Torsten Persson

Stockholm University

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  • Swedish Research Council Distinguished Professor, Institute for International Economic Studies
  • President of the Econometric Society (2008) and the European Economic Association (2003)
  • Yrjö Jahnsson Award  in Economics (1997) and Söderberg Prize (1995)
  • Chair of the Prize Committee for The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (2002-04)

Voting History

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 3
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 3
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
Agree 6
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
Did Not Answer
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
Did Not Answer
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
Did Not Answer
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
Did Not Answer
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 5
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 5
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 8
Even in East Germany only a few firms were viable at world-market prices at the end of communism (Akerlof et al, BPEA, 1990)
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
Disagree 7
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
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
Trade within western Europe is mostly intra-industry trade
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 7
Peak-load congestion charges have signficantly lowered traffic in Stockholm, London and other European cities.
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
The question seems to suppose unilateral action, but a lack of foreign resoponse at is unrealistic.
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
Tax compeittion may easily leave all countries worse off (no inflows and lower revenue) unless initial taxes are much too high.
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
Uncertain 8
The consequences of Brexit depend completely on the exit terms, which we know very little about.
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 8
Brexit can either trigger more exits, or make remaining EU countries pull closer together, so very hard to call the effects.
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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