In a capitalist system, consumers, investors, and corporations orient their activities toward a future that contains opportunities and risks. How actors assess uncertainty is a problem that economists have tried to solve through general equilibrium and rational expectations theory. Powerful as these analytical tools are, they underestimate the future's unknowability by assuming that markets, in the aggregate, correctly forecast what is to come.
With the onset of an economic crisis that has been universally acknowledged since the end of March, two main questions arise: To what extent is the corona pandemic the starting point (or even the cause) of this crisis? And secondly: can the aid programmes that have been adopted prevent a deep and prolonged recession?
The Great Recession 2.0 is unfolding before our very eyes. It is still in its early phase. But dynamics have been set in motion that are not easily stopped, or even slowed. If the virus effect were resolved by early summer—as some politicians wishfully believe—the economic dynamics set in motion would still continue. The US and global economies have been seriously ‘wounded’ and will not recover easily or soon. Those who believe it will be a ‘V-shape’ recovery are deluding themselves. Economists among them should know better but are among the most confused. They only need to look at historical parallels to convince themselves otherwise.
Complexity economics focuses on interactions and interdependencies between individuals and structures in economic systems. Those are systems of organised complexity. High importance is given to the analysis of networks.
Michael Kalecki famously remarked “I have found out what economics is; it is the science of confusing stocks with flows”. Stock-Flow Consistent (SFC) models were developed precisely to address this kind of confusion. The basic intuition of SFC models is that the economy is built up as a set of intersecting balance sheets, where transactions between entities are called flows and the value of the assets/liabilities they hold are called stocks. Wages are a flow; bank deposits are a stock, and confusing the two directly is a category error. In this edition of the pluralist showcase I will first describe the logic of SFC models – which is worth exploring in depth – before discussing empirical calibration and applications of the models. Warning that there is a little more maths in this post than usual (i.e. some), but you should be able to skip those parts and still easily get the picture.
One method of economic modelling that has become increasingly popular in academia, government and the private sector is Agent Based Models, or ABM. These simulate the actions and interactions of thousands or even millions of people to try to understand the economy – for this reason ABM was once described to me as being “like Sim City without the graphics”. One advantage of ABM is that it is flexible, since you can choose how many agents there are (an agent just means some kind of 'economic decision maker' like a firm, consumer, worker or government); how they behave (do they use complicated or simple rules to make decisions?); as well as the environment they act in, then just run the simulation and see what happens as they interact over time.
By conducting a discourse analysis (SKAD) in the field of academic economics textbooks, this paper aims at reconstructing frames and identity options offered to undergraduate students relating to the questions ‘Why study economics?’ and ‘Who do I become by studying economics?’. The analysis showed three major frames and respective identity offerings, all of which are contextualized theoretically, with prominent reference to the Foucauldian reflection of the science of Political Economy. Surprisingly, none of them encourages the student to think critically, as could have been expected in a pedagogical context. Taken together, economics textbooks appear as a “total structure of actions brought to bear upon possible action” (Foucault), therefore, as a genuine example of Foucauldian power structures.
This course offered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on edX provides an introduction in the major econometric tools used in standard Macroeconomics.
Forecasting is required in many situations. Stocking an inventory may require forecasts of demand months in advance.
This text provides an easy to understand introduction to complexity economics for non-specialist audiences such as bachelor's students.
In this blog article Steve Keen elaborates on flawed climate change modelling and mainstream economics forecasts. In specific, he stresses the climate change forecasts of the DICE model (“Dynamic Integrated model of Climate and the Economy”) by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner William Nordhaus.
Jens Beckert and Richard Bronk, authors of "Uncertain Times", explore the extent to which flaws, blind spots and more importantly bias created by macroeconomics models, based on forecasts and statistical devices, shape crisis and the market economy in which we live.
From the two premises that (1) economies are complex systems and (2) the accumulation of knowledge about reality is desirable, I derive the conclusion that pluralism with regard to economic research programs is a more viable position to hold than monism. To substantiate this claim an epistemological framework of how scholars study their objects of inquiry and relate their models to reality is discussed. Furthermore, it is argued that given the current institutions of our scientific system, economics self-organizes towards a state of scientific unity. Since such a state is epistemologically inferior to a state of plurality, critical intervention is desirable.
Approaching the law of nature that determines all forms of economy. The bulk of economic theory addresses the economic process by setting out on a catalogue of aspects, seeking the laws in the aspects and hoping to get together a reliable view of the whole.
The vast uncertainty surrounding the possible spread of COVID 19 and the duration of the near economic standstill required to combat it make forecasting little different from guessing Clearly this is a whatever it takes moment for large scale outside the box fiscal and monetary policies Carmen M Reinhart Project …
How do people make decisions? There is a class of models in psychology which seek to answer this question but have received scant attention in economics despite some clear empirical successes. In a previous post I discussed one of these, Decision by Sampling, and this post will look at another: the so-called Fast and Frugal heuristics pioneered by the German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer. Here the individual seeks out sufficient information to make a reasonable decision. They are ‘fast’ because they do not require massive computational effort to make a decision so can be done in seconds, and they are ‘frugal’ because they use as little information as possible to make the decision effectively.
The general idea of a Job Guarantee (JG) is that the government offers employment to everybody ready, willing and able to work for a living wage in the last instance as an Employer of Last Resort. The concept tackles societal needs that are not satisfied by market forces and the systemic characteristic of unemployment in capitalist societies. Being a central part of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), attention for the JG concept rose in recent years.
What’s inflation? Why is it relevant? And is there an agreed theory about its roots and causes, or is it a contentious concept? That’s what this text is all about: We define what inflation actually means before we delve into the theoretical debate with an interdisciplinary and pluralist approach: What gives rise to it, what factors might influence it, and, consequently, what might be done about it?
Photo by timJ on Unsplash Do you wish to know how to analyze and solve business and economic questions with data analysis tools Then Econometrics by Erasmus University Rotterdam is the right course for you as you learn how to translate data into models to make forecasts and to support …
Uncertain Futures considers how economic actors visualize the future and decide how to act in conditions of radical uncertainty. It starts from the premise that dynamic capitalist economies are characterized by relentless innovation and novelty and hence exhibit an indeterminacy that cannot be reduced to measurable risk.
The Philosophy of Economics Foundational Text provides a systematic and well-structured overview over the field of philosophy of economics.
The concern of this book is how to model time series statistically and there is emphasized the practical, applied aspects of statistical time series modeling. The author aims to provide methods that may be used to understand and analyze time series that accur in the “real world” that researchers face.
"Specialise!" is the advice often given by career advisers, school teachers and the like. David Epstein takes the opposite position: In an ever more specialised, highly complex world, it pays to have good old-fashioned broad common knowledge in as many areas as you take interest in, both in terms of intellectual curiosity and professional success. To have a decent grasp of various aspects of life means to be able to discern the links between them, thus developing a better understanding of how our world works and what drives events as they unfold.