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Criticizing the Lucas Critique: Macroeconometricians' Response to Robert Lucas

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The standard history of macroeconomics considers Lucas (1976)– “the Lucas Critique” –as a path-breaking innovation for the discipline. According to this view Lucas's article dismissed the traditional macroeconometric practice calling for new ways of conceiving the quantitative evaluation of economic policies. The Lucas Critique is considered, nowadays, as a fundamental principle of macroeconomic modeling (Woodford, 2003). The interpretation and the application of the Critique, however, represent still unsolved issues in economics (Chari et al., 2008). Even if the influence of Lucas's contribution cannot be neglected, something seems to be missing in the narrative: the reactions of the economists that were directly targeted by the Critique. Modeling practices of economic policy evaluation were not overthrown immediately after Lucas (1976), creating a divide between theoretical and applied macroeconomics (Brayton et al., 1977). The purpose of this paper is to study the reactions of the macroeconometricians criticized by Lucas. We focus especially on those macroeconometricians who worked on policy evaluation and who held an expertise position in governmental institutions. We categorize the different reactions to the Critique, in order to enrich the understanding of the evolution of modeling and expertise practices through the analysis of the debates–which have not yet been completely solved. In the first section, we propose a careful account of Lucas's argument and of some of the previous works anticipating the substantial outline of the Critique (like Frisch's notion of autonomy). Second, we bring our own interpretation of Lucas (1976). We think that we find two points of view in Lucas paper: a prescriptive one that tell you how to build a good macroeconometric model (it is the standard interpretation of the article); a positive one that relies on the fact that the Lucas critique could be seen as an attempt to explain a real-world phenomenon, the stagflation. Third, we classify the reactions of the Keynesian macroeconometricains following this line of interpretation. On the prescriptive side, the Keynesians protested against the New Classical solution to the Lucas critique (the use of the rational expectation hypothesis among other things). Klein, for instance, proposed an alternative microfoundational programme to study more empirically the formation of expectations. On the positive side, the Keynesians put into question the relevance of the Lucas Critique to explain the rise of both unemployment and inflation in the 1970s. They tried to test the impact of policy regime changes and of shifts in agents behaviour. According to us, in general, the explanation of the stagflation was elsewhere

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  • Aurélien Goutsmedt & Erich Pinzon-Fuchs & Matthieu Renault & Francesco Sergi, 2015. "Criticizing the Lucas Critique: Macroeconometricians' Response to Robert Lucas," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 15059, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:15059
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    Cited by:

    1. Aurélien Goutsmedt, 2016. "The New Classical Explanation of the Stagflation: A Psychological Way of Thinking," Post-Print halshs-01281962, HAL.
    2. Erich Pinzón-Fuchs, 2016. "Macroeconometric modeling as a "photographic description of reality" or as an "engine for the discovery of concrete truth" ? Friedman and Klein on statistical illusions," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01364812, HAL.
    3. Matthieu Renault, 2018. "Edmond Malinvaud´s Criticisms of the New Classical Economics: Restoring the Nature and the Rationale of the Old Keynesians´ Opposition," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2018_21, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    4. Aurélien Goutsmedt, 2016. "The New Classical Explanation of the Stagflation: A Psychological Way of Thinking," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01281962, HAL.
    5. Aurélien Goutsmedt, 2017. "Stagflation and the crossroad in macroeconomics: the struggle between structural and New Classical macroeconometrics," Post-Print halshs-01625188, HAL.
    6. Christian Müller-Kademann, 2018. "The Lucas Critique: A Lucas Critique," Economic Thought, World Economics Association, vol. 7(2), pages 54-62, November.
    7. Aurélien Goutsmedt, 2016. "The New Classical Explanation of the Stagflation: A Psychological Way of Thinking," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 16018, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    8. Belongia, Michael T. & Ireland, Peter N., 2017. "Circumventing the zero lower bound with monetary policy rules based on money," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 54(PA), pages 42-58.
    9. Francesco Sergi, 2015. "L'histoire (faussement) naïve des modèles DSGE," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01222798, HAL.
    10. Francesco Sergi, 2015. "L'histoire (faussement) naïve des modèles DSGE," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 15066, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    11. Aurélien Goutsmedt, 2017. "Stagflation and the crossroad in macroeconomics: the struggle between structural and New Classical macroeconometrics," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01625188, HAL.
    12. Aurélien Goutsmedt, 2017. "Stagflation and the crossroad in macroeconomics: the struggle between structural and New Classical macroeconometrics," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 17043, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.

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    Keywords

    History of macroeconomics; Keynesian economics; Lucas critique; Macroeconometrics; Rational expectations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General

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