Simon Wren-Lewis's picture
Affiliation: 
University of Oxford
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

The Future of Central Bank Independence

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Question 1: Do you agree that central bank independence in the Eurozone and the UK will decline over the next 48 months?

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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
In current circumstances criticism from Germany shows the ECB is doing its job. Given the centrality of CBI to the architecture of the Euro, the ECB is likely to remain the most independent central bank in the world. The criticism of the BoE has come from the same quarter as gave us Brexit, so their political influence will decline as the folly of Brexit becomes clearer.

German Council of Economic Experts' view of ECB policy

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Question 2: Do you agree that the ECB's monetary policy masks structural problems of member states?

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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
One of the most disastrous ideas coming from Germany is that you require deficient demand to encourage 'structural reform'. It helped delay OMT until 2012, and legitimizes the appalling treatment of Greece. The task of monetary policy should be to stabilize EZ demand and inflation, and not to encourage particular reforms in member states.

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Question 1: Do you agree that exceptionally loose monetary policy by the European Central Bank is no longer appropriate?

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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
The German policy consensus continues to show a degree of macroeconomic illiteracy which is astounding. The OECD suggests there is a sizable negative output gap in all the major EZ economies except Germany (where it is roughly zero). The EZ core inflation rate is still below 1%, and the core inflation rate in Germany is well below 2%. Even if ECB policy was made in the interests of Germany rather than the EZ as a whole, it is not at all clear that this report makes sense.

German current account surpluses

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Question 2: Do you agree that the German government should increase public spending given its persistently large current account surplus and given that it is part of the Eurozone?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident

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

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
It may be that some of the German current account surplus is structural. However believing that all or even most of the current surplus is structural is pure wishful thinking on the part of some. Instead the surplus represents an undervalued real exchange rate in Germany, which requires more inflation in Germany relative to the rest of the Eurozone. As long as Germany refuses to implement policies to bring this about, it is a threat to the Eurozone because it forces deflation elsewhere.

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