Angus Armstrong's picture
Affiliation: 
National Institute of Economic and Social Research
Credentials: 
Director of Macroeconomic Research
Visiting Professor, Imperial College London

Voting history

Are academic economists ‘in touch’ with voters and politicians?

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Question 3: Voters chose to leave the EU for non-economic reasons.

Do you agree that this was an important reason for a majority of UK voters going against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident

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Question 5: Voters think that the preferences of economists do not align with their own preferences. (This includes the possibility that they thought that the predicted negative economic consequences would not affect them personally).

Do you agree this was an important reason for a majority of UK voters going against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
I think there is an element of truth in each option. However, the main reason is that people in many regions have seen loss of job security and a fall in real income over the last decade or two. So why should they believe that (a) trade and the EU are beneficial, (b) the 'average' has anything to do with them?

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Question 2: What do you think is the most likely reason that a majority of UK voters went against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
C. Different preferences
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
I think there is an element of truth in each option. However, the main reason is that people in many regions have seen loss of job security and a fall in real income over the last decade or two. So why should they believe that (a) trade and the EU are beneficial, (b) the 'average' has anything to do with them?

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Question 1: Do you agree that the economics profession needs an institutional change that promotes the ability to communicate more effectively with policy-makers and the public at large and to make clear when economists have a united view; and do you agree that we need to introduce leadership to help achieve this improvement through coordinated efforts?

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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
I find the suggestion that an institution should marshall, communicate or even facilitate the communication of economists' views disturbing. Economists must be able to make their own views known and disagree which each other. This is not the issue. I find the views expressed in the preamble to the question troubling. Let me first declare that I spoke at many Brexit events in cities across the constituent nations of the UK. I agree that there was a real and serious problem with the BBC - there should be an investigation about whether they fulfilled their public role. However, even if every economist in the UK agreed on the loss of GDP and in income per household I doubt the outcome would have been any different. Why? Because a large share of the population simply have seen any benefit of globalisation and so do not believe any of the estimates. As it was said in a Newcastle town-hall style meeting (an area that voted 'remain') 'that's your bloody GDP not mine'. So how much academic research has been carried out on the distributional and regional consequences of EU membership and globalisation? A Brexit vote has been possible for some time. To my knowledged there has been little research on on the UK distributional and regional impact of trade and migration (a bit more here). In my view the issue is how we fund economics in this country and therefore what economists do, rather than the refrain that 'we didn't get our message across'.

Brexit: the potential of a financial catastrophe and long-term consequences for the UK financial sector

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Question 2: What is the probability that the UK experiences such a significant disruption to financial markets and asset prices following a vote for Brexit on 23 June?

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Answer:
11-30%
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
Much will depend on responses. Will there be a leadership challenge and who would be the favourite? Will credit ratiing agencies downgrade the UK one or two notches; and what would be the implications for OTC derivative contracts and structured products which often include provisions about ratings of counterparties? My answer assumes that the UK authorities at least are well prepared and will respond accordingly to mitigate disturbance.

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