Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Matters is What Works

Here's in an excerpt of a spot-on column by John Kay in the Financial Times:

"Since the 1970s economists have been engaged in a grand project. The project’s objective is that macroeconomics should have microeconomic foundations. In everyday language, that means that what we say about big policy issues – growth and inflation, boom and bust – should be grounded in the study of individual behaviour. Put like that, the project sounds obviously desirable, even essential.

Most economists would claim that the project has been a success. But the criteria are the self-referential criteria of modern academic life. The greatest compliment you can now pay an economic argument is to say it is rigorous. Today’s macroeconomic models are certainly that.

But policymakers and the public at large are, rightly, not interested in whether models are rigorous. They are interested in whether the models are useful and illuminating – and these rigorous models do not score well here."

The message could not be clearer: if you cannot illuminate, keep your schizophrenia to your silo!

2 comments:

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Here we seem to be stuck with idiots who don't want to implement policies that have a track record of producing positive outcomes because they are wondering whether these policies work in theory.

Samad Ramoly said...

Worse, they are applying one-size-fits-all drivel of the WB/IMF!