Patrick Honohan

Trinity College Dublin

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  • Honorary Professor of Economics
  • Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland (2009-15)
  • Cunningham Medal (2014) and Member of the Royal Irish Academy (since 2002)
  • CEPR Research Fellow (since 1992)

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
Agree 6
Aging Europe must find ways of coping with immigration; though the 2015 surge may have unleashed political forces with bad economic impact.
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 2
Speed of innovation quite unclear; suppressing labour market and training response loads the question in direction of unemployment.
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
Disagree 2
Not sure that differential regulation good; there is scope for improvement in taxi regulation though.
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 2
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
Agree 2
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 5
This is a conplex political economy issue. If done well, could increase employment and TFP in long run; short-run cloudy.
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 5
A long run equilibrium
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
Strongly Agree 10
100 years of monetary theory cannot all be wrong.
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 8
Benefit mainly in the stressed countries; effectiveness of this policy nearing its limit.
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 10
"Do better"understood to capture risk as well as expected return, of course.
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 8
Average withdrawal age from labour market too low.
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
Agree 6
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
Disagree 5
Some economies of agglomeration are evident - but seem to be eubsector-specific.
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
Agree 5
...But from social welfare perspective, macho investment bank culture (facilitated by such labour market practices) can be questioned
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
Disagree 7
Markets can cope with bail in on this scale. They are already discounting it.
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
Strongly Agree 8
Got to get away from bailing out bank creditors with public funds. If not now, when? It's not just EU rules, cf FSB resolution principles
-see background information here
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
The answer would be less obvious if applied only to Western Europe
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 6
Scale of growth in intra-EU migration tends to be exaggerated.
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
Disagree 6
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
Strongly Agree 9
But not uniform increases: stronger in Eastern Europe.
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 7
Some yes; many no. But this is measuring economic wellbeing. Loss of identity, community, social certainties would be an offset.
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 7
Depends on the way in which the taxes are rebated.
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
Disagree 5
Competition between locations means that firm collects the rent.
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 8
Competitions between cities means that firms collect the rent.
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
Strongly Agree 9
Period of uncertainty will reduce capital formation. Inward-looking politics will limit benefits of globalization.
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
Agree 6
Britain's departure weakens EU ties; Brexit negotiations will sap energy and divert attention from other pressing problems.
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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