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2008年诺贝尔经济学奖得主。 美國經濟學家及紐約時報的專欄作家,普林斯頓大學經濟系教授,是新凱恩斯主義经济学派代表。1953年出生美國紐約,约翰·F·肯尼迪高中毕业。1974年就讀耶鲁大學,1977年在麻省理工學院取得博士學位,受到经济学家诺德豪斯的注意。畢業後先後於耶鲁大学、麻省理工及史丹福大學任教。2000年起,成為普林斯頓大學經濟系教授。

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a thought about macroeconomics(待译)  

2009-06-27 08:30:44|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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                                 ( 一 )                  June 26, 2009, 3:14 pm

                                A thought about macroeconomics

Brad DeLong and I have been sort of tag-teaming the Great Ignorance which seems to have overtaken much of the economics profession — the “rediscovery” of old fallacies about deficit spending and interest rates, presented as if they were deep insights, the bizarre arguments presented by economists with sterling reputations.

Now, no doubt this is partly about politics, which, as Brad says, makes some people stop thinking like economists.

But I think there’s something else. Doing what I think of as real macroeconomics — the tradition that runs through Keynes and Hicks — actually involves thinking about interdependent markets, in a way many economists never learn to do. At minimum you have to keep straight the relationships among the markets for goods, bonds, and money; if you try to think about either interest rates or the price level in terms of just a single market — interest rates determined by supply and demand for lending, price level by quantity of money, full stop — you get it all wrong, especially in times like the present.

And as I pointed out a long time ago, many economists just don’t know this stuff. Even in macroeconomics, you could build a career without ever understanding what Keynes and Hicks were driving at — and if you’re under a certain age, perhaps without even ever having heard about it. Arguments like “deficits drive up interest rates and that’s contractionary” basically have the feel of someone who doesn’t have any sense of how the pieces fit together — probably because they don’t.

It’s a sad story, and it may have real negative consequences for the world


 

                                (  二  )                 June 26, 2009, 9:25 am

                                      The WTO is making sense

There was some question about how the WTO would handle cap-and-trade — whether it would accept the need for carbon tariffs, if some countries (cough China cough) drag their feet, or whether it would adopt a purist free-trade rule. The answer seems to be in — the WTO is going to treat cap-and-trade the same way it treats VATs, with border taxes allowed if they can be seen as reducing distortions.

One way to think about this is to say that the price of emissions licenses is ultimately a tax on consumers — and consumers should pay the same tax on emissions tied to imports as they do on emissions tied to domestic production. (That’s the same reason you can charge VAT on imports.)

The same logic would also suggest that export subsidies are OK, but from an environmental point of view they’re a bad idea; more broadly, the WTO view doesn’t really take on the problem of negative externalities generated by foreigners producing for themselves.

But still, a sensible judgment.

Update: And right here, why this matters: Big Oil’s Response to Carbon Law May Be Imports, Idle Refineries.

 

 

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