Nicholas Oulton's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
Credentials: 
Senior Visiting Research Fellow

Voting history

ECB's quantitative easing

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Question 2:

Do you agree that the structure of the ECB's QE programme makes the Eurozone more fragile and increases the risk of one country leaving the euro?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The failure once again of Eurozone countries to agree that "we are all in this together" surely makes the eventual exit of one or more countries more likely.

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Question 1:

Do you agree that the design of the ECB's QE programme reduces its effectiveness? 

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Would a Greek business be more likely to invest if in effect all Eurozone central banks were buying Greek government debt or if it is only the Greek central bank doing so? The answer to my question must be yes.

The Importance of Elections for UK Economic Activity

Question 2: Do you agree that the outcome of the general election will have non-trivial consequences for aggregate economic activity (employment and GDP)?

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The difference between what Labour and the Conservatives say that they will do about spending and deficits is now quite small. So if these plans are taken literally, it should not matter much which of the two major parties leads the next government. But this happy outcome could be put at risk if it is Labour in the lead since they will most likely need an accomodation with the SNP who are committed to big spending (at least in Scotland). Labour might also be tempted to follow the Gordon Brown strategy: fiscal restraint initially, then a surge in the size of the state after the 2020 election.

Question 1: Do you agree that the austerity policies of the coalition government have had a positive effect on aggregate economic activity (employment and GDP) in the UK?

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The fact of the matter is that "austerity" has been greatly exaggerated. In every year from 2010 to 2013 real current expenditure on goods and services by general (local plus central) government has been higher than in any previous year. In 2013 it was 5% higher than in the last year of the boom, 2007. The much smaller total of investment by general government was cut a bit after the coalition came to power but is now much higher than it was during most of the Labour years. The budget deficit is a good deal higher than in anti-austerity France. Of course one can always argue that the government should have followed a still more expansionary fiscal policy (its monetary and exchange rate policies were also expansionary). But at some point any government would have had to get a grip on the deficit and the rising debt-GDP ratio, unless one believes that debts don't matter since they can always be inflated away. The financial crisis dealt a huge blow to the UK economy. But unemployment is now pretty low and still falling while employment is up.Productivity, for reasons not yet understood, has not recovered. But it is not clear how this would have been improved by additional government spending.

Transparency and the Effectiveness of Monetary Policy following the Warsh Review at the Bank of England

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Question 2: Do you agree that the Bank's proposal to release the policy decision, MPC minutes and (once a quarter) the Inflation Report all at the same time justifies a change in the structure of MPC meetings from two consecutive days to a process in which in the MPC meetings are spread out over seven days?
 
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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
In agreeing with the question I am assuming that the frequency of meetings will be reduced from 12 to 8 per year (except in emergencies). A reduction in frequency is a good idea in itself as monthly meetings encourage over-interpretation of news. They are also a treadmill for the staff.

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