Jan Vlieghe - A Young Economists' Dinner Discussion
Held on Thursday, February 22
With support from Ruffer & Co
Gertjan Vlieghe (Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee)
The latest dinner guest for our Young Economists’* group is a distinct change of pace. In the past, we have had politicians (Nigel Farage, Michael Fallon), entrepreneurs (Luke Johnson, Jon Moulton), regulators (Jon Cunliffe, Rachel Lomax) – even sociologists (David Goodhart). But we have been surprisingly low on macroeconomists. Yes, we had Charles Goodhart and John Kay – though John focused on pricing issues around the Edinburgh tram system. But neither was, at the time, in a position to affect UK interest rates.
Jan Vlieghe very definitely is.
As a member of the nine-member MPC since 2015 (his term expires this August), he was for a long time one of the more dovish members, only voting for a rate rise last November. Since then, he has (I think) taken the line that, notwithstanding legitimate fears about “Brexit”, the UK economy is actually doing pretty well – economic slack is falling sharply, employment growth is putting pressure on wages, and consumption is holding up. On top of this, global growth is improving – and global interest rates are starting to notch up (though that may reflect perceptions of increased risk as much as higher growth).
Jan’s resume is fascinating. A UK-Belgian dual national, he got his doctorate from LSE in 2005 (on credit market imperfections), went down the street to the Bank where he became economic assistant to the Governor (at that time, Mervyn King), left to get real-world experience at Deutsche Bank and ended up as a partner at Brevan Howard – which at the time was one of the larger macro hedge funds in the world. The mix of heavy-duty macroeconomics and real-world experience as a hedgie has made him one of the most influential external members of the MPC in recent years.
Despite the fact that I will clearly be out of my depth, I will do my best to keep the discussion flowing - and (thanks to the generosity of our friends at Ruffer) the wine and hospitality will flow too. Plus, I am sure we will all learn something about monetary policy, interest rates, Europe, whatever…If you (or a colleague) would like to join us for what will certainly be a lively and stimulating evening, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the Centre on 0207 621 1056. Since we only have around two dozen places, an early response would be appreciated.
*The normal age limit is 40, but we are flexible. We also define ‘economist’ rather broadly. If you are interested in economics, you are an economist.