Jürgen von Hagen's picture
Affiliation: 
Universität Bonn
Credentials: 
Professor of Economics

Voting history

Happiness and well-being as objectives of macro policy

====================================================================

Question 2: Do you agree that quantitative well-being analysis should play an important role in guiding policy makers in determining macroeconomic policies?

 
====================================================================
Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
I see at least two problems here. First, general, macroeconomic correlations between happiness and measures of economic performance tell us nothing about the impact of infrastructure projects in specific regions on happiness in that region, nor do they tell us much about the impact of unemployment on the group of unemployed people. To implement the recommendation behind this question one would have to have time series of regional happiness indeces and happiness indeces for individual groups of people in the labor market. Second, the nature of democracy is that the majority decides which policies are implemented and which are not. Taking democracy seriously, one would have to have happiness indeces representing the voters who elected the government currently in power. Using aggregate happiness indeces would undermine democracy. It is the task of the politicians to decide what increases the well being of their voters. They may use aggregate happiness indeces and macroeconomic analysis based on them to inform their choices, but we should not replace democracy by the use of quantitative indeces. After all, it is not implausible that policies making one group more happy make other groups less happy. The question then is how do we weigh one against the other. Democratic elections are the current, constitutional answer to this and economists should respect that answer.

====================================================================

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?

 
====================================================================
Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
They seem sufficiently reliable in the sense of producing consistent and robust correlations with macroeconomic variables that make intuitive sense. Whether they are reliable in the sense that these correlations are stable over time and do not change when subaggregates are considered remains to be seen.

The Future of Central Bank Independence

====================================================================

Question 3: More generally, do you agree that it is desirable to maintain central bank independence? Again focus on the near future, say next 48 months.

====================================================================

Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident

====================================================================

Question 2: Do you agree that the traditional argument that less central bank independence leads to higher inflation will (still) be relevant over the next 48 months in Western economies?

====================================================================

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident

====================================================================

Question 1: Do you agree that central bank independence in the Eurozone and the UK will decline over the next 48 months?

====================================================================

Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
Under President Draghi, the ECB's independence has proven to be very low already in past years. The ECB has consistently done what was politically convenient and, in doing so, broken European law. Its independence can hardly sink lower.

Pages