Hans-Joachim Voth

University of Zurich

Personal Homepage

  • UBS Professor of Macroeconomics and Financial Markets
  • Council Member of the European Economic Association (2014-18)
  • CEPR Research Fellow (since 2011)
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (since 2009)

Voting History

Refugees in Germany

The influx of refugees into Germany beginning in the summer of 2015 will generate net economic benefits for German citizens over the succeeding decade.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Strongly Disagree 8
Uncertain 6

Robots and Artificial Intelligence

Question A: Holding labor market institutions and job training fixed, rising use of robots and artificial intelligence is likely to increase substantially the number of workers in advanced countries who are unemployed for long periods.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Uncertain 7
Uncertain 6

Question B: Rising use of robots and artificial intelligence in advanced countries is likely to create benefits large enough that they could be used to compensate those workers who are substantially negatively affected for their lost wages.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 5
Agree 6

Ride Sharing

Question A: Consumers will be better off, on balance, if European cities treat firms that provide ride-sharing platforms (such as Uber) as substantively different from taxi firms, and thus not necessarily warranting the same regulation.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Uncertain 7
Uber etc are monopolization plays; where taxi regulation works today, as in most European cities, the long-run impact may be negative
Uncertain 6

Question B: Assuming that taxi and ride-sharing companies were treated as substantively similar — including requirements that they operate on an equal footing regarding safety, insurance and taxation — letting ride-sharing services compete without restrictions on prices or routes would raise consumer welfare.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 1
Agree 7

Question C: Regardless of how ride-sharing services are treated, existing regulations for traditional taxi firms in many European cities harm consumers by limiting competition.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Uncertain 7
The picture is mixed; some cities have been captured by the taxi lobby, as in the US; others boast cheap, safe, plentiful taxi services...
Agree 7

France’s Labor Market

Question A: Revising France’s labor market policies — by reducing employment protection, decentralizing labor negotiations to the firm level, and making training programs more accessible and responsive to labor demands — would, all else equal, increase productivity in France’s economy.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Uncertain 10
Longer-term contracts can be a good thing for prouctivity, if firms and workers invest in the "match"...
Agree 7

Question B: Reducing employment protection would reduce the equilibrium unemployment rate in France.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 6
Modern labor econ overwhelmingly suggests that firms have a lot of market power; that means that this is likely but not guaranteed
Agree 7

ECB Asset Purchases

Question A: The ECB's asset purchases over the past two years have reduced the threat of deflation in the euro area as a whole.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 7
Agree 7

Question B: If the economic outlook in the euro area becomes less favorable, then increasing the ECB's asset purchase program (in size or duration) would substantially increase the euro area's economic growth over the following five years.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 6
Uncertain 6

Diversified Investing

In general, absent any inside information, an equity investor can expect to do better by holding a well-diversified, low-fee, passive index fund than by holding a few stocks.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Strongly Agree 9
Just look at the long-term Warren Buffett bet against managed funds -- whenever there is outperformance, fees eat them up
-see background information here
Strongly Agree 9

Aging

Question A: Without changes in policy, a rising share of people who are over age 65 will exert a substantial downward influence on per capita real GDP in western European countries.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 5
this is a supposition that seems logical but empirical evidence seems weak in general
Agree 7

Question B: In European countries where the share of those over 65 is rising, there are net social benefits to adjusting retirement ages for state-financed (including pay-as-you-go) pension systems upwards, so that revised retirement ages better reflect longer life expectancies.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Strongly Agree 1
The benefits for the finances of pay-as-you-go systems are fairly obvious...
Agree 8

City of London

Question A: All else equal, there are substantial advantages to having much of Europe’s human capital and infrastructure for international financial activity clustered in a single city, as they are at present in London.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Strongly Agree 8
Wholesale financial services naturally congregate in a handful of locations....that's why there are financial centers in the first place.
Agree 7

Question B: All else equal, Britain’s rules on hiring, firing and working hours are significantly more conducive to financial activity than those in other large European countries.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Disagree 7
I think this is really secondary; "light touch" regulation and the lock-in from pre-existing activity are much more important.
Agree 7

Italy’s Banks

Question A: Setting the EU rules aside, and assuming it would take 2.5% of Italy’s GDP to recapitalize its banks, the Italian government would improve financial stability in Europe if it injected this amount of public funds into its banks.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Uncertain 4
I think this could easily backfire. Bailouts done right can be a jolly goood thing but i have at least some reservations about the prospects
Agree 7

