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The Manifesto for Economic Sense, authored by Paul Krugman and Richard Layard, has now been signed by a number of distinguished economists, including (but not limited to) the following:
Alan Manning - London School of Economics
Andrew Graham - Oxford University
Charles Wyplosz - The Graduate Institute, Geneva
Diane Coyle is not just one of the UK's most eminent "public intellectuals", but also simply one of the most impressive people I know; how she manages to run her own economic consultancy, serve as Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust and as a member of the Migration Advisory Committee, write a book every year or two and tweet constantly is completely beyond me.
[This is slightly updated version of an article that appeared first last September in the Independent here.
The G-20 has come (almost) full circle. In April 2009 in London, the communique set out leaders' commitment to a massive coordinated fiscal stimulus:
The Department for Work and Pensions today published an impact assessment of the Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) programme. The analysis compares participants on the programme with "comparable" (as determined by sophisticated statistical techniques) non-participants. Briefly, what the analysis shows is that the programme as currently structured is not working.
The Independent on Sunday today says that "the Government is to call for an end to what it describes as an "it's not my fault" culture of excuses, which has allowed 120,000 "troubled families" to avoid taking responsibility for their own lives." Eric Pickles is quoted as saying the programme will be "more forceful in language, a little less understanding".
[This article appeared in the Independent on 10 June 2012]
Two weeks ago, I wrote this:
Chris Giles' FT piece here argues essentially that the political debate focuses too much on fiscal policy; and that given the uncertainty about the impacts past and future, of fiscal policy, economists should refrain from taking sides in this debate. I think that while there is much in Chris' piece that I agree with, ultimately his conclusions are confused at best, and damaging at worst.
GDP figures today were revised down to -0.3%. As I've said before, small quarterly movements of this sort are largely irrelevant to the broader picture. What was initially a reasonably strong, albeit patchy, recovery stalled in the autumn of 2010; since then there has been essentially no growth at all.
[Update. David has responded here. His post simply ignores the second-to-last para below. which addresses the substantive point. At this point, I really don't know whether it is because he's dug himself into a hole and doesn't want to admit it, or because he genuinely doesn't understand the government's intertemporal budget constraint - a standard identity, taught in any decent graduate macro or public finance course, if not before.].
When I'm asked in interview or articles to sum up concisely why I think the government should change course on fiscal policy, I usually say something like this:
[This article originally appeared in the Independent here].
My Guardian article, here.
Much of the discussion about today's GDP figures has focused on the "surprise" fall in construction, as if this had somehow come out of nowhere and was nothing to do with government policy. And perhaps the figures will be revised. But more broadly, it is hardly surprising that the construction industry is having a hard time when the government has taken a deliberate decision to slash public sector investment - down 25% last year, as Tuesday's ONS figures showed.
[This piece appeared first in the Independent here]