Tony Yates Profile picture
Ex econ Prof / central banker. Econ, finance, politics, virus. Stuff in Guardian / Prospect / New Statesman / Indy / FTAlphaville and even academic journals.
LittleGravitas 🇪🇺 💙 #FBPE, #FBPA, #FBPR Profile picture sl-xf Profile picture 💙 Charlie Helps FRSA 🖤 Profile picture SUPRIYO BHATTACHARJE Profile picture 5 added to My Authors
20 Apr
Come on @bankofengland you can do better. This is a matter of huge import. And raising the issue of 'cost'? On a matter like this? With modern electronic search capabilities?
Obvs everyone wants to know whether HMT encouraged you to bend the rules to lend to Greensill. You should be on the front foot disclosing everything without these requests having to come.
These schemes risk blurring operational independence and the the integrity of the Bank's policies. Full transparency will help clarify that all was well. True of course unless all was not well. Which is what one might infer from you not wanting full transparency.
Read 4 tweets
10 Apr
If you are studying economics, you should definitely listen to this.

One of the benefits of studying economics hopefully will be that you do not end up issuing confident and completely incoherent monologues about the world economy like these.
Money and finance and macro are hard, even if you've spent your whole life grappling with it. The confusing and mysterious nature of it tempts many to think that intentions lurk therein, when they don't.
I think also that when you've successfully comandeered an audience for your eccentric VJ narratives about geopolitics, it's excusable to think that you have what it needs to grasp the economic and financial system, and even to think that you see what no-one else has managed to.
Read 6 tweets
9 Apr
This video really succinctly summarizes what a sham the Sewell Report is.
The other 2 really good things I have consumed on it are @jdportes in @BylineTimes bylinetimes.com/2021/04/09/rac… ...
And @stephenkb and company in the @NewStatesman politics podcast: [can't find link atm].
Read 4 tweets
8 Apr
Pre-Brexit, the Good Friday Agreement allowed unionists to enjoy the sense of being an integrated part of the UK, with no border between themselves and GB, and nationalists to enjoy being an integrated part of Ireland, with no border between NI and RoI.
The NI protocol within the Withdrawal Agreement, agreed by the UK government, constitutes a partial economic border between NI and GB. Hence loyalists rioting. This agreement was the inevitable consequence of the govt deciding to interpret the referendum as a hard Brexit.
Leaving the customs union and the single market makes a border either between NI and GB or between NI and RoI inevitable.
Read 32 tweets
8 Apr
Labour calling for an economic impact assessment of the TCA Brexit deal is a tactic that took me by surprise. It's not consistent with what I thought was their approach which was to put fingers in the ears about Brexit and move on.
Obvs such an assessment is not going to be made to happen by the government. But raising the issue, knowing the call will not be heeded, naturally leads to saying 'and of course they don't because they fear it will show that there are very large economic costs...' etc.
But doing that leads them back where technocrats like me [not quite the right word for unemployed economist] got stuck pre-referendum, into territory that cut no electoral ice.
Read 5 tweets
7 Apr
Twitter @Dannythefink in one conversation on policing statues brands those who disagree him either as 'thoughtless', ideological, or 'dishonest.

Podcast Danny, author of 'Everything in moderation', here on the masterful art of persuasion, recommends a different approach:
'Know thyself', I think someone once said. There might be a generalisation for many selves.
Just putting this here again, in case you are coming to this for the first time.
Read 4 tweets
6 Apr
If you are a monetary economist encountering stories about Mitch McConnell it can be confusing as in certain poses he looks very like Mervyn King, ex BoE Governor, and half of your brain is thinking 'what the hell is he doing talking about race in the US?'
See what I mean?
I mean - have you ever seen them in the same room together, eh??
Read 5 tweets
6 Apr
When you have proposed a particular hammer, obviously all problems look like a nail, but with that aside I think a proper integrated epidemiological-econ modelling body, independent of govt, could really be adding to the debate over lockdown exit and vaccine passports.
Although big picture there is not a trade-off between £ and health, there is once you get to the fine details, eg the exact timing of lockdown release, what to release for whom. And an attempt could be made to quantify the costs and benefits.
Similarly vaccine passports, which are partly about the strategy for the transition from here until max vaccine take-up [and also partly about dealing with nonvaccinated in the longer term], can be modelled so we know what the 'discrimination' is buying and who benefits.
Read 4 tweets
6 Apr
If you are a centrist, empiricist Dad, the handwringing is that the media [tv + radio+newspapers] already seems overwhelmingly right wing and anti-empiricist/anti-evidence.
Dilemma: free media is part of a free society. Yet polarised and fragmented free for all media means that some people will never find out what is actually going on and make informed decisions.
Obvs given that @Dannythefink has diagnosed me as someone who is not even honest to themselves about their own honesty, and is secretly an anarchist, the centrist Dad comment should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Read 6 tweets
21 Mar
BBC don't have to get this wrong and help the government out. There are lots of people on here who can help them understand why this was a false choice, and why the govt retrospectively want to maintain that it was a real one.
