Morten Ravn's picture
Affiliation: 
University College London
Credentials: 
Professor of economics
Head of Department

Voting history

Covid-19: Economic Policy Response

Question 2: Which of the following would have the second greatest impact in mitigating the economic effects of the coronavirus economic crisis in the UK?

Answer:
None of the above, other, or no opinion
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
I think unemployment benefits can be extended in duration without any negative impact on incentives. It would also be a good idea to provide income support to low income households who lose their jobs or have problems paying rent, mortgages, etc.. It would seem a great idea to stop student loan repayments. I see less reason right now for providing transfers to better off households.

Question 1: Which of the following would have the greatest impact in mitigating the economic effects of the coronavirus economic crisis?

Answer:
Government credit support for businesses
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
I think it is important to aim at minimizing the extent to firms do not destroy otherwise productive jobs. So government should cover (high share of) labor costs and possible lost revenues of firms to make sure that jobs are retained as far as possible. This can be even be done on an insurance basis. This is extra important for SMEs which will be less able to come through the crisis without laying off employees and without closing down business than larger firms. This will also help fighting the health crisis by facilitiating closure and social distancing policies.This is a double-dividend property that other policies do not have. In addition it will put the economy in a stronger position to recover after the crisis.

The UK Productivity Puzzle

Question 2: Which of the following was the second most important cause for the slowdown in UK productivity growth?

Answer:
Low demand (including due to the financial crisis, austerity policies, or Brexit)
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
As mentioned above, labor market, measurement, goods market may be important. Low demand may of course also be important in terms of landing the economy in a low-growth equilibrium. It is important to consider whether fiscal and monetary policy could be used to address this.

Question 1: Which of the following was the most important cause for the slowdown in UK productivity growth?

Answer:
Human capital including education and employee skills
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Before commenting more on human capital, I think measurement - of hours worked in particular - could potentially also be important (and better data would help one understand better how large the decline in labor productivity has been and whether it reflects TFP or not). Human capital though seems to me to be an important issue especially in terms of primary education where lack of investment in high quality state financed eduation has led to a two-tier system which serves well those who can afford private schools but not others. The same is true also for nurseries. I am aware that the survey is specifically asking about UKs experience post-2008. There is probably little doubt that other factors are important for this too. Wage growth has been very modest since the financial crisis and this might have induced poor labor allocation across jobs. Of course, it is unclear why wage growth has been so poor one possible reason being labor supply but others also being possible, It also seems that the poor productivity performance may be concentrated in services where lack of competition may be an issue. But I think it is fair to say that there is no single easy answer to the poor UK productivity performance.

Bitcoin and the City

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Question 2: Do you agree that the regulatory oversight of cryptocurrencies needs to be increased?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
I don't see why. It seems pretty obvious that the cryptocurrencies have appeal for illicit markets and for tax evasion, both issues of concerns to policy. This should be regulated.

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