"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK
- Brad DeLong on examples of good and bad form when commenting on the work of other economists. He also highlights two contributions of Hayek that he (in this case, allowing Keynes and Samuelson to speak for him) has always found value in (which should be nice for you guys chafing from the recent reemergence of Corey Robin)
- Bob Murphy poses a good question about the liquidity trap that relates to my post the other day. He's wondering at exactly what maturity the liquidity trap is relevant. I think they all are, the shorter maturities are obviously the most relevant because they're closer to cash. But as J.P. Koning likes to point out what we're really talking about is "moneyness" - which is a set of qualities and not necessarily an either/or. Bob does ask an odd question at the end ("then why can't we work through long maturities?"). I would have thought the answer through the whole crisis has been "we can". There are qualifiers, of course. The Fed has much firmer control over shorter maturities, for example. Long term interest rates are just expected values of short-term interest rates which means the Fed is working on expectations which may or may not be easy to do (particularly when it's spent two decades anchoring expectations). That's why the first resort is the shorter maturities, but I think most Keynesians have been pretty enthusiastic about trying the unconventional stuff.
- If you're curious about how Krugman approaches his work, this is an interesting post.
- Cowen on the Navigation Acts. He notes that the concentrated costs of the Acts are what really drove American opposition. I'd also add that its the principle of taxation without representation. You don't have to be particularly oppressed to be pissed off that you don't have a say in things.
- Gene Callahan seems to think that "history" amounts to looking at anything that happened in the past... which means basically any time we do anything we're doing "history". I don't agree. I think he just wants Noah Smith to be wrong and is floundering through whatever bad reasons he can grab to argue that. Look, if you're trying to nail down a causal mechanism you have to parse cause out from correlation. Methods specifically designed for that task are going to be better at accomplishing that task than just thinking deeply about observational evidence which is what Noah was talking about. Sorry. Plenty of excellent history uses scientific methods, by the way. Noah's position, and I would agree, is that that analysis is better at identifying causal relations than other types of history (what you might call narrative history). That's a ranking on the specific tasks of science. Narrative history is ranked more highly than experiment in other respects, of course.
Procrastinating on December 7, 2016
7 minutes ago