Angus Armstrong, Francesco Caselli, Jagjit Chadha, Wouter den Haan, 14 April 2014

Fears that the financial crisis will have a significant negative impact on long-term UK economic growth are unfounded, according to a majority of the UK macroeconomics profession surveyed by the Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM). What’s more, the inaugural CFM survey, summarised in this column, indicates some optimism about the UK’s immediate capacity for higher growth: while roughly half of the respondents share the views of the Office of Budget Responsibility, the other half is substantially more optimistic about the capacity for the economy to recover.

Ian Gregory-Smith, Steve Thompson, Peter Wright, 24 March 2014

In 2003, the UK adopted a ‘say on pay’ policy, whereby quoted companies’ executive compensation offers have to be put to a shareholder vote. This column presents evidence that this policy has had a relatively modest impact on executive pay. A 10% increase in compensation is associated with an increase in shareholder dissent against the proposal of just 0.2%. However, remuneration committees representing the more highly rewarded CEOs are quite sensitive to dissent, provided it exceeds a critical threshold of about 10%. Shareholders do not appear more anxious about pay since the crisis.

Katie Farrant, Magda Rutkowska, Konstantinos Theodoridis, 09 February 2014

The investment decline in the UK that has followed after the recent crisis is hardly a surprise. What is baffling is that at the same time, corporate bond issuance has remained strong. This column discusses this puzzling pattern and provides possible explanations for it. Heterogeneity among companies is one possible argument, where firms with capital market access invest, and those without – do not. However, evidence from 2012 shows that investment across companies with capital fell as well. Thus, other factors – such as the increased financial uncertainty – could play a role in the investment decisions of companies.

Katerina Lisenkova, 10 January 2014

Efforts to limit immigration are being implemented in many rich nations. Restricting immigration to these advanced ageing economies could be an economic boon or bane. This column presents recent work examining the labour market and fiscal impacts of restricting immigration, taking the UK government’s stated goal as an example. The results suggest that a significant reduction in net migration would have strong negative effects on the UK economy.

Christian Dustmann, Tommaso Frattini, 13 November 2013

The immigration debate has focused on immigrants’ net fiscal impact – whether they receive more in welfare payments and other benefits than they pay back in taxes. This column summarises research showing that – contrary to popular belief – immigrants who arrived in the UK since 2000 have contributed far more in taxes than they have received in benefits. Compared with natives of the same age, gender, and education level, recent immigrants are 21% less likely to receive benefits. 

David Cobham, 16 September 2013

The Bank of England is searching for an alternative activist monetary policy. This column argues that inflation targeting is better than previous frameworks but there is room for improvement. Faced with exchange rate and housing prices problems, the Bank was unable to modify the framework to suit. To avoid such problems, the Bank should be given more goal-independence as well as instrument-independence.

Charlotte Geay, Sandra McNally, Shqiponja Telhaj, 14 September 2013

Are children who are non-native speakers making education worse for native speakers? Presenting new research on England, this column uses two different research strategies showing that there are, in fact, no spillover effects. These results support other recent studies on the subject. The growing proportion of non-native English speakers in primary schools should not be a cause for concern.

Holger Görg, Marina-Eliza Spaliara, 13 September 2013

International trade declined dramatically during the Global Crisis. This column focuses on UK firms that exited from exporting during the Global Crisis. The evidence clearly points to the importance of financial factors. Firms that exited were more heavily indebted, less liquid, and faced higher firm-specific interest rates.

Abigail Haddow, Chris Hare, John Hooley, Tamarah Shakir, 27 August 2013

Economic uncertainty is not good for GDP growth. This column presents a new, UK-specific measure of economic uncertainty. It shows that UK economic uncertainty is now at historically high levels and that it has been unusually persistent in recent years. There is evidence that elevated uncertainty has been a factor restraining the UK recovery. What happens to uncertainty going forward will be important for growth.

