若き経済学者のアメリカEconomics ≫ Economics in The Economist

Economics in The Economist

この夏の、Economist誌はいつも以上に読み応えがあったように思う。とくに、economy だけでなく、economics に言及した記事が多かったのがよい。いくつか備忘録的に抜粋しておく。

1.Macroeconomics
(1)7/16号の特集記事 (DSGEモデル批判)
・The past 30 years of macroeconomics training at American and British universities were a “costly waste of time”.

・Mr Krugman feared that most macroeconomics of the past 30 years was “spectacularly useless at best, and positively harmful at worst”.

・[many high-tech economists] accuse economists like Mr DeLong and Mr Krugman of falling back on antiquated Keynesian doctrines―as if nothing had been learned in the past 70 years. Messrs DeLong and Krugman, in turn, accuse economists like Mr Lucas of not falling back on Keynesian economics―as if everything had been forgotten over the past 70 years.

・Mr Buiter, who helped set interest rates at the Bank of England from 1997 to 2000, believes the latest academic theories had a profound influence there. He now thinks this influence was baleful. [He] argues that a training in modern macroeconomics was a “severe handicap” at the onset of the financial crisis, when the central bank had to “switch gears” from preserving price stability to safeguarding financial stability.

・The mainstream macroeconomics embodied in DSGE models was a poor guide to the origins of the financial crisis, and left its followers unprepared for the symptoms.

・The Bank of England’s DSGE model, for example, does not even try to incorporate financial middlemen, such as banks. “The model is not, therefore, directly useful for issues where financial intermediation is of first-order importance,” its designers admit. The present crisis is, unfortunately, one of those issues.

・[But,] because these flaws are obvious, economists are well aware of them. Critics like Mr Buiter are not telling them anything new.

・the benchmark still matters. It formalises economists’ gut instincts about where the best analytical cuts lie. It is the starting point to which the theorist returns after every ingenious excursion. Few economists really believe all its assumptions, but few would rather start anywhere else.

・Unfortunately, it is these primitive models, rather than their sophisticated descendants, that often exert the most influence over the world of policy and practice. This is partly because these first principles endure long enough to find their way from academia into policymaking circles.

・Thanks to the seismic events of the past two years, the prestige of macroeconomists is low, but the potential of their subject is much greater. The furious rows that divide them are a blow to their credibility, but may prove to be a spur to creativity.


(2)8/6号の記事 (上で批判された Lucas の反論)
・I think this caricature is nonsense and of no value in thinking about the larger questions: What can the public reasonably expect of specialists in these areas, and how well has it been served by them in the current crisis?

・One thing we are not going to have, now or ever, is a set of models that forecasts sudden falls in the value of financial assets, like the declines that followed the failure of Lehman Brothers in September. This is nothing new. It has been known for more than 40 years and is one of the main implications of Eugene Fama’s “efficient-market hypothesis” (EMH)

・[The Economist’s] charge is that the Fed’s FRB/US forecasting model failed to predict the events of September 2008. Yet the simulations were not presented as assurance that no crisis would occur, but as a forecast of what could be expected conditional on a crisis not occurring.

・Both Mr Bernanke and Mr Mishkin are in the mainstream of what one critic cited in The Economist’s briefing calls a “Dark Age of macroeconomics”. They are exponents and creative builders of dynamic models and have taught these “spectacularly useless” tools, directly and through textbooks that have become industry standards, to generations of students. Over the past two years they (and many other accomplished macroeconomists) have been centrally involved in responding to the most difficult American economic crisis since the 1930s.


(3)関連リンク (Acemoglu のメモ)
"The Crisis of 2008: Structural Lessons for and from Economics"


(4)追加:関連リンク (Krugman のコラム)
9/2 NY Times "How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?"

2009/08/31(月) | Economics | トラックバック(0) | コメント(0)

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