartory infrastructure that entrepreneurs require.

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