Friday, October 15, 2010

My old Macro professor goes Medieval on Modern Macro

Larry Meyer:

"There’s also another tradition that began to build up in the late seventies to early eighties—the real business cycle or neoclassical models. It’s what’s taught in graduate schools. It’s the only kind of paper that can be published in journals. It is called “modern macroeconomics.”The question is, what’s it good for? Well, it’s good for getting articles published in journals. It’s a good way to apply very sophisticated computational skills. But the question is, do those models have anything to do with reality? Models are always a caricature—but is this a caricature that’s so silly that you wouldn’t want to get close to it if you were a policymaker?

My views would be considered outrageous in the academic community, but I feel very strongly about them. Those models are a diversion. They haven’t been helpful at all at understanding anything that would be relevant to a monetary policymaker or fiscal policymaker. So we’d better come back to, and begin with as our base, these classic macro-econometric models. We don’t need a revolution. We know the basic stories of optimizing behavior and consumers and businesses that are embedded in these models. We need to go back to the founding fathers, appreciate how smart they were, and build on that."

Full interview is here.

Obviously many Central Bankers disagree with Larry as the Fed and the ECB and the Central Bank of Canada are heavily invested in DSGE modeling.


Anonymous said...

Sargent seems to have the exact opposite opinion. Interesting times in macro land.

eightnine2718281828mu5 said...

We need to go back to the founding fathers, appreciate how smart they were, and build on that

You guys should prepare an 18th century-style federal budget (2-3% of GDP) then run that by the electorate and ask them if they appreciate how smart you are.

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