Thursday, June 10, 2010

Brief hiatus and a link

I'll be moving this weekend, unpacking, and won't have internet for a little while after that. Next week I might bang out a quick post at work, but probably sparse posting for a little while.

I wanted to share this post, recommended by waterzooi. I had seen this when it was posted, but haven't gotten to read through it yet. It's on the problems with New Keynesian theory. There has been a lot of deep thinking about the state of macro theory lately from Mark Thoma, Nick Rowe, Scott Sumner, Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, etc. - all the usual suspects. It's much like the exchanges that went on when Krugman's "Dark Age of Macroeconomics" piece came out, although I think the recent debate has been even more interesting and in depth.

I was reflecting on this debate the other day - and how wonderful the internet is. It gives us the chance to peek in on debates between these great minds in real time, and even add our own two cents. Not that long ago, I think that was fairly rare. I recall a time as an undergraduate when I sat in on a faculty lunch forum at William and Mary. Usually undergraduates didn't come to those, and since William and Mary doesn't have a graduate econ program it was mostly faculty. Anyway, my econometrics professor (David Jaeger) was presenting and he suggested that anyone interested in the class should go, so I showed up. I had never been to a faculty discussion like this (or a professional conference) before, and I was amazed at what went on. My advisor (Will Hausman) tore into Prof. Jaeger in the Q&A period. I'm not sure if it's like this in other disciplines, but anyone familiar with economics that has been to a brownbag or a conference is familiar with this - the questioning can be brutal. Prof. Hausman was relentless and kept hammering his point. My advisor vs. my professor. It was pretty cool. And afterwards, of course, they were perfectly amicable.

That kind of reasoned criticism can be rare in the "real world". I notice even when I critique Prof. Roberts and Prof. Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek, commenters who normally leave bland shout-outs and libertarian cliches are a little surprised by it. The blogosphere calls it "trolling", but the sharp critical exchange is natural in academic economics discussions.

Anyway, my point is the blogs of prominent economists allow everyone to see this sort of back-and-forth unfolding. People should take advantage of that. It's very important and enlightening. Some of them even have useful comment sections - I especially recommend the Coordination Problem, Money Illusion, Brad DeLong, and the ThinkMarkets blog's comment section for good informative comments too (Paul Krugman's blog, by virtue of the venue I think, doesn't have as useful a comment section).

So enjoy - keep up with that macro debate, and I'll see you in a little while.


  1. btw -
    When you're on the receiving end of this criticism it's always nice to remember that everyone gets it. So you don't take it personally and you learn from the comments... OR you decide that you're commenter is the wrong one and you ignore them. Either way - the conflict is productive.

  2. Enjoy your move (if such a thing is possible).


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