Richard Portes's picture
Affiliation: 
London Business School and CEPR

Voting history

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:
Strongly Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Although there is no evidence of a 'long run decline in real rates' (see answer to Q1), even the US and UK would benefit from policies that would raise the natural rate, a fortiori the euro area and Japan. But they would also benefit from a move to higher inflation targets, which could bring down real market rates and give some room for monetary policy. Alas, this will not happen.

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:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
What is the evidence? Real policy (short-term) interest rates are negative in all major advanced economies - all nominal at (or even below) ZLB. Even real 10-year rates are around zero or below, deflating by expected inflation rates. And yet all of these economies are below full employment, showing substantial output gaps. This is pretty strong evidence that the Wicksellian natural rate is currently well below zero. But is this a long-term phenomenon ('secular')? Not obvious. The claim that real rates have been 'historically low' from the beginning of the 2000s is false - there were significant periods of negative real rates in the 1960s and 1970s in the US and UK. But there are some arguments underlying secular stagnation mentioned in question 2 that I find fairly strong.

Migration and the UK economy August 2014

Question 2: Do you agree that current government policies with respect to non-EU migration (including policies on students, skilled workers, and family migration) are effective in maximizing the gains to the economy from migration while minimizing any possible negative impact to specific groups?

Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Policies are deterring and restricting non-EU students and high-skill potential immigrants, also making it more difficult for students to work in the UK after taking their degrees.

Question 1: Do you agree that migration to the UK can be expected to be beneficial for the average income of current UK inhabitants in the upcoming decade?

Answer:
Strongly Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Properly regulated immigration increases flexibility of UK labour market. Specific labour shortages are alleviated, and it is possible to run the economy at a higher level of demand without wage inflation. That was a key to UK growth in the decade leading up to the crisis.

Economic Consequences of an Independent Scotland June 2014

Question 2

Assuming that Scotland becomes an independent country, do you agree that the UK government's position of ruling out a monetary union is in the economic interests of the continuing UK? 

Answer:
Strongly Agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
We have enough problems with our 'one-size-fits-all' monetary policy. Scotland currently contributes to the regional heterogeneity with which the MPC and FPC struggle. From this narrow viewpoint, the rest of the UK would find it easier to set monetary and financial policy without Scotland.

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