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

Voting history

Secular Stagnation

Question 2: Do you think that current structural and fiscal policies should place a considerably greater emphasis on pushing the natural rate into positive territory?

Answer:
Strongly Agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
An unusual degree of fiscal contraction has caused a slow recovery in the US, a delayed recovery in the UK, and a second recession in the Eurozone. This is all unnecessary and damaging, and so should be reversed, whether we have secular stagnation or not.

Question 1: Do you agree- making your own definition of secular stagnation clear if you disagree with that offered here- that it is more likely than not that the advanced Western economies have entered into a period of secular stagnation?

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
The empirical evidence that there has been a fall in the 'natural' real interest rate since the 1980s is pretty clear. Whether it has fallen to some negative number is much less clear. Our current problems with nominal rates staying at the zero lower bound may reflect a small but positive natural real rate coupled with a degree of fiscal contraction that is quite unusual during the recovery stage of a recession. I've also found the theoretical explanations so far offered unconvincing.

Migration and the UK economy August 2014

Question 2: Do you agree that current government policies with respect to non-EU migration (including policies on students, skilled workers, and family migration) are effective in maximizing the gains to the economy from migration while minimizing any possible negative impact to specific groups?

Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Targets based on NET migration make no sense. Including students makes no sense, and harms the economy. The policy seems to be to make getting visas as difficult as possible, which in cases I know can cause a lot of individual distress, as well as forcing needless red tape on individuals and businesses.

Question 1: Do you agree that migration to the UK can be expected to be beneficial for the average income of current UK inhabitants in the upcoming decade?

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident

UK House Prices and Macro-Prudential Policy July 2014

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Question 2: When housing-related risk is deemed excessive from the viewpoint of financial stability, do you agree that the correct response is to deploy macro-prudential tools, leaving interest rates focused on the needs of inflation and aggregate real activity?

 
Answer:
Strongly Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Look at Sweden and Norway for examples of costly, and not obviously effective, attempts to use interest rates to restrain house prices. It seems crazy to use an instrument designed to manage the excess demand for goods to try and manage asset prices in one particular market. If macro-pru does not work, try targeted fiscal policy measures.

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