Fair enough to say 'the govt will try to paint this as the choice they had to make, that it was an agonizing one, but in fact most experts see this as a false choice, because locking down earlier would have saved lives and £...'
and to follow up with 'and they would argue that the govt is trying to cover up for a failure to see this by continuing to stress a trade-off that wasn't there'
Read 14 tweets
21 Mar
Hopefully this dangerous view won't gain ground on the left, or anywhere. To a first approximation, BoE money creation can't be expected to finance more than a fraction of a percent of GDP.
'Austerity' was a 'scam', but not because we could have set aside inflation targeting and gone for determined monetary financing. We have to expect that most of the balance sheet growth of the BoE will be reversed as a hoped for normalization of the economy materializes.
h/t @JoMicheII whose views seem to be pretty similar.
Read 10 tweets
20 Mar
Vaccines touch on a lot of economic policy questions. You could probably teach most of an econ course through the lens of vaccine policy.
For a start, public funding for free vaccines marks itself out from laissez faire. We could leave the private sector to do the research, manufacturing; and leave it up to the market to decide the price, and up to people whether they have it.
We decided not to, because we thought the market would produce vaccines too slowly, in too small quantities; + we made them free to boost take up which would otherwise factor in only personal health risk and not the wider externality of risks to others.
Read 51 tweets
20 Mar
This guy is at least covering up the nipple. 👍
This is how to do it, lads. Wear a T shirt. T shirts cover your torso while leaving easy access to the upper arm, named for the 'T' shape that makes this possible.
Not like this.
Read 6 tweets
19 Mar
Yes and no. In the long run, to a first approximation, the issuing own currency bit is irrelevant to public finances. If you want low and stable inflation, you can't finance more than a fraction of a per cent of GDP through printing money.
Yes the BoE is currently buying those gilts, but if the inflation target requires it, and it probably will, most, probably all of the tranche since the pandemic will be reversed.
Although @andyverity is right that formal bankruptcy can be avoided by printing ever more currency, in practice, it probably would not choose this to rule it out, because the inflation that would result would be worse than default.
Read 7 tweets
19 Mar
Circulating this wider, as it is an echo of a comment I've seen before, that MMT is progressive and left wing, and conventional macro is right wing and regressive.
This is not so! The main substantive argument is about how the economy and the monetary/financial system works. This is a conversation about positive economics.
From the conclusions of that argument flow, once you have specified the objectives of policy, which you are free to do how you wish, addressing all the problems in political economy as you go in doing so, certain policy prescriptions.
Read 8 tweets
18 Mar
Guy before the pandemic on Oxford St ‘The end is nigh!’ Pandemic hits. ‘Now the debate is entirely on end is nigh terms. End is nigh won.’
Actually that analogy is not good enough because it does not capture the confusion of the normative with the positive.
Read 7 tweets
18 Mar
normative = deciding what you think would be best; positive = working out what is happening and why.
They are two separate social scientific activities. Observing that rates are zero and fiscal policy is pedal to the metal does not mean that policymakers agree with MMT's world view, or their prescriptions. In that sense Kelton is mixing the normative with the positive.
As for the 'there's no such thing as the natural rate' comment. This is very low grade twitter econ stuff. Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. In our best theories of inflation and macro, there is. A non economist with a one line tweet is not going to resolve it.
Read 4 tweets
17 Mar
Book idea: 400 pithy claims about monetary policy and public finance, all wrong, with me writing 'nope' in reply and no further comment.
I think I could pull this off.
'Keep interest rates at zero forever.' Nope.
Read 8 tweets
16 Mar
This piece is a terrific read. But I am not sure that it helps. Unless infotainment helps. Which I suppose it does.
Is it a contribution to get unnamed sources to tell us how they felt? It's a classic ploy of the political correspondent to turn a holding to account exercise into a how did you feel exercise. And a drama composed of 'pivotal moments'. We like reading about pivotal moments.
Some telling moments compressed out of sight. The obvious - understandable - lie that Johnson was fine and working on his in box 'has been put down to a mix up'.
Read 4 tweets
15 Mar
At the root of this are two questions 1) are there different objectives, including different attitude to risks? and or 2) are different bodies making judgements of different quality given the data we have currently?
I don't think you can say that other bodies are above criticism because they might just have different approaches. 2) is a live question, and IMO, given available evidence, there isn't a reasonable alternative objective that would justify the response [to the blood clot issue].
Read 7 tweets
15 Mar
Decision by some govts - eg Irish - to pause Astra Zeneca now, and invoking the 'precautionary principle' seems very odd. And the wrong inference to draw from invoking the precautionary principle.
This is not a vague notion of 'taking precautions' [eg eliminating the risk of health problems or death by blood clots].
The idea is to weigh up the costs of being wrong when you take two competing views and the decisions that flow from them, but you don't know the probabilities attached to each event.
Read 7 tweets