Sweder van Wijnbergen's picture
Affiliation: 
Universiteit van Amsterdam
Credentials: 
Professor of Economics

Voting history

Global risks from rising debt and asset prices

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Question 2: Is the loose monetary policy of major central banks responsible for the recent increase in global leverage or asset values?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Low interest rates have encouraged banks to leverage up which in turn is leading to more demand by banks for risky assets, so yes QE is both encouraging banks to leverage up and is feeding a stockmarket rally.

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Question 1: Does the world economy face heightened risks arising from an excess of public and private debt and/or inflated asset prices?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
In particular German banks are loaded up with german debt to the extent of almost 3 times their capital value; these holdings will crash when interest rates rise. LT interest rates going back up to 4% would trigger a 30% price drop on German banks'average 7 year maturity debt holdings. This would wipe out all capital of the entire german banking system. Yes that is a systemic risk.

Happiness and well-being as objectives of macro policy

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

 
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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
We simply do not know enough about its determinants and its relation to policy instruments to guide policy makers

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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?

 
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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
There is enough evidence to suggest it does matter and that is not perfectly correlated to GDP. That merits further research about its determinants and on how/whether policy can influence it.

German current account surpluses

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Question 2: Do you agree that the German government should increase public spending given its persistently large current account surplus and given that it is part of the Eurozone?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
Yes, srong positive externality on the rest of the Eurozone and anyhow needed given Germany's crumbling infrastructure. Germany's (public capital)/GDP ratio is HALF of the comparable ratio in the Netherlands.

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