Monday, July 29, 2013

Robert Lucas never fails to impress me

Part of that is because he has a bad rep so that I am pleasantly surprised, and maybe part of that bad rep is deserved. But he is a deeply insightful guy that catches things that a lot of other people miss.

That's all.


  1. Let me take a guess as to what inspired this brief post, Daniel Kuehn...

    Was it one of Robert Lucas's scholarly articles on economic growth or economic history?

  2. Yes, do tell what triggered this...

    1. Lucas and Rapping, 1969. They have a great discussion of the difference between unemployment as we measure it and what economic theory discusses. I'm writing something up right now on how most economists and really anyone with any level of training in economics often get a little fuzzy on this distinction and make the mistake of assuming that theory maps on exactly to what we're measuring and what we care about.

      The problem in writing out my hook, though, is that of course nobody comes out and explains to you that their casual view of things is a little naive on this point. Lucas and Rapping just provide similar suspicions that a lot of people make this mistake... not exactly what I'm looking for but good enough for my purposes in writing up this hook.

    2. The way people deal with Lucas often bothers me (I'm very much a Noah Smithian on this point...). People often focus on his Phillips Curve model and how many bad assumptions it makes, how it's not right, etc. etc.

      To me that misses the whole point. Sure people said what he said about modeling before he said it, but Lucas was the one that made it stick and turned around the whole way we do macro.

      He's not always right, but I don't think you can walk away from reading him without a sense that he thinks very deeply on whatever he writes about.


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