Wouter Den Haan's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
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:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
It is not unthinkable that a refusal to renegotiate Greek debt will lead to a sequence of disastrous consequences, for example, with Greece leaving the Euro Area followed by a financial market panic. However, my hunch is that such a bad outcome is not the most likely outcome, because the Greek economy is now more decoupled from the rest of the Euro Area.

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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:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident at all
Comment:
The fiscal position in the Euro Area periphery countries is still fragile and quite a few things, including a Syriza victory, could trigger another bout of market pessimism accompanied by increased spreads. Nevertheless, I suspect that a Syriza victory by itself will not have massive consequences because another round of Greek debt restructuring or even default is likely without a Syriza win as well and should have been priced in current spreads already.

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:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
I can imagine that a case can be made for austerity even when the economy is doing poorly. For example, because this will comfort investors about long-run tax rates. But a policy in which any unexpected downfall in revenues lead to additional austerity really runs the risk of getting the UK into a downward spiral of more austerity, lower growth, lower tax receipts, more austerity, etc.

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

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Given the headwinds that the UK economy is still facing, this would be a tough challenge. More importantly, such extremely drastic austerity measures are likely to weaken the UK economy.

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:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
This just doesn't make any sense from an economic point of view. It will be very difficult to figure out what is meant with "English laws". The UK is quite an integrated economy and these things are not that easy to disentangle. Moreover, given the size of England, English laws are likely to have important consequences for the other nations in the UK.

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