Morten Ravn's picture
Affiliation: 
University College London
Credentials: 
Professor of economics
Head of Department

Voting history

German current account surpluses

====================================================================

Question 1: Do you agree that German current account surpluses are a threat to the Eurozone economy?

====================================================================

Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
I think the right questions surround how most effectively to address the poor state of many southern European economies. It is far from clear that a German stimulus is the most appropriate instrument in this dimension given that only a share of higher German demand would directly impact on southern Europe. The most fundamental issues to be addressed concern the high incidence of unemployment in southern europe and the state of the financial sector. Current policies are sacrificing younger generations' life opportunities and this has to be addressed with some urgency. It is not clear to me that a German stimulus is the solution to this.

Are academic economists ‘in touch’ with voters and politicians?

====================================================================

Question 2: What do you think is the most likely reason that a majority of UK voters went against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

====================================================================

 

 

 

Answer:
E. Near unanimity not known
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The Press distorted the debate. BBC, for example, gave as much air time to the 1% minority of economists that supported Brexit as it did to the other 99 %. Other parts of the Press refused to print letters etc that argued that the EU brings value and that Brexit would be costly because, it was argued, it had "no news value." For that reason, Brexit support received a disproportional amount of coverage in the press. On top of this, many voters support Brexit for non-economic reasons such as anti-immigrant feelings and as a protest view. Voters did not really have an in-depth knowledge of what the EU actually is because of the lack of sound debate and information.

====================================================================

Question 1: Do you agree that the economics profession needs an institutional change that promotes the ability to communicate more effectively with policy-makers and the public at large and to make clear when economists have a united view; and do you agree that we need to introduce leadership to help achieve this improvement through coordinated efforts?

====================================================================

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
RES can certainly help economists communicate more effectively and it already does so. IT also supports a wide range of engagement activities. Perhaps it could go further forexample hosting a blog or a Vox style website that encourages communication and debate. But RES cannot really participate in the debate in its own right given its remit. In fact, I find it hard to think that a single institution could represent "economists" given the wide set of beliefs and opinions amongst us.

Brexit: the potential of a financial catastrophe and long-term consequences for the UK financial sector

====================================================================

Question 2: What is the probability that the UK experiences such a significant disruption to financial markets and asset prices following a vote for Brexit on 23 June?

====================================================================

Answer:
11-30%
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Financial markets will anticipate the outcome of any negotiations between the EU and the UK should Brexit be the outcome in the referendum. In the short run, the sterling will most likely lose some value. In the median term, inflows of foreign capital will probably diminish and house prices - especially in London - could suffer. But thereafter a lot will depend on the outcome of the UK-EU negotiations and on UK policies. Both of these are to a large extent unknown so it is hard to make guesses apart from the fact that the uncertainty that will follow will be harmful.

====================================================================

Question 1: Do you agree that there would be substantial negative long-term consequences for the UK financial sector if the UK were to leave the EU?

====================================================================

Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The UK financial sector currently thrives due to agglomeration effects, vast supply of human capital, easy access to the European market, and an attractive regulatory framework. But as such, Frankfurt probably seems a more natural financial centre given the location of the ECB. Should the UK choose to leave the EU I think there is little doubt that passporting rights will worsen which will most likely set in motion a process of relocation of many firms in the UK financial to Frankfurt. This might happen slowly if passporting rights remain almost untouched but could also happen quickly.

Pages