Michael Wickens's picture
Affiliation: 
Cardiff Business School & University of York
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

2014 Autumn Statement

Question 1: Do you agree that the scale of this planned reduction in total managed expenditure is credible?

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The Chancellor aims to achieve the further reduction is mainly through more cuts to welfare benefits. There is no economic reason why it can't be achieved but the politics of doing so strongly reduce its likelihood.

Devolving Income Tax Powers within the UK

Question 2: Do you agree that that there is a clear economic case for establishing "English votes for English laws" with the same tax and spending powers as the Scottish Parliament?

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Whatever the economic case this would be unworkable politically. Neither devolution to Scotland and Wales nor to English regions makes practical sense.

Question 1: Do you agree that the economic benefits of devolving full income tax powers to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly outweigh the possible costs?

Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
Income tax in the UK pays for more than just the expenditures on the items under consideration such as welfare, health and education. There are also pure public goods to fund for the whole UK. As noted in the brief, in any devolution there is a real danger of expenditures exceeding revenues and hence a build up of debt in Scotland and Wales that they might well be forced either to default on seek bailout from the rest of the UK. This danger is real because it seems that the main reason why Scotland wants such devolution is in order to spend much more than at present.

Secular Stagnation

Question 2: Do you think that current structural and fiscal policies should place a considerably greater emphasis on pushing the natural rate into positive territory?

Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The natural rate is positive irrespective of policy. The question should be about the real interest rate. In the US and UK there is no need for a policy stimulus. The main problem area is the eurozone. Many of these countries need a money financed fiscal stimulus but this is not possible given the constraints on the ECB.

Question 1: Do you agree- making your own definition of secular stagnation clear if you disagree with that offered here- that it is more likely than not that the advanced Western economies have entered into a period of secular stagnation?

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The US and the UK are growing again and so aren't stagnating. Eurozone countries are stagnating due to the constraints imposed by being in a currency union.

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