Martin Ellison's picture
Affiliation: 
University of Oxford
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

Wages and economic recoveries

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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:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident

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:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
I think that policymakers still unfortunately need to take a paternalistic approach at times. I find it difficult to believe that happiness has been as flat as the survey evidence suggests. How would things be if we did things in reverse and required people today to return to the standard of living if the 1970s? I cannot imagine that many people would happy driving an Austin Allegro again! Other sciences have less problems with the paternalistic approach, as seen for example in the anti-vaxxer debate. I am also concerned that a focus on happiness may stifle innovation in the economy. Some people feel uncomfortable with the way the world changes as they get older, which may lead them to report low levels of happiness in surveys. But it would be wrong to direct policy towards preserving the happiness of these older generations, who already have considerable weight and influence on policy.

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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:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
It depends on what is meant by macroeconomic empirical analysis. If I interpret this as studying the aggregate behaviour of the economy over time then I struggle with the reliability of well-being measures over time. But there can be insights behind the aggregate, for example in understanding how hard certain subsections of the population are hit by recessions. This could be regional or across employed/unemployed individuals.

A “new” UK industrial strategy ?

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Question 2: Do you agree that the UK needs a new regional policy?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The success of a regional policy should not necessarily be measured in terms of new jobs created. It is too harsh to demand that regional policy is a win-win for all regions, and thinking in these terms may well be counter-productive as it restricts the scope and magnitude of any policy. If the intention is to re-balance the economy then moving some jobs from successful to less successful regions should be seen as a positive outcome, even if no new jobs are created.

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Question 1: Do you agree that the UK needs a new industrial policy?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Not confident

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