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

Voting history

Autumn Statement & Charter for Budgetary Responsibility

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Question 1: The Chancellor forecasts a cyclically adjusted fiscal surplus by 2017-18 and in cash terms by 2019-20. Do you agree that this planned path of fiscal consolidation is appropriate?

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Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
A period of low interest rates and low real wages are a time to substantially increase public investment, yet this is precluded by the aim to achieve surplus by 2019. Such a sharp fiscal consolidation while interest rates remain so low is also risky: if the UK is hit by an unexpected negative shock, monetary policy has little scope to counteract the shock. While a policy to reduce the debt to GDP ratio over the long term is sensible, any deficit under 3% will do this. Continued surpluses will put all the burden of adjustment on the current generation.

Deal or no deal: The Greece standoff

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Question 3: Do you agree that implementation of the agreement will lead to an expected decrease in Greek debt repayments?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Not confident

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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.

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