My former colleague Christopher Taylor, who has died aged 79, was a fine applied economist who served the Bank of England for 20 years. Although by training and instinct a Keynesian, sceptical of the claims of monetary control as a panacea, he was judicious in analysing the strengths and weaknesses of any argument. He saw inflation-targeting as a sensible goal of monetary policy but believed fiscal policy was the key to achieving an optimal balance of inflation and output.
Chris was recruited to the Bank of England in 1974 by Christopher Dow. He spent eight years as head of the economics division, after a couple of years in Washington as the UK’s alternate executive director of the IMF.
Later, as chief adviser in the European division, he explored the ramifications of European monetary integration, work he continued after retiring from the Bank in 1995, first at Chatham House and then at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. He published several articles and books on the subject.
Chris was born in Mold, North Wales, to Doris (nee Bell) and John Taylor, a clerk. They spent the second world war years in Manchester, after which the impoverished family moved to Sheffield, where Chris won a scholarship to High Storrs grammar school for boys, becoming head boy, cricket captain and an exhibitioner at King’s College, Cambridge.
His experience led him to be a firm believer in state action. After graduating with an economics degree in 1960, he spent five years in Montreal, obtaining an MA with distinction at McGill University while working as an economic researcher with Canadian Pacific Railway. There he met Rosemary Peel, a doctor; they married and returned to Cambridge in 1964 when he was offered a job at the department of applied economics, of which he later became deputy director.
He also lectured in macroeconomics at the Judge Business School in Cambridge, and contributed substantially to a project to put an economics course online. His last book was as editor (with Graham Hacche) of Dow’s memoir, Inside the Bank of England, 2013.
Rosemary died in 1995 of colon cancer. Soon afterwards Chris met Leslie Turano, then a fellow in Spanish at New College, Oxford, who was embarking on a new career as a lawyer. They married in 1999.
His other major activity was conserving medieval buildings – he had moved a derelict barn to an Essex village and restored it as a prospective retirement home with Rosemary. Later he and Leslie bought and restored a guildhall in a village near Cambridge. Finally, he commissioned a beautiful modern house in the grounds of the guildhall, in the face of fierce local opposition.
He is survived by Leslie, his children from his first marriage, Penny and Jonathan, and his twin grandchildren, Charlie and Ethan.