Robert Solow s sarkazmom nad Lucasa

Robert Solow (MIT) je leta 1978 na akademski konferenci Fed v Bostonu s sarkazmom poskušal ustaviti Roberta Lucasa pri uveljavljanju racionalnih pričakovanj v ekonomske modele:

Suppose someone sits down where you are sitting right now and announces to me that he is Napoleon Bonaparte. The last thing I want to do with him is to get involved in a technical discussion of cavalry tactics at the Battle of Austerlitz. If I do that, I’m getting tacitly drawn into the game that he is Napoleon Bonaparte. Now, Bob Lucas and Tom Sargent like nothing better than to get drawn into technical discussions, because then you have tacitly gone along with their fundamental assumptions; your attention is attracted away from the basic weakness of the whole story. Since I find that fundamental framework ludicrous, I respond by treating it as ludicrous–that is, by laughing at it–so as not to fall into the trap of taking it seriously and passing on to matters of technique…

Vir: Brad DeLong

No, pri tem morate seveda vedeti, da sta na tej isti akademski konferenci Robert Lucas in Thomas Sargent prd tem predstavila paper After Keynesian Macroeconomics, v katerem sta precej ostro za akademske standarde napadla keynesianske makro modele, na kar se je odzval Solow:

One possible response is that of Professors Lucas and Sargent. They describe what happened in the 1970s in a very strong way with a polemical vocabulary reminiscent of Spiro Agnew. Let me quote some phrases that I culled from their paper: “wildly incorrect,” “fundamentally flawed,” “wreckage,” “failure,” “fatal,” “of no value,” “dire implications,” “failure on a grand scale,” “spectacular recent failure,” “no hope.” Now if they were doing that just to attract attention, for effect, so that people don’t say “yes, dear, yes, dear,” then I would really be on their side.

Every orthodoxy, including my own, needs to have a kick in the pants frequently, to prevent it from getting self-indulgent, and applying very lax standards to itself. But I think that Professors Lucas and Sargent really seem to be serious in what they say, and in turn they have a proposal for constructive research that I find hard to talk about sympathetically. They call it equilibrium business cycle theory, and they say very firmly that it is based on two terribly important postulates – optimizing behavior and perpetual market clearing. When you read closely, they seem to regard the postulate of optimizing behavior as self-evident and the postulate of market-clearing behavior as essentially meaningless. I think they are too optimistic, since the one that they think is self-evident I regard as meaningless and the one that they think is meaningless, I regard as false. The assumption that everyone optimizes implies only weak and uninteresting consistency conditions on their behavior. Anything useful has to come from knowing what they optimize, and what constraints they perceive. Lucas and Sargent’s casual assumptions have no special claim to attention. Even apart from all that, I share Franco Modigliani’s view that the alarmism, the very strong language that I read to you, simply doesn’t square with what in fact actually happened. If you give grades to all the standard models, some will get a B and some a B minus on occasion, especially for wage equations, but I don’t see anything in that record that suggests suicide.

It is plain as the nose on my face that the labor market and many markets for produced goods do not clear in any meaningful sense. Professors Lucas and Sargent say after all there is no evidence that labor markets do not clear, just the unemployment survey. That seems to me to be evidence.

Vir: Robert Solow (Summary and evaluation)

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