Sunday, February 15, 2009

When Economists Fight in Public

MIT's Peter Temin wrote a tough book review in late 2008 published in the Journal of Economic Literature. He clearly stated that the Minnesota world view is not useful for understanding the Great Depression. Here is a well known Nobel Laureate Prescott's Response.

In 2059 when future macro guys take a look at the crisis of 2009, what economic models will they use?

I think that the Journal of Economic Literature should be reconfigured into a "professional wrestling journal". Take a contentious issue and have one set of scholars write up one side of the issue and then let the other scholars write up their views and publish them side by side. This could be done for the minimum wage, carbon taxes, structural estimation, legal origins versus settler mortality as initial conditions for institutional quality today, etc.

Today economists (such as Barro and Krugman) are battling in blogs. These 300 word public essays are too short without footnotes and nuances but there is clearly great demand for these tight debates.