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17 сентября, 20:21

“Profits above morals and humanity”

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from David Ruccio Back in June, Kim Hemphill, in her letter to the editor of the Washington Post, challenged pharmaceutical industry claims that it must charge high prices on lifesaving drugs to recover research and development costs. The case detailed in the June 11 Business article “Max’s best hope costs $750,000” was yet another example of how the […]

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16 сентября, 20:09

Where modern macroeconomics went wrong

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from Lars Syll DSGE models seem to take it as a religious tenet that consumption should be explained by a model of a representative agent maximizing his utility over an infinite lifetime without borrowing constraints. Doing so is called micro-foundingthe model. But economics is a behavioral science. If Keynes was right that individuals saved a constant […]

16 сентября, 02:47

Adults in the room: The sordid tale of Greece’s battle against austerity and the Troika

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from Dean Baker Yanis Varoufakis begins his account of his half year as Greece’s finance minister in the left populist Syriza government (Adults in the Room, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) with a description of a meeting with Larry Summers. According to Varoufakis, Summers explains that there are two types of politicians. There are those who […]

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15 сентября, 02:28

How do you like them facts?

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from David Ruccio Apologists for mainstream economics (such as Noah Smith) like to claim that things are OK because good empirical research is crowding out bad theory.  I have no doubt about the fact that the theory of mainstream economics has been bad. But is the empirical research any better? Not, as I see it, in […]

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14 сентября, 13:46

Rethinking expectations

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from Lars Syll The tiny little problem that there is no hard empirical evidence that verifies rational expectations models doesn’t usually bother its protagonists too much. Rational expectations überpriest Thomas Sargent has defended the epistemological status of the rational expectations hypothesis arguing that since it “focuses on outcomes and does not pretend to have behavioral content,” it has […]

14 сентября, 12:00

Welfare for Wall Street: fees on retirement accounts

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from Dean Baker Most of us are willing to help out those who are less well off. Whether it comes from religious belief or a sense of basic decency we feel are an obligation to provide the basic necessities of life for the poor. But how would we feel about being taxed $1,000 a year […]

13 сентября, 17:08

Economics and the new history of capitalism

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from David Ruccio As I tell my students, nothing gets a mainstream economist frothing at the mouth quite like mentioning Karl Polanyi. Or at least it used to, when mainstream economists actually knew who Polanyi was and grasped—however dismissively—what he wrote about the history of capitalism. To his credit, Eric Hilt (pdf) appears to know something about […]

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13 сентября, 15:00

Going rogue: economic practice and hitting the orthodox wall

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from Andrew Vonnegut and WEA Commentaries My work over almost 20 years would have pegged me as a pretty mainstream economist. I worked in company and market due diligence and risk analysis in emerging markets finance, then for two large international consulting firms in emerging markets policy advisory. A regular, mainstream, practicing economist. Then I returned to the […]

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12 сентября, 18:45

What makes economics a science?

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from Lars Syll Well, if we are to believe most mainstream economists, models are what make economics a science. In a recent Journal of Economic Literature(1/2017) review of Dani Rodrik’s Economics Rules, renowned game theorist Ariel Rubinstein discusses Rodrik’s justifications for the view that “models make economics a science.” Although Rubinstein has some doubts about those justifications — models […]

11 сентября, 19:25

Who’s working for Facebook?

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from David Ruccio There are plenty of reasons to be interested in—and, even more, concerned about—Facebook. Many of them are raised in the recent review of Facebook-related books by John Lanchester [ht: db]: the fragmentation of the polity (via the targeting of posts), the dissemination of “fake news” (which played an important role in the 2016 U.S. […]

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10 сентября, 02:38

Time for critics of economics critics to move on!

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from David Orrell and WEA Commentaries There is a growing trend for economists to write articles criticising the critics of economics. These articles follow a similar pattern. They start by saying that the criticisms are “both repetitive and increasingly misdirected” as economist Diane Coyle wrote, and might complain that they don’t want to hear one more time Queen Elizabeth’s question, on a […]

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09 сентября, 23:40

Modern society

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from Lars Syll