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

Voting history

Are academic economists ‘in touch’ with voters and politicians?

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Question 1: Do you agree that the economics profession needs an institutional change that promotes the ability to communicate more effectively with policy-makers and the public at large and to make clear when economists have a united view; and do you agree that we need to introduce leadership to help achieve this improvement through coordinated efforts?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
The media typically fail to inform readers or viewers when an economic view represents a broad consensus or a small minority. I frequently heard media discussion of Brexit economics which failed in this way. At the very least we need two things. First, an ability through regular surveys of ALL academic economists (not just it's 'stars') to find out economists views are on key issues. It should be fairly easy for a body like the RES to organise these. Second, we need representatives to speak to these views, rather than their own. That will be more difficult, but should not be impossible.

Brexit: the potential of a financial catastrophe and long-term consequences for the UK financial sector

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Question 2: What is the probability that the UK experiences such a significant disruption to financial markets and asset prices following a vote for Brexit on 23 June?

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Answer:
nontrivial but ≤ 10%
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
I think, as far as the short term is concerned, the emphasis on "financial disruption" is misplaced, and perhaps even a deliberate scare tactic. The exchange rate will fall on Brexit, but for good economic reasons. The economy may enter recession, but again for reasons unrelated to "financial disruption". As a result I doubt if interest rates will rise.

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Question 1: Do you agree that there would be substantial negative long-term consequences for the UK financial sector if the UK were to leave the EU?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Very confident

The future role of (un)conventional unconventional monetary policy

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Question 2:  Do you agree that central banks should operationalise the use of these alternative tools of unconventional monetary policy for use either in the near term, or in the future, as economic conditions warrant?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
There are various alternatives to QE to use at the ZLB that are likely to be more effective than QE. In particular central banks should actively explore, in cooperation with governments, setting up the ability to undertake helicopter money. One of the undesirable side effects of central bank independence is that governments are no longer able to undertake a money financed fiscal stimulus in a deep recession. Governments and central banks need to put that right by one means or another.

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Question 1: Do you agree that central banks should continue to use the unconventional tools of monetary policy deployed in response to the global financial crisis as part of monetary policy under normal economic conditions?

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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
I assume by 'normal times' you mean that short rates are not at or near their lower bound. In which case you have one instrument, nominal short rates, which dominate the other (QE) in terms of predictability and effectiveness. There is therefore no reason to use the inferior instrument.

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