Tag Archives: Paul Krugman

Temporary and Permanent Ricardian Confusion: Going Comfortably Numb

Spurred by the heated debates about the need for fiscal stimulus in the US, the issue of Ricardian Equivalence has taken center stage in the economic blogging sphere recently. While it is an impossible task to identify any exact line of events on the net (and possible also irrelevant), this round appears to have been initiated by an article by Justin Yifu Lin (pdf), Chief Economist of the World Bank, who got criticized here by a balanced Antonio Fatás. Fatás notes, among other things, that Lin’s fears that fiscal stimulus could be caught by the “Ricardian trap” (i.e., neutralized by offsetting increased private savings) are unwarranted. While Lin’s endorsement of … Continue reading

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The Importance of Capital Theory? Supply-side Economics With a Vengeance

From Brad DeLong’s weblog (where it came from Mark Toma), I was directed back to Paul Krugman’s NYT blog, where he comments on a 2008 blog post by Robert P. Murphy on the Austrian capital theory. I am not an expert on Austrian economics, so it is interesting to read a piece by one I guess is a prominent figure within that school. My guess is based on visiting the web-site mises.org, where one sees that Murphy is/or has been teaching at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and I reckon they wouldn’t let him do that, if he wasn’t somewhat representative of the Austrian school. Also, on his own blog, … Continue reading

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The Fiscal Multiplier Wrestling Marathon

Welcome to the academic wrestling match of the recent years. In the left corner, Paul Krugman (with assistance from Bradford DeLong)! In the right corner, John Cochrane (with assistance from Eugene Fama)! They will fight over the size of the Fiscal Multiplier in a match where any trick may, can, and will be used. Both are heavyweights in the economics profession with one of them even with a Nobel Prize to his credit! This is a match not to miss. Well, this is actually not funny at all. But one of the most important questions in macroeconomics, how effective is expansionary fiscal policy in a recession, have recently been subject … Continue reading

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The Inflation Fallacy and central banking debates in the US

Among my favorite contemporary academic economists is N. Gregory Mankiw. I have always found his academic writings very lucid and to the point. I was once again reminded of this today, when I stumbled over some debates about abolishing the Federal Reserve System. Opponents of central banking, mostly self-proclaimed followers of the “Austrian school”, view central banks as monopoly powers that undermine free markets and are inherently inflationary – implying a government-supported devaluation of the population’s wealth. In the United States, these opponents are having golden days, as they can blame the Fed for having not only caused the financial crisis, but also for engaging in irresponsible quantitative easing that … Continue reading

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Dead economists can’t analyze the present

Of course they can’t. Yet, many pick up some dead economist and speculate what he or she would have thought about some current economic incident or policy. For example, even though a whole industry is still devoted to try figuring out what Keynes actually meant when he wrote The General Theory three quarters of a century ago, many discuss Keynes’ “advice” for policy in the present times of economic slump. While interesting from the perspective of the History of Economic Thought, it sometimes seem as a lot of wasted intellectual resources. Never mind about what Keynes would or would not have thought. Read him and learn, but don’t bestow him … Continue reading

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Krugman on Friedman in 2007

I recently stumbled over Paul Krugman’s 2007 article “Who was Milton Friedman?” from the New York Review of Books. In his otherwise very appreciative and balanced biography (not according to all), Krugman writes the following when commenting on Friedman the-free-market-advocate-rather-than-academic-economist: “What’s odd about Friedman’s absolutism on the virtues of markets and the vices of government is that in his work as an economist’s economist he was actually a model of restraint. As I pointed out earlier, he made great contributions to economic theory by emphasizing the role of individual rationality—but unlike some of his colleagues, he knew where to stop. Why didn’t he exhibit the same restraint in his role … Continue reading

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