Sunday , January 26 2020
Home / Simon Wren-Lewis
The author Simon Wren-lewis
Simon Wren-lewis
Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University, and a fellow of Merton College. This blog is written for both economists and non-economists.

Simon Wren-Lewis

Evidence and the persistence of mistaken ideas: the case of house prices

Another paper, this time from the Bank of England written by former MPC member David Miles and Victoria Monro, shows that the rise in house prices we have experienced since 1985 is mainly the result of lower real interest rates. The other, less important, driver is household income. Those two effects together can account for all the increase in house prices relative to inflation. The increase in house prices is not the result of a shortage of new houses. Those who remember two earlierpostsof...

Read More »

Monetary and fiscal cooperation: the case for a state dependent assignment

In December last year Mark Carney said“In a global liquidity trap, central banks cannot be the only policy makers who do “whatever it takes.” There are clear gains from coordination, with other policies – particularly fiscal policy” I of course agree, as would most academic macroeconomists. So would any sensible informed fiscal policy maker. But of course this didn’t happen in the Global Financial Crisis from 2010 onwards in some key major economies, including the UK. Carney’s statement,...

Read More »

Was the Remain campaign always doomed?

In hindsight it is tempting to say that Remainers should have set their sights on something close to a BINO type deal (UK remaining part of the Single Market (SM) and Customs Union (CU)) rather than campaigning for Remain, and some have already suggested that. Is that a reasonable conclusion in the light of Remain’s defeat in December 2019? In mid May it all looked so different. I wrote“It seems odd writing that Brexit is on its deathbed, in a coma but with no chance of recovery, when a year...

Read More »

Can we think about politics from Blair onwards in one chart? and what it means for Blue Labour

This is an experiment. You can judge how successful it is. I am trying it because with this election there has been a lot of talk about a revival in Blue Labour to recapture the Red Wall. The Conservatives have been playing to socially conservative voters since at least William (‘a foreign land’) Hague. So why has the strategy succeeded so well in 2019 when it has had at best modest success before now? We can represent all this in a simple diagram that is now widely used The precise...

Read More »

Who to blame for Johnson winning?

When I wrote thisin July I desperately wanted to be wrong. (Of course I was wrong about a lot of the details but alas not the main point.) But it soon became clear that, compared to 2017, the press had had two more years to paint Corbyn as marxist, unpatriotic and racist, and for enough people that would be a reason not to vote Labour. Among others who supported Brexit, they really did believe that Johnson was the man to get Brexit done. Many will say that Labour lost badly because they had a...

Read More »

Why you should vote tactically, and how to do it.

In this election we have a choice. We can choose a party led by an inveterate liar, which is happy to appeal to the racist or xenophobic vote, happy to take us out of the EU with no deal with all the consequences for public services that entails, happy to see ever longer waiting times for GPs and A&E, happy to see more homeless people on the streets and more food banks. Instead we can choose a hung parliament with a Labour minority government that may not even be led by Corbyn, with their...

Read More »

The othering of Jeremy Corbyn

By otheringI mean treating Corbyn (or more generally the Labour left) as beyond the pale in terms of conventional politics. Othering implies that because of his past or current beliefs, associations and actions Corbyn should not be even considered as fit to be an MP, let alone a Prime Minister. Other politicians can be evaluated in conventional ways, but this does not applyto those who are othered. Othering has a number of distinctive, and potentially useful, features. Let me list two. First,...

Read More »

Some thoughts on Labour’s campaign

The importance of this election cannot be overstated. Voters have a choice between re-electing a government that since 2010 has done untold damage to this country and which will be led by someone totally unsuited to be Prime Minister, or giving a minority Labour government a chance to do better for a few years. The fact that the polls suggest the public want more of the same illustrates how close we are to becoming an authoritarian, populist (in the Jan-Werner Müller sense) right wing state...

Read More »

Will UK voters really vote for the Republican party and our own Donald Trump?

There is so much about today’s Conservative party that is very similar to the Republican party in the US. To establish this, there is no better place to start than our future Prime Minister for the next five years, if polls are to be believed. Trump and Johnson are both inveterate liars. They lie when they have no need to, just for effect. To take some recent examples. He told Andrew Marr that the Tories don't do deals with other parties, when everyone can remember the Coalition government...

Read More »

In defence of the IFS, and why it cannot tell the whole story

Our own fiscal council, the OBR, is very restricted in what it is allowed to say by the party that created it. As a consequence, it is absolutely essential that we have widely respected bodies, principally the IFS but I would also include the Resolution Foundation and the National Institute (NIESR), that are able to provide good quality economic advice at all times, but particularly before General Elections. A good example is the Conservative manifesto published last Sunday. Without the IFS,...

Read More »