John Hassler's picture
Affiliation: 
Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES), Stockholm University
Credentials: 
Professor 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:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
The Union should be based on the princip that a package of compulsory rules for all members apply only to areas were this is clearly necessary. An example would be that voting power in EU institutions requires that democratic principles and freedom of the press is respected in each memberstate. However, this does not apply to the case of a singel currency. Forcing convergence in this way onto members that do not want it is going to make the union dangerously unstable.

Wages and economic recoveries

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Question 2: Do you agree that the different behaviour of UK real wages relative to Eurozone wages during the Great Recession is in large part due to the UK having different labour market policies?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Not confident

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Question 1: Do you agree that lower real wage growth was beneficial for employment levels during the Great Recession?

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Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The consequences of low real wage growth depends on the particular situation of the country. In some crisis countries within the eurozone, unit labor costs had become unsustainably high. A real devaluation had to be undertaken and in absence of the possibility to devalue the currency low wage growth is a painful necessity. In other countries, its more the wage profile that has been the problem. Low wage growth for categories of workers who have difficulty finding jobs has been good, for example in Germany. However, higher aggregate wage growth would possibly have been good for Germany and certainly good for weaker countries in the union. Currently, in Sweden, low negotiated wage increases make it difficult for the central bank to receive its inflation target.

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:
Agree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
I do think that measures of happiness derived from surveys contain useful information for researchers as well as policy makers. Therefore, they should be used in policy evaluation and other empirical analyses. Measures of happiness and well being are, however, likely to satisfy Goodhart's law, namely that if they become the target of policy they cease to be a good measure of welfare. This speaks in favor of using different measures of welfare, including also GDP and the distribution of income.

The Future of Central Bank Independence

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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:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
But it is necessary to more clearly specify the mandates of the central banks. It needs to be clarified that the broad measures with substantial fiscal components used during the great recession cannot permanently be in the hands of an independent central bank.

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