Sims and Sargent: Not “Non-Keyesians”

Facts & other stubborn things

Facts and Other Stubborn things Had an interesting post on the just awarded noble prize.  A lot is being read into that isn’t there.  The prize and their work is more about testing theory with out imposing the answer via the test, to be more truly scientific.  It’s not to promote a right wing (or left wing) policy agenda.  The most interesting was Daniel’s exchange with Christoper Sims:

An op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday carried the headline, “A Nobel for Non-Keynesians,” placing the professors in the camp that opposes the interventionist philosophy of the influential British economist John Maynard Keynes.

It said the two had put “a sizable chink in the Keynesians’ armor.” An editorial said the pair was “ at odds with the recent Keynesian vogue, and in tune instead with the frustration with government fine-tuning that has dominated world economic policy since 2008.”

That’s a compelling narrative. But it’s not the way Professor Sims sees himself, as he told me by phone late last week. (It doesn’t seem to be Professor Sargent’s view, either, but we had only a brief e-mail exchange.)

Professor Sims doesn’t want to be pigeonholed. “I’m not ‘non-Keynesian,’ ” he said, adding that he has been an active “promoter of new Keynesian macroeconomic models,” because they “are the place in our profession where theory and data and policy decision-making are coming together.”

“It doesn’t really make much sense to stand on the sidelines and take potshots at them,” he said. “If you don’t like the way they’re working, you should try to do better.”

He and Professor Sargent have been “trying to do empirical macroeconomics using formal tools of statistics,” he said. “Those tools aren’t in themselves ideological.”

Professor Sims spoke favorably of the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus programs, which are Keynesian in their countercyclical spending. “An expansionary fiscal policy is probably what we need right now,” he said.”

via Sims and Sargent: Not “Non-Keyesians”.


2 responses to “Sims and Sargent: Not “Non-Keyesians”

  1. Thanks for pointing out the interesting contradiction: “A Nobel for Non-Keynesians” vs. “I’m not ‘non-Keynesian”.

  2. I don’t really don’t know the history of Keynes.
    Did Keynes ever subscribe to a right-wing or leftist ideology?
    If not, why do so many spend so much time and energy on trying to put him in one camp or the other?
    I understand the basics of his philosophy and always thought he developed this independent of any politics.

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