Wednesday, February 02, 2011


It's always a delight to see a good slapping handed out to the deserving in the letters pages of our newspapers. Here then, for your amusement, is a letter from Professor Neil Kay, in connection with recent nonsense-mongering over any proposed tax powers which don't concur with the conculsions of the Calman Omission:

I WAS interested in the arguments by six economists led by Professor Anton Muscatelli Principal of Glasgow University (Perspective, 31 January) apparently challenging the argument by Professors Scott and Hughes Hallett that fiscal autonomy would lead to economic growth.

In 2005, I was signatory to an open letter from 13 economists titled "Increased Fiscal Power Essential", it argued that "Increased fiscal responsibility is essential for the prudent management of Scottish government spending and, ultimately, of the Scottish economy …Scottish politicians under the current regime have no incentive to improve Scotland's economic growth … for a small open economy on the periphery of Europe, an ability to alter the incentive structure is crucial".

One of the co-signatories to that letter was Prof Muscatelli, then Professor of Economics at Glasgow University.

I have to confess that I find it difficult to find much difference between the sentiments of Muscatelli (2005) and Hughes Hallett and Scott (2011), and it is not clear to me what of substance has happened in the last six years for Muscatelli (2011) to apparently reject or forget the arguments of Muscatelli (2005).


Economics Department University of Strathclyde


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