Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Brouhaha

Some mainstream economics have been pointing out other well-known economists are simply incompetent. Among those doing the pointing are Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong. Robert Waldmann provides some background. (I'm not sure if this is Waldmann.) Mark Thoma comments. I think Uwe Reinhardt's post somehow fits in this grouping. Matthew Yglesias opts for believing the economists being pointed at are deliberately misleading, instead of merely stupid.

I was amused at the ignorance exhibited by a self identifed "UMN Econ Student" in the comments to Waldmann's post:
"The short of it, and this is coming from a Minnesota Econ PhD student, is that we try hard not to bullshit people by hiding our assumptions, no matter how ridiculous you may find them."
A canonical freshwater macroeconomic model is not merely a General Equilibrium model with perfect competition, perfect information, etc. It will also have a single representative agent and, in each period, a single homogeneous produced good that can be used either as a consumption good or as a capital good. What special-case assumptions on technology and preferences would one like to impose in a multi-good multi-agent model such that such a model behaves like a one agent, one good model? Economists have no answer.

The above posts are a selection. It is only in the comments that anybody points out that both saltwater and freshwater economists totally ignore Post Keynesians. I like this comment by A. Senderowicz.

Update: Somehow I missed Daniel's overview. Neil Sinhababu, at Ezra Klein's blog, has noticed this contretemps.

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