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Jeff Frankel: "On Whose Research is the Case for Austerity Mistakenly Based?"

Several of my colleagues on the Harvard faculty have recently been casualties in the cross-fire between fiscal austerians and stimulators.   Economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff have received an unbelievable amount of press attention, ever since they were discovered by three researchers at the University of Massachusetts to have made a spreadsheet error in the first of two papers that examined the statistical relationship between debt and growth.   They quickly conceded their mistake.

Then historian Niall Ferguson, also of Harvard, received much flack when — asked to comment on Keynes’ famous phrase  ”In the long run we are all dead” — he “suggested that Keynes was perhaps indifferent to the long run because he had no children, and that he had no children because he was gay.”  

There is more to be said about each of the two cases.  (i) Reinhart and Rogoff’s 2010 estimates had already been superseded by a subsequent 2012 paper of theirs written along with Carmen’s husband, Vincent, which used a more extensive data set where the error does not appear.  (ii) The debt-growth causality is debated.  (iii) “Some of Ferguson’s best friends are gay.”   (iv) Keynes was actually bi-sexual.  (v) He tried to have children.  And so forth.  Most of this has already been said many times by now.  Apparently people are even more fascinated by Harvard than they are about macroeconomic theory.

But what does it all have to do with the debate between austerians and stimulators?  

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A (Chronological) Reading List on the Discussions about the Accuracy of Reinhart-Rogoff (2010) Results

Below, you will find a selected list of the (online) contributions, comments or news about the recently discovered errors in the influential Reinhart-Rogoff (2010) study. The links are grouped in four parts:

 

(1) MAJOR REINHART-ROGOFF STUDIES ON DEBT AND GROWTH:

Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff (2009.11.01): This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff (2010.01): “Growth in a Time of Debt“

Aykut Kibritçioğlu's insight:

"Borç-büyüme" ilişkisi hakkındaki Reinhart-Rogoff (2010) çalışmasının bulgularındaki hesaplama hatası olup olmadığına ilişkin olarak 15 Nisan 2013'ten bu yana yoğunlaşan tartışmalarla ilgili kronolojik bir okuma listesi:http://kibritcioglu.com/iktisat/blog/?p=2984

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Krugman: "Plain ordinary macro has worked fine"

Krugman: "Plain ordinary macro has worked fine" | "EE" | Economics & Economists - İktisat & İktisatçılar | Scoop.it

Still thinking my way through the Reinhart-Rogoff debacle and related issues, and I think there’s an important point to be made here about the state of macroeconomics.

 

You can already see quite a few people reacting to this affair by declaring that macro is humbug, we don’t know anything, and we should just ignore economists’ pronouncements. Some of the people saying this are economists themselves!

 

But the truth is that basic macroeconomics — IS-LM type macro, the stuff that’s in Econ 101 textbooks — has performed spectacularly well in the crisis.

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Aykut Kibritçioğlu's comment, April 26, 2013 2:52 AM
Bu yazısında, Paul Krugman; (1) Reinhart & Rogoff veya Alesina & Ardagna türü yaklaşımların ve (2) krizi aşmada onların bulgu ve politika önerilerine dayanarak "kemer sıktıran" (austerity) politikacıların sonradan iktisat(çılar) için yarattığı prestij kaybını çok iyi özetlemiş.