Ethan Ilzetzki's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics

Voting history

German current account surpluses

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Question 2: Do you agree that the German government should increase public spending given its persistently large current account surplus and given that it is part of the Eurozone?

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Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
There is a domestic reason why Germany might want to increase public spending, growth is at merely 0.1%. Our knowledge of the spillover effects of fiscal policy are still limited enough that I would be wary of advocating a fiscal stimulus for this purpose alone. Public spending is indeed largely on non-tradables, so that spillovers are likely to come from indirect forces. The most likely channel is through an appreciation of the German real exchange rate. And if the objective is a German revaluation, other policies are available and more direct. This include wage policy and tax policy.

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Question 1: Do you agree that German current account surpluses are a threat to the Eurozone economy?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
It is hard to avoid the observation that the growing current account surplusses of Germany coincided with the advent of the Euro and the widening current account deficits in the European periphery. Given how matters have evolved in southern Europe, it's hard to think of this as a benign improvement in the allocation of capital within Europe. Now that that current account deficits in the European periphery have largely reversed, however, it is no longer clear to what extent this is an intra-European problem anymore. Having said this, if there were a global rebalancing that caused Germany to reverse its current account surplus by 8% of GDP, it is very hard to predict how things would unfold.

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

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Question 7: Voters did not know that there was near-unanimity among economists.

Do you agree that this was an important reason for a majority of UK voters going against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident

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Question 6: Economists did not explain the reasons for this consensus in sufficiently clear language.

Do you agree this was an important reason for a majority of UK voters going against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident

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Question 5: Voters think that the preferences of economists do not align with their own preferences. (This includes the possibility that they thought that the predicted negative economic consequences would not affect them personally).

Do you agree this was an important reason for a majority of UK voters going against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
This statement is far to general and sweeping. I would guess that the median voter doesn't feel that economist have different preferences from their own, but there certainly are some voters that feel this way and are therefore untouched by economic arguments. My guess is that this is a small minority.

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