Tim Besley's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
Credentials: 
Professor of economics and political science

Voting history

House Prices and the UK economy

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Question 1: Do you agree that the phenomenon of declining house prices will ripple out from the London property market leading more UK regions to experience falling prices?

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Answer:
No opinion
Confidence level:
Not confident

Juncker's State of the Union Address

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Question 2: Do you agree that the euro has had more benefits than costs?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
There are gainers and losers so it depends a bit on which country's perspective one takes. Germany gets the kind of currency that was infeasible with the Deutchmark. But it destroyed a vital economic adjustment mechanism for some of the economically weaker countries.

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Question 1; Do you agree that euro membership should be compulsory for all EU member states?

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Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
If the EU is going to emerge as a United States of Europe in the long run then it would be non-sensical to allow separate currencies to remain. But the real issue is whether that vision commands sufficiently wide support.

Happiness and well-being as objectives of macro policy

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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:
Very confident
Comment:
Give useful insights "yes", determine the answer "no". Anyone who looks at these issues could learn a lot from Angus Deaton's Hicks Lecture first: http://scholar.princeton.edu/deaton/publications/financial-crisis-and-well-being-americans

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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:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
There is a case of using a range of data to evaluate policies but not one to the detriment/neglect of others and we need to use the data intelligently and cautiously. It is a case of discretion not rules in this case. Also happiness and well-being are not the same thing as the passage above seems to suggest. Moreover, let's not pretend that there is any single metric that trumps all others. We need to be pluralistic which, in many ways would be a break from the past. Amartya Sen has been arguing for a plural "capability approach" for years and I still think that his framework is the most persuasive overarching intellectual framework in the area.

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