ASSA 2023 part one: the mainstream – fiction and reality

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Michael Roberts Blog

As usual, there were hundreds of sessions and papers at this year’s ASSA 2023, the annual conference of the American Economics Association (AEA). In this post, I shall concentrate my report on the mainstream economics sessions and on what I considered to be key topics and the most illuminating.

Let’s start with the US economy. In the big arena of the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton in New Orleans, we were treated to presentations by leading mainstream economists under the title ‘Economic Shocks, Crises and Their Consequences’. The title tells it all. The premise of mainstream economics is that market economies (theoretically) move smoothly along until hit by ‘shocks’ that push it off course. The job of economists is to get market economies back on course with some suitable policy adjustments and perhaps look for ways to defend the market economy from future ‘shocks’. There is no acceptance that there…

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