Question B: If Italy were to inject public funds into its banks without imposing losses on at least some claimants, an important cost would be the effect on future incentives (economic or political) in Europe.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 7
There is already a lot of concern in Germany about EMU rules being broken. This could be the final straw
Agree 8

Privatization in Central and Eastern Europe

On the whole, the shift from state to private ownership of many industrial assets in central and eastern European countries after communism has increased productivity in those countries.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Strongly Agree 9
Strongly Agree 8

Migration Within Europe

Question A: Freer movement of people to live and work across borders within Europe has made the average western European citizen better off since the 1980s.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 8
Agree 8

Question B: Freer movement of people to live and work across borders within Europe has made many low-skilled western European citizens worse off since the 1980s.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Uncertain 1
Disagree 6

Trade Within Europe

Question A: Freer movement of goods and services across borders within Europe has made the average western European citizen better off since the 1980s.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 3
Strongly Agree 8

Question B: Freer movement of goods and services across borders within Europe has made many low-skilled western European citizens worse off since the 1980s.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Disagree 4
hugely heterogenous - strongly positive for Germany etc., probably a small minus in places with a weaker manufacturing base
Disagree 7

Congestion Pricing

In general, using more congestion charges in crowded transportation networks — such as higher tolls during peak travel times in cities, and peak fees for airplane takeoff and landing slots — and using the proceeds to lower other taxes would make citizens on average better off.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 8
Strongly Agree 8

Local Tax Incentives

Question A: Giving tax incentives to specific firms to locate operations in a country typically generates domestic benefits that outweigh the costs to the country providing the incentives.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Uncertain 5
distortionary effects on factor markets are rarely accounted for
Uncertain 6

Question B: Europe as a whole benefits when European cities or countries compete with each other by giving tax incentives to firms to locate operations in their jurisdictions.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Strongly Disagree 5
this favors large firms and creates size-dependent distortions
Disagree 7

Brexit

Question A: Because of the Brexit vote's outcome, the UK's real per-capita income level is likely to be lower a decade from now than it would have been otherwise.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Agree 5
we know very little about the long-run effects of common market access on service trade, the most important component of UK exports
Agree 8

Question B: Because of the Brexit vote's outcome, the rest of the EU's real per-capita income level is likely to be lower a decade from now than it would have been otherwise.

Vote Confidence Comments Median Survey Vote Median Survey Confidence
Uncertain 3
It depends on how much free market momentum is lost within the EU due to Brexit
Agree 7

About the European IGM Economic Experts Panel

This panel explores the views of European economists on vital public policy issues. It does this by polling them on important policy questions, by including a way for them to explain their answers briefly if they wish, and by disseminating these responses directly to the public in a simple format.

To that end, our panel was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the main areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include older and younger scholars. As with the IGM’s US panel, the experts are all outstanding researchers in their fields. The panel includes recipients of top national and international prizes in economics, fellows of the Econometric society and the European Economic Association, members of distinguished national and international policymaking bodies in Europe, recipients of significant grants for economic research, highly accomplished affiliates and program directors of the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the National Bureau of Economic Research, and past and current editors of leading academic journals in the profession. This approach not only provides a set of panelists whose names will be familiar to other economists and the media, but also delivers a group with impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters in Europe and beyond.

Questions for the European IGM Economic Experts Panel are emailed individually to all members of the panel. They are phrased as statements with which one can agree or disagree. The experts are also asked how confident they are in their knowledge of the issue associated with the question (10 being highest). Each panelist responds electronically at his or her convenience. Panelists may consult whatever resources they like before answering. They may also include brief comments with their responses, or provide links to relevant sources.

It is important to explain one aspect of our voting process. In some instances a panelist may neither agree nor disagree with a statement, and there can be two very different reasons for this. One case occurs when an economist knows a lot about a topic and yet sees the evidence on the exact claim at hand as ambiguous. In such cases our panelists vote "uncertain". A second case relates to statements on topics so far removed from the economist's knowledge that he or she does not feel well placed to judge. In this case, our panelists vote "no opinion".

Panelists suggest many of the questions themselves. Members of the public are also welcome to suggest questions (see link below). Although IGM faculty members are responsible for deciding the final version of each question, we send a draft of the question to the panel in advance and invite them to point out problems with the wording if they see any. This process helps us to reduce vagueness or problems of interpretation.

The panel data are copyrighted by the Initiative on Global Markets and will be analyzed for an article to appear in a peer-reviewed journal.

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