Thorsten Beck's picture
Affiliation: 
Cass Business School
Credentials: 
Professor of Banking and Finance

Voting history

The UK Productivity Puzzle

Question 4: Which of the following policies would be your second choice of policy to boost private sector productivity, in addition to or absent your first choice?

Answer:
Infrastructure investment
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Helping regions outside the South of England and London to get better connected would make them more attractive investment targets, with positive externalities across firms and sectors in these locations.

In the last two questions you are asked which government policies are best suited to help the UK emerge from its productivity growth slowdown. Question 3 asks for your most preferred policy option, while question 4 asks for your second choice. You may use the comment section to outline specific policy recommendations.

Question 3: Which of the following policies would best help improve private sector productivity?

Answer:
Investments in human capital including education and job retraining
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Improvements in technical skills would be a long-term solution to support a well-trained working population and thus also improve productivity growth

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

Answer:
Human capital including education and employee skills
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The British education system results in a "missing middle" of well-trained technical staff, with the focus being on the top end (globally competitive universities) and the lower end (minimum wages for low-skilled workers). There is a need for a strong technical education system with apprenticeships as, e.g., in Germany.

Question 1: Which of the following was the 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:
Very confident
Comment:
Lack of investment due to the pre-crisis debt hangover and uncertainty related to Brexit are certainly one big factor in explaining low productivity growth in the UK

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:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
As long as banks (or other financial intermediaries under the implicit financial safety net) are not directly connected to this market (and they should not given the nature of crypto-currencies as speculative investment), there is no need for regulatory oversight. On the other hand, regulators should carefully watch the development, if crypt-currencies are increasingly used by the financial system and/or if crypto-currency trading entities become more closely linked to institutions within the regulatory perimeter. So, no immediate regulatory need, but careful monitoring of "this space".

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