Former MPC member Danny Blanchflower to weigh Scottish independence currency and central bank questions as he joins University of Glasgow

ECONOMIST and former Monetary Policy Committee member Danny Blanchflower has highlighted his intention to examine key issues in the Scottish independence debate, such as currency options, as he takes up a role at the University of Glasgow.

Mr Blanchflower, who will continue in his post at Dartmouth College in the US and visit Scotland regularly in his new role, said he was “excited” at the prospect of working with University of Glasgow principal Sir Anton Muscatelli.

The economist, formerly a visiting professor at the University of Stirling, said he would be looking at issues around independence such as what would be involved in creating a central bank and currency options. He cited options of joining the euro, retaining the pound, or forming a currency area union with the likes of Sweden and Iceland. Mr Blanchflower, who has three grandchildren in Scotland, said: “Whichever side you are on, you have to have an answer to that.”

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He also flagged the need to “make economics understandable and adaptable”. Mr Blanchflower, who is joining the economics department at the university’s Adam Smith Business School, said: “I am literally going to come to think about Scotland.”

Noting the Scottish Government’s relatively high popularity with the electorate and its decisions to make period products free and offer free university tuition for Scots, while also touching on the nation’s support for European Union membership, he added: “I think suddenly the attractiveness of Scotland has really jumped.”

Sir Anton said: “Danny comes with an unparalleled reputation and track record, and will be a fantastic addition. As we look to the post-Covid economic recovery, it has never been more important to have well-informed economic commentary and I’m very pleased that we will benefit from Professor Blanchflower’s expertise.”

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Sara Carter, vice-principal and head of the university’s college of social sciences, said: “The Adam Smith Business School is delighted to welcome Professor Danny Blanchflower as a visiting professor. Danny is internationally renowned for his expertise in economic policy and will bring that experience to the University of Glasgow.”

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The University of Glasgow said Mr Blanchflower is “renowned for his expertise in labour economics where he has made long lasting contributions in the understanding of unemployment, wages, jobs, health and happiness and pushing the boundaries of several disciplines”.

It noted that Mr Blanchflower, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, had been made a Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s birthday honours list in June 2009, for “services to the Monetary Policy Committee and economics”.

Mr Blanchflower said: “I am very much looking forward to joining the economics department at the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow. These are crucial days to understand how the UK and especially the Scottish economy is going to recover from the pandemic and its associated economic slowdown.”  

The University of Glasgow said Mr Blanchflower would “work closely with the school in a range of ways contributing to learning and teaching in the areas of central banking, productivity and wellbeing, and collaborating with academics and research students in applied research and policy-related economics projects”.

John Finch, head of the Adam Smith Business School said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Blanchflower and welcome him to the Adam Smith Business School.”

He added that Mr Blanchflower “brings to the school a wealth of expertise in contributing to economic policy and to raising the public profile of economics in research and policy communities in Scotland, the UK and internationally.”

Mr Finch added: “We very much look forward to his contribution and working with and learning from him.”

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