Peter Neary

Oxford

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  • Professor of Economics
  • President-Elect of the Royal Economic Society (2016-17)
  • President of the European Economic Association (2002)
  • President of the Irish Economic Association (1990-92) and Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal in the Social Sciences (2006)

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 Agree 7
Net benefits from increased labor supply. Losses to some workers possible. Poor integration could lead to social unrest: safety nets needed
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
Disagree 6
Some workers will be displaced, some will retrain, the new technology is likely to diffuse slowly, especially in service industries.
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 7
I agree in principle, though compensation rarely occurs in practice and would require Nordic levels of income support and retraining.
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 3
Taxis are excessively regulated in many cities, so increased competition is desirable. But regulation also has a role in protecting consumer
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 4
More competition is desirable. In this scenario Uber's only advantage is its superior technology and organisation, likely to be short-lived.
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 4
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
Agree 4
"All else equal" agreed. But it risks triggering further disillusionment with globalization. Accompanying macro stimulus would ease the pain
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 4
All else equal again. And the details matter. Something like Danish "flexicurity" would be good, naive deregulation bad.
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 5
Reduced but not eliminated. Monetary policy alone cannot get the EU out of deflation, only a rise in external demand or a fiscal stimulus.
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
Uncertain 5
"Substantial" Is a big ask, and growth will ultimately be affected more by structural issues and demand-side shocks
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 8
A small industry exists to help naive investors beat the market. It should be subject to mandatory health warnings.
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 7
Automation could conceivably offset fall in labor input to population ratio but unlikely
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 7
Especially if not compulsory, such changes could even be welcomed by increasingly healthy 65-year olds
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
Agree 8
Local costs (high house prices, inequality) but clear EU-wide gains to agglomeration. Unsustainable outside the Single Market however.
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 6
Balance in UK labour markets is more tilted towards employers: ironically this also makes incumbent firms less likely to stay post-Brexit
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
Agree 3
Sooner or later, bullets have to be bitten, zombie banks have to be bailed out. Sooner is better. Exactly how is much harder to answer.
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
Disagree 3
Possibility of moral hazard in medium term versus high probability of financial instability in short term. A tough choice but a clear one.
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
Agree 7
Productivity has increased, though in Russia and other countries the distributional consequences have been regressive
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
Strongly Agree 7
All the evidence points to migration as improving productivity in host countries, with very small negative effects on displaced workers
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 7
This is definitely a widespread perception, whipped up by populist politicians; but migrants typically bring skills and consume few services
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 8
Greater integration has led to classical gains from trade through specialization, as well as new gains from exploiting supply chains
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 6
It is not true that many low-skilled workers have lost out, especially considering improved quality and lower prices; but some have lost
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
Strongly Agree 10
Travelling on congested roads, no matter how desirable to the individual, imposes costs on other users which governments should internalise
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 8
Providing information and helping foreign firms cope with bureaucracy are desirable; direct grants are unlikely to match their full costs
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
Disagree 8
Competition on services and in providing information is desirable; competition on subsidies and tax breaks risks a race to the bottom
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 10
Definitely a negative impact, though how much depends on how hard is the Brexit and how long the associated uncertainty persists
-see background information here
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 8
Europe is more important to the UK than vice versa, so the effect on the rest of the EU should be less severe though still negative
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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