A link to the soon-to-be classic essay (free registration required). this sentence is a manifesto for working macroeconomists:
I have contributed no earth-shaking ideas to Economics and work fundamentally as a worker bee chipping away with known tools at portions of larger problems. It is precisely from this low-level vantage point that I am totally puzzled by the willingness of many who fearlessly and breathlessly opine about economics, especially macro-economic policy.
The Lucas’ Critique makes everything hard:
What makes macroeconomics very complicated is that economic actors... act.
And … what can you get from, say, Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann?
Can they [non-economist pundits] provide you, the reader, with an internally consistent analysis of a dynamic system subject to random shocks populated by thoughtful actors whose collective actions must be rendered feasible? For many questions, I and my colleagues can, and for those that the profession cannot, the blogging crowd probably can’t either.
Perhaps Obama could learn a thing or two from economists:
I live in a world where people are not falling over themselves to believe my assertions …
… A review of most accounts held by Bernard L. Madoff’s customers when he was arrested shows that about half of the customers had not lost money because they withdrew more money than they originally invested.
All of these people partnered in a criminal enterprise, and yet:
Prosecutors made the revelation as they told a judge in court papers that there was no need to order restitution …
Further, in any Ponzi scheme, the chances of profiting are higher when you get in earlier. Now … go out and look at all the “victims lists” you’ve seen published. Go ahead … here’s one, and another, and there’s even a mashup map.
Not one of these sources – which include rather detailed information including names, how much was “lost”, and sometimes even juicy personal details – lists when these people started investing with Madoff. This is a critical piece of information that is probably easier to get than some of the other ones, and it is unreported.
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