To help think about policy choices more broadly, Richard Meadows asked a few economists about making the minimum wage equivalent to the living wage (not what the living wage proponents are suggesting – but it is something people keep suggesting) and removing Working For Families. The results of his conversations were here.
It was a good article, although I would note that I didn’t intend to come out quite as harshly against a tax-free threshold as I did – conceptually I see issues, but I want to leave my mind open until there is modelling work done to articulate the impacts and any potential trade-offs. I did enjoy seeing the conclusions:
Crampton says he simply can’t say whether it’s better to take money from childless people – both rich and poor – and hand it over to low to middle income parents. Economists can talk about the trade-offs involved and the likely effects of the policy, but moving beyond that becomes a value judgement, he says.
Hazledine is prepared to take a stand. ”I have long believed that excessive population growth is one of the major contributors to the problems of the modern world,” he says. ”So I am opposed to any pro-natalist ‘buying babies’ policies in any country, including our own.”
Nolan has read literature saying we should have higher birth rates – and other material saying just the opposite. ”Ultimately, this is an open question, and one that I don’t think is particularly useful for policy.” Instead, he says the best way to think about it is to consider people’s needs – and the trade-offs from the policies which are trying to address them.
I’ve asked Richard if I could put up the notes I scrapped together when discussing his piece – and he said that is cool. As a result, my views and some of the questions that were asked, can be found below the flap.
This was written as a word document, and I have just pasted it across. It hasn’t been edited into a blog form, hope people can still make use of it. Would be happy to discuss the ideas in the comments, I’m a touch busy so it may take me a while to reply though 🙂
Note: Eric does his write up here!