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

Voting history

UK House Prices and Macro-Prudential Policy July 2014

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Question 1: Do you agree it is time for more robust policy action to prevent a build-up of excessive housing-related risk?

 

 
Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The tendency for property prices to rise and rise in the UK, and for housing to be expensive, is a bad thing. There seems to be disagreement about the causes, but the effects of planning laws preventing construction are very likely an important element. Taxation is another factor. It would be great if a way could be found to stimulate much more construction, especially in existing towns, and especially in the South East and around London where prices are highest. The market needs to be flooded with housing and the prices halved. Meanwhile, it is sensible for the Bank of England to take action to limit people from taking excessively high loans.

Economic Consequences of an Independent Scotland June 2014

Question 2

Assuming that Scotland becomes an independent country, do you agree that the UK government's position of ruling out a monetary union is in the economic interests of the continuing UK? 

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Threatening non-cooperation is simply an attempt by politicians to discourage the Scots from voting for independence. Presumably they believe that independence will be bad for the rest of the UK. It is not a credible threat. After independence it will make no sense to rule out a possibly beneficial solution from consideration. This threat to rule out future monetary union will have no effect on the outcome. It will not affect the vote on independence, in my view, and it will not affect what happens afterwards. It is worthless political posturing.

Question 1

Do you agree that that Scotland would better off in economic terms as an independent country?

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
There is a wide range of possible outcomes centred around a zero overall effect. Scotland will be able to set its taxes and public spending and arrange more of its laws to suit the preferences of the electorate in Scotland. Of course they may be able to do this in any case in the future with greater devolution. They may lose because some things that are better done jointly by Scotland and the rest of the UK will become more difficult to coordinate (defence, some aspects of transport, monetary arrangements, and so on). There will be short-term dislocation. So economically it could go either way. But does it matter? The Scots might want indpendence even if they have to pay for it in terms of future economic prosperity.

Prospects for Economic Growth in the UK April 2014

Question 2

Do you agree that, in the wake of the financial crisis, any downward adjustment to the expected average annual long-term growth rate of the UK economy is likely to be by less than 0.25 percentage points?

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
The pre crisis growth path may have been boosted by unsustinable growth resulting indirectly from asset price bubbles and measured output in financial services, all of which was ephemeral. long term potential growth may be more than 0.25% p.a. below the pre-crisis rate.

Question 1

The long period of slow or negative growth might imply that there is a substantial output gap in the UK economy.  Do you agree that there is currently a larger output gap than the OBR estimate to the extent that the shortfall in output relative to capacity is 3% or greater?  

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
there is, in my view, a lot of uncertainty surounding these estimates of the output gap. productivity may stay low, relative to earlier predictions, or it may bounce back. and how far will unemployment fall before bottlenecks begin to appear, and pressures for wage and price increases re-emerge. the pre crisis productivity figures may have been flattered by apparent productivity in financial services which was never really there.

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