Ricardo Reis's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics and Columbia 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:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The economic argument for forcing an agent to join a group or a set of contracts typically has to do with extreme adverse selection and ex ante gains from pooling to all. I do not see these here.

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:
Confident
Comment:
I don't think it is a coincidence that unemployment is so much lower (and fell faster) in the UK than in most of continental Europe, and at the same time real wage growth has been so moderate. Moreover, there are very clear differences between UK and Eurozone labor policies.

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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:
Not confident
Comment:
It is difficult to answer the counterfactual "what if real wage growth was higher, then what would have employment been" because both are jointly determined and depend on other driving forces. Moreover, wage growth is definitely not a policy variable.

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:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
This is a much higher bar than the previous question, since it suggest that quarter-to-quarter, or at least year-to-year, measures in happiness should guide the fine tuning of policies. (This is what I understood as macroeconomic policies, as opposed to long-run investments, which were covered in the previous question). For higher frequencies, I am not convinced that the signal-to-noise in the happiness measures is large enough to be a good indicator.

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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:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
There has been remarkable progress in this area in the past two decades. In the same way that measures of health (infant mortality), inequality (Gini coefficients), absolute poverty (poverty rates) and others affect policy, it seems that measures of happiness may also be considered. They should be in the list of a few dozen indicators that policymakers keep in mind. All of these are complements to GDP though, not substitutes.

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