Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kartik Athrey on Macroeconomics

He writes

Comparing, even momentarily, [work in professional economics journals] with its explicit, careful reasoning, its ever-mindful approach to the accounting for feedback effects, and its transparent reproducibility, with the sophomoric musings of auto-didact or non-didact bloggers or writers is instructive. For those who want to really know what the best that economics has to offer is, you must look here. And this will be hard.

He's surely right that there is a lot of trash on the Internet. I don't watch CNN or MSNBC because you're not going to learn shit from that kind of news.

But he's biased by the type of macro he learned--this comes out clearest when he compares recessions to earthquakes as if they both are natural disasters. He puts an excessive emphasis on mathematical clarity, as if passing Tyler Cowen's "notecard test" is irrelevant. (The notecard test is that you should be able to articulate your argument in the space of a notecard your grandmother would understand. Or you argument isn't clear.)

Also, from what I've read DeLong is the leader in hammering bloggers, journalists and even economists for not having a clear model behind their claims.

I think he's also mistaken that people don't pretend to be experts on other issues in the news. Last May everyone in the news became an expert overnight on deep-sea oil drilling and marine ecology.

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