Alan Taylor, 20 July 2013

Recent austerity policies have been guided by ideology rather than research. This column discusses research that reconciles disparate estimates of fiscal multipliers in the literature. It finds that common identification assumptions are problematic. Matching methods based on propensity scores show how contractionary austerity really is, especially in economies operating below potential.

Nicholas Crafts, 12 May 2013

The UK escaped a liquidity trap in the 1930s and enjoyed a strong economic recovery. This column argues that what drove this recovery was ‘unconventional’ monetary policy implemented not by the Bank of England but by the Treasury. Thus, Neville Chamberlain was an early proponent of ‘Abenomics’. This raises the question: is inflation targeting by an independent central bank appropriate at a time of very low nominal-interest rates?

Debopam Bhattacharya, 13 April 2013

Elite universities’ admission policies are perennially surrounded by controversy given the thorny efficiency and equity issues involved. This column discusses research into such policies focusing on the degree of meritocracy and non-academic bias. It suggests that men and private-school applicants have somewhat higher application success rates despite being held to higher academic admission standards.

Thomas Grennes, Andris Strazds, 28 February 2013

Can European countries share their debts? This column argues that higher government indebtedness means larger household net financial assets. Thus, any pooling of European legacy debt would be considered unacceptable by countries with less government debt unless it also involved the pooling of households’ financial assets. Yet, this would be legally and technically insurmountable. The EU must face forced Ricardian equivalence: the countries with the largest legacy-debt burdens must reduce them by increasing the tax burden or, alternatively, reduce their budget expenditure.

Dirk Schoenmaker, Arjen Siegmann, 27 February 2013

So far, discussions around Europe’s prospective banking union have focused only on the supervision of banks. This column argues that policymakers must also think about the resolution of banks in distress. While national governments confine themselves to the domestic effects of a banking failure, a European Resolution Authority could incorporate domestic and cross-border effects. A cost-benefit analysis of a hypothetical resolution of the top 25 European banks shows that the UK, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands would be the main winners.

Tim Besley, John Van Reenen, 31 January 2013

The latest GDP figures confirm that the UK economy has been more or less flat-lining since the financial crisis began. This column presents the LSE Growth Commission’s integrated recommendations for reigniting UK growth, arguing that an inability to achieve sustainable growth is rooted in longer-term problems arising from a failure to invest, notably in skills, infrastructure and innovation. The UK must engage evidence-based policy, in both word and deed, if it is to overcome international competition and myriad global changes.

Laurence Kotlikoff, 26 October 2012

The UK’s Independent Commission on Banking set out to make banking safer, to ensure that what just happened won’t happen again, and to change both the structure and regulation of banking as needed. But this column argues that the Commission fails to achieve any of these aims. It instead proposes a new way to make the financial system and wider economy safer.

Hilary Steedman, 06 October 2012

As in every downturn, youth unemployment is a serious concern. This column looks at apprenticeship policy in England. It argues that England is a long way off the apprentice numbers of countries like Germany but with a clear strategy, some nudging, and flexibility, England could realistically aim for the prize that has so far eluded it – higher skills and high youth participation in the workforce.

Richard Dobbs, Anu Madgavkar, 19 September 2012

Unemployment in the US and UK is over 8% and in many Eurozone countries is far higher. This column argues that we can’t just blame the recession – this is also symptomatic of long-term trends that, without a concerted effort by policymakers, will continue to stunt growth, deepen income inequality, weigh on public budgets, and cause living standards in many countries to stagnate.

Ian Tonks, Edmund Cannon, 20 August 2012

The UK is about to make a massive change to its pension system. From October 2012, employers will be obliged to automatically enrol employees into a pension scheme – though individuals can opt-out. This column explores what this might mean for pension funding and argues that the risks are to the downside.

Abigail Hughes, Jumana Saleheen, 19 August 2012

Worker productivity in the UK and a number of other countries has been persistently weak since the onset of the global crisis. This column argues that, in the UK at least, the weakness in service sector productivity is the biggest puzzle. In most other countries the weakness is more obvious in manufacturing.

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