Tony Yates's picture
Affiliation: 
University of Birmingham
Credentials: 
Professor of Economics

Voting history

Greece’s elections and the future of the Eurozone

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Question 2: Do you agree that refusal of the core EU countries to a renegotiation of the Greek bailout agreements would carry serious risks for the economic well-being of the Eurozone?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Yes. Though there are risks to renegotiating too. That could escalate the fiscal conflct between Spain, Italy and North Europe. There are good outcomes: that such pressure leads to the view that overall in Europe there should be strong fiscal stimulus in the short term. But there are bad outcomes too.

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Question 1: Do you agree that a Syriza victory on 25 January would lead to a significant or sustained escalation in spreads for other peripheral Eurozone countries?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
I'd forecast an increase in sovereign yields in Portugal and Italy. In Spain, this might happen too. On the one hand, there is more evidence that the Spanish recovery is firmly underway. But on the other, the Syriza of Spain is also riding high in the polls and a Syriza renegotiation could encourage anti-EU sentiment, and renewed attempts at fiscal stimulus in contravention with the stability and growth pact rules. These developments might fuel speculation that Spain would exit.

2014 Autumn Statement

 

Question 2: Do you agree that the underperformance of tax receipts in recent years, provides a strong case for higher taxes?

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Yes it does, with a couple of qualifications. First, not yet. With monetary policy at the zero bound, and QE of uncertain furher impact, and inflation sliding somewhat, a fiscal tightening right now is not advisable. Second, it's plausible that productivity will bounce back, and that such tax increases cd be reversed later.

Question 1: Do you agree that the scale of this planned reduction in total managed expenditure is credible?

Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Not credible for a couple of reasons. First, they failed to meet the targets they set last time, so why believe a second time. Second, the first lot of cuts made were no doubt the easiest, low-hanging fruits. The seocnd lot will be harder. Each expenditure review seeks to prioritise and cut low priorities. So inevitably further rounds of cuts fall on higher priority items. This gets me to the second reason. These cuts aren't wanted, probably not even by most of the Tory party either.

Devolving Income Tax Powers within the UK

Question 2: Do you agree that that there is a clear economic case for establishing "English votes for English laws" with the same tax and spending powers as the Scottish Parliament?

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
For reasons stated above, I'm against devolving fiscal policy, both to Scotland and, therefore, to England. If devolution to Scotland proceeds, there is a clear political [not economic] case for reciprocating for England. But factors don't point all one way. The predominance of England in the UK as a whole will tend to afford certain advantages that might weigh against the need for formal devolution. And the 'favour' of one-sided devolution only might be a bribe to keep the union together, which might be worth paying.

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