Wouter Den Haan's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

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.

Question 1: Do you agree that the economic benefits of devolving full income tax powers to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly outweigh the possible costs?

Answer:
Strongly Disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
I see several problems. First, there is likely to be tax competition (possible race to the bottom). Second, it is not credible that the UK will not bail out the Scots or the Welsh if they get into trouble. This would mean that there would have to be agreement on how high deficits and debt can be high. This is difficult as we have seen on the continent. I understand that there are political reasons and some economic benefits (local government may know better what the region needs), but I think that the cost will be substantial.

Secular Stagnation

Question 2: Do you think that current structural and fiscal policies should place a considerably greater emphasis on pushing the natural rate into positive territory?

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
In all advanced Western economies there is a lot of scope for structural policies that will increase the productivity of investment. In particular, I am thinking of implementing transparent and effective financial market regulation (what is currently done is far from transparent). Moreover, several Euro area countries still have a lot of room to increase the flexibility of labour markets. Whether we should pursue expansionary fiscal policies is not clear to me. I am not sure whether politicians will be able to do this effectively. I do think, however, that the current policy of doing more austerity whenever the economy does unexpectedly worse doesn't make sense and could potentially very damaging.

Question 1: Do you agree- making your own definition of secular stagnation clear if you disagree with that offered here- that it is more likely than not that the advanced Western economies have entered into a period of secular stagnation?

Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
Real interest rates have been low for quite a while. I am not sure, however, whether the situation is so bad that most advanced Western economies, including the UK and the US, are in such poor shape that full employment requires negative real interest rates. After all, the UK and US unemployment rates are not that high anymore.

Migration and the UK economy August 2014

Question 2: Do you agree that current government policies with respect to non-EU migration (including policies on students, skilled workers, and family migration) are effective in maximizing the gains to the economy from migration while minimizing any possible negative impact to specific groups?

Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Confident

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