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

Voting history

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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Question 1: Do you agree it is time for more robust policy action to prevent a build-up of excessive housing-related risk?

 

 
Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
With essentially fixed supply, but an absence of sharp increases in rents, it may be possible to explain much of the recent increase in prices as a consequence of expectations that real interest rates will remain low for some time. However, there is also evidence that sustained increases in asset prices often have some 'froth on top', caused by unrealistic expectations. So on balance some restraint would be prudent. The argument that 'it is only London' seems weak. In the past, house price cycles have always started in London.

Economic Consequences of an Independent Scotland June 2014

Question 2

Assuming that Scotland becomes an independent country, do you agree that the UK government's position of ruling out a monetary union is in the economic interests of the continuing UK? 

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The UK government could set terms which would mean MU was of little risk to the continuing UK, although they might be a problem for Scotland.

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