Sean Holly's picture
Affiliation: 
Cambridge University

Voting history

Monetary policy and the zero lower bound (ZLB)

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Question 1: Do you agree that it is feasible for the UK authorities to change the monetary system so that materially negative policy interest rates could be safely implemented? (In answering, you may wish to explain your reasons and define your view of 'material')

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Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The `UK authorities’ in this case is not the Bank of England but the executive in Parliament. The obstacles will be political and it is unlikely in the current climate that negative interest rates are necessary. Quite the opposite in fact. The Bank of England, of course, does not have the power to engineer the effective abolition of cash, any more than Congress would allow the Federal Reserve to mess with the currency. The ECB has no such powers under the Maastricht Treaty. A unilateral tax on holding UK currency would not work if we can hold dollars or Euros rather than sterling to finance transactions. The use of negative interest rates may be justified in some circumstances. We ought to think through the possible consequences of negative interest rates and then keep the policy locked away against a serious financial crisis that comes once in three generations. It is only in a very serious crisis that political will can allow such a major reform of the monetary system. The real problem we face now is that we have far too little fiscal or monetary room. We need to get back to an interest rate policy that is broadly neutral, initially in the range of 3 to 5 percent for short term interest rates. There are always far too many reasons for always postponing an increase in interest rates and an exit from QE. Financial Markets do not want higher interest rates and they never will.

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:
Strongly Agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident

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:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident

Greece’s elections and the future of the Eurozone

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Question 2: Do you agree that refusal of the core EU countries to a renegotiation of the Greek bailout agreements would carry serious risks for the economic well-being of the Eurozone?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident

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Question 1: Do you agree that a Syriza victory on 25 January would lead to a significant or sustained escalation in spreads for other peripheral Eurozone countries?

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Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident

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