golos_dobra (golos_dobra) wrote,

the smartest economist you’ve never heard of


(1) Дарон Асемоглу (МТИ) и Джеймс Робинсон (Чикаго) за исследование роли институтов в экономическом развитии. То, чем Асемоглу и Робинсон знамениты на весь мир - см. мини-обзор научных работ, на которые опирается популярная книжка Why Nations Fail – это лишь малая часть исследований Дарона и Джима, которые, можно сказать, создали современную институциональную экономику, сменившую "новую институциональную экономику" Норта и Фогеля.



The tyranny of bad ideas

For an academic who had spent a career searching for economic truth, having to reconcile the supposedly scientific insights of economics with political and bureaucratic realities proved even more challenging than Blanchard had anticipated. What he found most surprising, he said during a relaxing moment on Re, was how quickly a consensus can develop around some question on the basis of what decision-makers read in the press or hear over dinner. People on the outside, he said, have no idea how much time and energy is spent responding to or anticipating the reaction of the media and critics.

“There’s a big risk of people agreeing on something without thinking about it or doing the hard analysis,” he said. In the face of incomplete information and genuine uncertainty, he said, it was disquieting “how easily bad ideas become entrenched.”

Сложно понять без необходимой подготовки, но ничего более исчерпывающего
на тему роста, финансов и институтов просто нигде нет


Для менее подготовленных


Karl Marx was a growth theorist (remember “Asiatic,” “ancient,” “feudal,” “bourgeois” modes of production and all that?), but he came late to economics and never found his way into the official canon. So was Joseph Schumpeter, who came closer to giving a persuasive account in economic terms but still failed to leave much of a mark. In the ’50s, MIT’s Robert Solow, a leading macroeconomist, ingeniously showed that most of the forces generating gains in wealth (gross domestic product/per capita) were exogenous, that is, outside the standard macro model, unexplained by it as the tradition stood. Macro debates continued to flourish. By end of the ’70s, interest in growth once had again faded away in technical economics.

In the ’80s, excitement over growth was suddenly rekindled in economics by three key papers, of which Romer wrote two and Robert Lucas wrote one. Romer’s primary interest was in “endogenizing” technology; that is, showing why governments, universities, corporations and entrepreneurs engaged in research. Lucas was intrigued by stories from international trade: Asian trading nations such as Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore grew rich quickly while communist nations stagnated. Where did the growth “miracles” come from?

As usual, the arguments of both men were intricately related to other on-going debates in technical economics. Lucas, a University of Chicago professor, was at pains to preserve, for convenience’s sake, the assumption of perfect competition. Romer, educated at both Chicago and MIT and by then teaching at the University of Rochester, was intent on writing intellectual property into the act, employing the sixty-year-old convention of monopolistic competition. Pure competition “spillovers,” meaning, roughly, the gains you reap from watching your neighbors, animated the first models that Romer and Lucas produced. Romer’s second – and final – model depended on income streams that arose from new processes and new goods. The University of Chicago hired Romer; after a year, he moved to California where his wife had obtained a better job.

It seems clear that Romer won the debate. Aghion, then at MIT, and Howitt, then at the University of Western Ontario, quickly buttressed the case for viewing growth through the lens of monopolistic competition, but without producing the same clean convention as Romer’s “non-rival goods,” that is, know-how that can be possessed by more than one person at the same time. Helpman and Grossman obtained the same result.

Once it was established formally that privately appropriable knowledge was somehow involved in the process of growth – that ideas were economically important, as well as people and things – interest shifted quickly to the institutions and norms by which knowledge and the power to protect it were diffused. A shower of interesting new work ensued. The effects on growth of patterns of suffrage, political governance, education, tax policy, land and immigration policy, laws, banking, religion and geography came under economists’ lenses.


Вскоре моё внимание привлекла следующая статья:

«Достойный кандидат! Мистер Марк Твен, собиравшийся вчера вечером произнести громовую речь на митинге независимых, не явился туда вовремя.

В телеграмме, полученной от врача мистера Твена, говорилось, что его сшиб мчавшийся во весь опор экипаж, что у него в двух местах сломана нога, что он испытывает жесточайшие муки, и тому подобный вздор.
Независимые изо всех сил старались принять на веру эту жалкую отговорку и делали вид, будто не знают истинной причины отсутствия отъявленного негодяя, которого они избрали своим кандидатом.

Но вчера же вечером некий мертвецки пьяный субъект на четвереньках вполз в гостиницу, где проживает мистер Марк Твен. Пусть теперь независимые попробуют доказать, что эта нализавшаяся скотина не была Марком Твеном. Попался наконец-то! Увёртки не помогут! Весь народ громогласно вопрошает: «Кто был этот человек?»

Я не верил своим глазам. Не может быть, чтобы моё имя было связано с таким чудовищным подозрением! Уже целых три года я не брал в рот ни пива, ни вина и вообще никаких спиртных напитков.


Romer Slaughters Kittens

For more that 20 years, October has been the time when the eager beavers in the university PR department get a little too excited as they drill in preparation for the possibility that I might receive a Nobel prize.

I used to try to explain how low the odds are, but found that this was like talking to someone who has just been given a ticket for the upcoming $100 million lottery. All they can think about is how they’ll spend the money. Then I tried telling them that I’ve been through this many times and nothing happens. This does not work either. Somehow, they convince themselves that “this time is different.” Now I just try to be a good sport and let them have their fun.

Apparently someone at NYU prepared a new webpage for me that they could use on Monday. Then someone else made a mistake and released it to the production website, where it remained at least for a while. If you are curious, there is apparently an archived version somewhere that should not be hard to find.

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