John Driffill's picture
Affiliation: 
Birkbeck College, University of London
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

Happiness and well-being as objectives of macro policy

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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:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
It may be too strong to argue that they should play an "important" role. I would agree that they should play some role, but doubt that it should be an important one. For example, very strong evidence that some policy is causing or would cause a reduction of subjective well-being, using a variety of different measures, should be examined very carefully. Even if it caused a substantial increase in GDP, one might want not to implement it.

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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:
Confident
Comment:
They are reliable enough to give useful insights. You would not want to use them alone, or have them replace measures of GDP, but the use of several subjective measures, alongside GDP and other conventional measures, would be informative. They can be used to make comparisons over time. Dis-aggregated data would be particularly useful as different groups within society might be affected by macroeconomic developments in different ways.

The Future of Central Bank Independence

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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?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The argument will remain relevant, despite weak demand in the Euro zone and Japan. If populist governments in the US or UK get more control of monetary policy, there may be no danger of higher inflation in the short run, but it would bring risks of inflation further into the future.

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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.

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident

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

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Central bank independence has been --- is being -- challenged, as Central Banks have been drawn further into actions with clearer fiscal aspects, and further from a narrow technical role. But I expect them to defend their positions firmly. Trump may challenge the independence of the Fed in the coming months, but I expect the Fed to be able to reassert its independence as the inconsistencies in the Trump administration's policies and views become clearer.

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