—“The real difference between Chicago and MIT macro is Chicago’s commitment to rules over discretion. Milton Friedman’s endorsement of a constant 3% increase in the money supply was meant to minimize the chance of hyperinflation and to make running the Fed a boring job such that investors had clear expectations of how Policy would be set. When “leaders” have discretion with respect to how they set policy, they have more fun on the jobbut “uncertainty” increases and this reduces investment.”—Matthew Kahn
[I]n other words, the Chicago program seeks to define rules that will eliminate discretion. The MIT program seeks to identify opportunities for discretion. Rule of law = Lack of Discretion.
I wasn’t able to come up with that myself. And it’s wonderful.
ANTI-KRUGMAN — THIS IS SO GOOD THAT I HAVE TO POST MORE OF IT.
—-“At M.I.T., however, Keynes never went away. To be sure, stagflation showed that there were limits to what policy can do. But students continued to learn about the imperfections of markets and the role that monetary and fiscal policy can play in boosting a depressed economy. And the M.I.T. students of the 1970s enlarged on those insights in their later work. Mr. Blanchard, for example, showed how small deviations from perfect rationality can have large economic consequences; Mr. Obstfeld showed that currency markets can sometimes experience self-fulfilling panic.”—-Paul Krugman
“Point #1 Note the eagerness to introduce ideas from behavioral economics into economic policy making. A dangerous precedent arises here. If the “people are foolish“, then this creates an ugly elitist possibility that only the wise technocrats (the MIT graduates) can protect us. I don‘t like this worldview on a number of levels. Moral hazard lurks when sophisticated investors and economic decision makers are aware that the technocrats will step in and “save the world“ when ugly economic events take place (such as a plunging stock market, or rising unemployment).
“Point #2: The real difference between Chicago and MIT macro is Chicago‘s commitment to rules over discretion. Milton Friedman‘s endorsement of a constant 3% increase in the money supply was meant to minimize the chance of hyperinflation and to make running the Fed a boring job such that investors had clear expectations of how Policy would be set. When “leaders“ have discretion with respect to how they set policy, they have more fun on the job but “uncertainty“ increases and this reduces investment.
“Point #3; Dr. Krugman also refuses to acknowledge the power of Ed Prescott‘s work on time consistency and policy. Clear rules of the game create dynamically stable rules and this fosters investment. In Dr. Krugman‘s short run focus on the business cycle, he ignores the long run growth implications caused by the activist policies that he supports.
“Point #4; In the absence of randomized trials, the MIT trained technocrats (the 5 people listed above) do not actually know what policies are effective in mitigating business cycles. If they know that they do not know how the macro economy really works, then does this affect Dr. Krugman‘s optimism that MIT has won the policy debates. His piece isn‘t that modest (or honest) about the modeling uncertainty that now exists in modern macro economics. He makes the past debates sound settled. If he attended MIT‘s current 1st year PHD macro sequence, he would see a variety of different models being worked on and taught and I bet that the policy conclusions are very sensitive to the modeling choices.” —- Matthew Kahn (Environmental and Urban Economics )
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