Category Archives: Economists

New-Keynesian explosions: The Cochrane interpretation and explosive solution

John Cochrane has some interesting comments on New Keynesian economics in his latest blog post on “New Keynesian Stimulus“. The interesting is not the part of the blog-literature to which it also contributes; the part about mudslinging in fiscal stimulus discussions, about which prominent economist got basic theory wrong, about who is acting most disrespectful and whatnot. I.e., the extremely counterproductive style of “debate” that was basically initiated by he-who-shall-go-unmentioned for once. I normally find that Cochrane behaves quite academic and adhere to scientific arguments (which is not entirely unfair given that he is a professor of economics), but even he has to defend himself every once in a while, … Continue reading

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The Krugman Multiplier is too big

Paul Krugman is a very active blogger. Almost every time he writes a post on his New York Times blog, there are several comments made around the economic blogosphere. And sometimes Krugman will respond to a few of the comments made, and then it sets off further comments, and so on. It is a Krugman Blog Multiplier. I posit that it needs no formal empirical evidence to establish that it is way above 1. Way above. In this New Year’s post I’ll show a recent example, and argue why this multiplier is too high, and why one should not always “exploit” large multipliers. Probably one of the issues on which … Continue reading

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Draghi says Hello and cuts the ECB interest rate

Today, new ECB president Mario Draghi led the Governing Council of the ECB in its meeting on monetary policy decisions. It turned out to be an interest cut, as the interest rate on main refinancing operations was decreased from 1.5% to 1.25%. The move was mainly motivated on falling inflation expectations and an expectation of dampened economic activity (with emphasis on downside risks). As such this is a move that is consistent with inflation targeting, and it appears that the ECB under Drahgi will continue the practice to let interest-rate decisions be guided by short-run developments in real economic activity, while securing that inflation expectations are held in check. Hence, … Continue reading

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Trichet says Goodbye and SMP peaks at 173 bn. €

Today marks the last day of Jean-Claude Trichet’s tenure as president of the European Central Bank. Bild am Sonntag interviews him on the occasion. In terms of being the main person responsible for the ECB’s mandate of price stability, he has been a success. The inflation measure used by the ECB has moved quite closely around the value which after some introductory opaqueness is stated as close to, but not above, 2%. Surely, during the peaks of the financial crises there were upward and downward swings, but on average you would not call Trichet a man that leaves a bank with little anti-inflation credibility. What he does leave is a … Continue reading

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Don’t Fence Me In: Sargent rejects slogans

This is just a heads up for a recent interview with the new Nobel Laureate Thomas Sargent. In the New York Times article, “The Slogans Stop Here“, he explains the futility of trying to label economists as belonging to various theoretical or political “camps”. It is a great read, and I can’t help emphasizing the following: “If you go to seminars with guys who are actually doing the work and are trying to figure things out, it’s not ideological,” he said. “Half the people in the room may be Democrats and half may be Republicans. It just doesn’t matter.” These are simple, but great words. In my part of the … Continue reading

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Sargent and Sims (2011)

Today, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (yes, this is the long and formal title for the Nobel in economics), was awarded to Thomas J. Sargent and Christopher A. Sims. The following caption summarizes the motivation: “for their empirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy” The longer motivation, and survey of the recipients’ academic contributions, can be found here (pdf 600 Kb). As a macroeconomist, I can only support this choice. These are definitely two of the profession’s “grand old men”, and it is difficult to write a modern paper without citing either of them, or both. Their influence in theoretical and … Continue reading

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Come on Baby, Let’s Do the Twist!

After yesterday’s press release by the Fed, many commentators started talking about “Operation Twist” even though no such thing is mentioned in the release. Accompanying the press release on the Federal Reserve site, was, however, a document containing the term in parenthesis. Some could immediately be confused or even scared by this. Would this be yet an addition to the endless series of acronyms that has emerged during the financial crisis? Troubled and Worthless Interest-bearing Securities Task-force? Luckily not. It just reflects a return to the old days. And “twist” actually means what it says: “twist.”  In 1961, the Kennedy administration and the Fed engaged in an operation of selling … Continue reading

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ECB buys public debt again: Otmar Issing voices strong critique

In a rare Sunday press release (August 7) , the President of the ECB, Jean-Claude Trichet (on behalf of the Governing Council), hailed the fiscal and structural measures of Spain and Italy and their commitments—along with other member countries—to strictly adhere to “fiscal targets”. Then he emphasized that countries are sovereign states that themselves should honor their own “signature as a key element in ensuring financial stability in the euro area as a whole“. (Oh, and he supports the joint statement of the same day by France and Germany, which is not surprising given the occasional word-by-word similarities.) Then he concludes that the Securities Markets Programme (SMP) will be activated. … Continue reading

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