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Tony Yates: Long and Variable

Long and Variable is a blog about monetary policy and central banks. Authored by Professor Tony Yates (University of Birmingham), this blog is quite detailed and knowledgeable about global monetary policy.

Terms of reference for a new Centre for Economics and Epidemiology

In a previous post [scroll down!], I called for the UK [and other countries] to set up new, local centres for Economics and Epidemiology.  This is because the economic-epidemiological outlooks are impoverished by the two disciplines – at least at the point of making contact with policy and actual forecasts – are cleaved in two.  Epidemiological forecasts have too little economics;  macroeconomic forecasts have no epidemiology.  The result is public health and economic policymaking that...

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We need a new UK Centre for Epidemiology and Economics

The UK covid19 crisis kicked off with forecasts of the epidemic with and without mitigation measures like lockdowns.  They were ultimately alarming enough to persuade the government to lockdown. The forecasts joined epidemiological insights with social science – evidence on the propensity of different groups to contact each other.  But they did not tread further into economics.  Economists like Toxvaerd and Fenichel, and subsequently many others who joined in after covid19 emerged ...

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Vouchers: with poor timing, perhaps the worst kind of counter-covid recession policy

I am crystallizing my concern about retail vouchers, part of Rishi Sunak’s latest package [and recommended by others, including one of my affilliations/clients, Resolution Foundation], and mostly thanks to a Jason Furman tweet. Sunak has seen his challenge as wanting to target stimulus and support policies at the sectors hardest hit by the covid19 crisis.  This motive is understandable.  Despite what the MMT headcases will tell you, fiscal support involves the government using scarce...

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Make the BoE work for their oak panelled offices and get them to identify the missing stimulus needed

The Bank of England is, arguably, at the end of the road as far as currently agreed methods of monetary stimulus are concerned. Interest rates are at their effective floor – in the UK, as understood by the Monetary Policy Committee – 0.1 per cent.  QE purchases of assets stand at £745bn.   This is unlikely to have done much harm [although some contest this] but equally, has probably not, at least as far as its later increments are concerned, imparted much stimulus either.  At root QE...

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Why did we release lockdown too early? Perhaps because we started too late.

It has been much commented on that the UK entered its lockdown to combat covid19 too late.  This had the consequence of allowing the virus to gain more of a foothold, generating an increasing flow of infections that quickly swamped our test and trace capacity at that point. That in turn had the effect of meaning that the lockdown we did introduce needed to be in place for longer than otherwise.  The lockdown has the effect of reducing the reproductive rate of the virus, by reducing the...

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Lockdowns and lockdown releases are not going to be ‘fair’

A common passtime during the lockdown, or during phases of its release was to point out some activity that has been permitted and compare it to another one that has not.  How ridiculous, we all laughed, demonically!  What incompetence the whole thing demonstrated! There are many ways in which the government’s handling of the crisis has been catastrophically bad, but there being apparent instancies of unfairness and inconsistency in the lockdown is not one of them. Lockdown law is not...

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Periscope q and a’s for non economists Friday 10am

In case you don’t encounter my Twitter feed, I’ve experimentally started doing Periscope broadcasts of me answering questions.  Friday 10am.  Last Friday’s can be viewed here.  The sessions are targeted at non economists into economics;  econ students;  schoolkids doing econ;  schoolteachers teaching econ or related topics. The production technology is hopelessly shonky, as you might expect.  And you will no doubt grasp why I am not a telly broadcaster when you see one of them.  The...

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Fiscal rules have been rightly blown out of the water by the covid19 crisis

This was a piece I wrote for the New Statesman.  I had to write it a few times.  It started life as a thing about the first post GE19 budget and how they were going to finesse the issue of sticking to rules in the manifesto, vs satisfying the new ‘Blue Wall’ of Tory seats in the North.  Then the pandemic rightly blew all of those discusssions out of the water.   At some point, when we have got to the point of beginning the end of the lockdown, and can estimate the likely impact of the...

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New Statesman post on Mark Carney’s tenure

I laboured over this piece.  It was hard to cover all the ground, much of it technical, in a way that would interest anyone.  And I had to write it over and over to purge it of the sourness that can seep in from an ex central banker with no role other than to peer in and throw stones.  I probably did not get all the way to doing that.  Anyway, no-one cares any more about it, as the pandemic has swept such small details as ‘how should you communicate monetary policy’ and ‘what precisely...

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‘Money printing’ is not yet a subordination of monetary policy, so keep your hair on

I wrote a thread a few days ago reacting to some of the Twitter commentary [and also to Martin Wolf’s FT piece which I don’t think struck the right tone], and this short post for The Independent covers the ground.   This should also be a counterpoint to Paul Mason’s recent New Statesman piece.  And it’s also worth reflecting back on the debates that were had as Corbyn was campaigning for the Labour leadership in 2015 and floating the idea of ‘People’s QE’....

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