Sir Charles Bean's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
Credentials: 
MA Cambridge
PhD MIT

Voting history

Wages and economic recoveries

====================================================================

Question 2: Do you agree that the different behaviour of UK real wages relative to Eurozone wages during the Great Recession is in large part due to the UK having different labour market policies?

====================================================================

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The difference in labour market performance between the UK and the euro zone is surely a reflection of the greater flexibility of the former. But the better employment outcomes in the UK also reflect differences in macroeconomic policies - in particular, a more timely and aggressive monetary policy response in the UK than in the euro zone.

====================================================================

Question 1: Do you agree that lower real wage growth was beneficial for employment levels during the Great Recession?

====================================================================

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
In my view, the wage moderation during 2009-10 was absolutely central to limiting the rise in unemployment during the period after the collapse Lehman Brothers. Continued wage moderation also helps to explain the subsequent strength of employment growth and the return of unemployment to historically low levels. That strong employment performance has, of course, contributed to the weakness of productivity growth since the crisis.

Happiness and well-being as objectives of macro policy

====================================================================

Question 2: Do you agree that quantitative well-being analysis should play an important role in guiding policy makers in determining macroeconomic policies?

 
====================================================================
Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Measures of happiness or well-being certainly may have value in considering the design of microeconomic policy interventions (and here I favour a 'scorecard' approach rather than combining several indicators into an arbitrary single aggregate). But I don't think they are likely to add much value in informing the design of monetary policy or the overall stance of fiscal policy.

====================================================================

Question 1: Do you agree that subjective well-being measures, or at least some of the subindices from the typical survey measures, are now reliable enough to give useful insights when used in macroeconomic empirical analysis?

 
====================================================================
Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
While GDP has considerable limitations - and is certainly not satisfactory as a measure of welfare - we are a long way off having a measure of happiness or well-being that is widely accepted and sufficiently reliable to base macroeconomic analysis around. Of course, that doesn't mean we shouldn't undertake further research in order to get a better understanding as what drives such measures.

German Council of Economic Experts' view of ECB policy

====================================================================

Question 2: Do you agree that the ECB's monetary policy masks structural problems of member states?

====================================================================

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
I don't believe that it "masks" the structural problems - they are still perfectly evident - though it certainly reduces the pressure on national governments to address them. However, the ECB would be straying beyond its legal mandate were it to deliberately underachieve on its inflation objective in order to place more pressure on member states to undertake the necessary reforms. Such behaviour by the ECB would lack democratic legitimacy.

Pages