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

Voting history

Deal or no deal: The Greece standoff

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Question 2: Do you agree that Greece would be better off defaulting right now rather than signing to the agreement under consideration?

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Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident

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Question 1:  

Do you agree that, on balance, the implementation of the agreement as outlined in media reports will have a non-trivial negative effect on Greek GDP?

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Answer:
Strongly Agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident

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:
Very confident
Comment:
Additional austerity will have some negative impact on GDP, as recent analysis in the National Institute Economic Review suggests, unless monetary policy is very active. The real danger is if some significant negative shock hits the UK. In that case interest rates will be forced to their (new) lower bound, and the negative impact of additional austerity could be much greater, as was the case in 2010-2011. The election could also have a significant impact on activity because of the proposed EU referendum. We have little idea on how much investment might be postponed because of this, but it could be significant in macro terms.

Question 1: Do you agree that the austerity policies of the coalition government have had a positive effect on aggregate economic activity (employment and GDP) in the UK?

Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
This is a joke, right? The only interesting question is how much GDP has been lost as a result of austerity. Based on OBR numbers, you can derive a 'lowest estimate' cumulative GDP loss of 5% of GDP (that is about £1,500 for each adult and child). A best guess could be nearer 10% of GDP, although a lot depends on how monetary policy would have reacted. That loss has, somewhat unusually, been more evenly spread as a result of a substantial decline in real wages.

Transparency and the Effectiveness of Monetary Policy following the Warsh Review at the Bank of England

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Question 1: Do you agree that the simultaneous release of the policy decision, the enhanced minutes (including the voting record) of the MPC meeting and (in the relevant months) the release of the Inflation Report will facilitate inference on the likely stance of monetary policy?
 
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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The Warsh Review recommendations made sense. The Bank's response does not, for reasons set out quite clearly in the piece by Eichengreen and Geraats. If the Bank seriously wants to improve its transparency, it should make and publish forecasts of what interest rates will be, as the Fed now does.

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