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Is something really wrong with macroeconomics?

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  • Ricardo Reis

Abstract

Many critiques of the state of macroeconomics are off target. Current macroeconomic research is not mindless DSGE modelling filled with ridiculous assumptions and oblivious of data. Rather, young macroeconomists are doing vibrant, varied, and exciting work, getting jobs, and being published. Macroeconomics informs economic policy only moderately, and not more than nor differently from other fields in economics. Monetary policy has benefitted significantly from this advice in keeping inflation under control and preventing a new Great Depression. Macroeconomic forecasts perform poorly in absolute terms and, given the size of the challenge, probably always will. But relative to the level of aggregation, the time horizon, and the amount of funding, macroeconomic forecasts are not so obviously worse than those in other fields. What is most wrong with macroeconomics today is perhaps that there is too little discussion of which models to teach and too little investment in graduate-level textbooks.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricardo Reis, 2018. "Is something really wrong with macroeconomics?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press and Oxford Review of Economic Policy Limited, vol. 34(1-2), pages 132-155.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:34:y:2018:i:1-2:p:132-155.
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Reis, Ricardo, 2016. "Funding quantitative easing to target inflation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67883, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Ricardo Reis, 2009. "Interpreting the Unconventional U.S. Monetary Policy of 2007-09," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 119-182.
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    7. David Card & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "Immigration Economics by George J. Borjas: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1333-1349, December.
    8. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2017. "Undergraduate Econometrics Instruction: Through Our Classes, Darkly," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 125-144, Spring.
    9. Jens Hilscher & Alon Raviv & Ricardo Reis, 2022. "Inflating Away the Public Debt? An Empirical Assessment," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 35(3), pages 1553-1595.
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    Keywords

    methodology; graduate teaching; forecasting; public debate;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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