Friday, July 12, 2013

Quote of the Day: Quackroeconomics

In discussions of macroeconomic policy in Washington and in the press, these four propositions are taken as given:

(S) Spending is what drives the economy. Spending creates jobs, and jobs create spending. When unemployment is high, the problem is too little spending.

(M) Monetary policy must steer the economy carefully between overheating and slumping. Doing so requires high levels of skill and intellectual resources.

(F) Fiscal policy is just as important. When there is unemployment, monetary policy cannot do the job alone, because the Federal Reserve also has to keep an eye on inflation. So the Federal government must engage in deficit spending to stimulate the economy.

(C) Computer models are essential tools that enable economists to forecast the economy and assess the impact of alternative economic policies. Using computer models, the Congressional Budget Office is able to score the number of jobs a particular policy will add to or subtract from the economy.

These four propositions are what I term quack macroeconomics, or quackroeconomics for short. Like quack medicine, quackroeconomics is unproven, unreliable, inconsistent with the views of leading researchers in the field, and possibly dangerous.
This is from economic blogger and author Arnold Kling at his blog

I would add to quackroeconomics the mistake of rigidly interpreting statistical (historical-empirical) data as economic analysis.

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