Death by Excel and austerity

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    Apr 17, 2013 1:48 AM GMT
    http://www.nextnewdeal.net/rortybomb/researchers-finally-replicated-reinhart-rogoff-and-there-are-serious-problems

    BTW, the 2010 paper was not fully peer-reviewed--read the comments.
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    Apr 17, 2013 1:50 AM GMT

    R_Rcorrect.pngIt’s a big difference, though I suspect R&R will say, assuming they acknowlege they messed up, that it still shows slower growth. But that’s been the problem with their work from the beginning. As I’ve written many times, riffing off of Bivens and Irons for one, if you mush everything together they way they do, you’re likely to get the causality backwards. You’ll convince yourself that higher debt leads to slower growth when it’s more often the opposite. Certainly in the US case, the most progress we’ve made against our debt ratios have been in periods of fast growth (and the biggest increases have been in periods of recession, slow growth, or war).

    Get this wrong—which, thanks in part to R&R’s advocacy of their flawed results, has been the norm in countries across the globe—and you’ll be pulled, like a moth to a flame, towards austerity, the medieval leeching of growth from already weakened economies.

    So kudos to Herndon et al for taking the time to get this right. Let’s see what happens next, which could, as Matt Yglesias suggests, be nothing. It’s not like facts are driving this debate.
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    Apr 17, 2013 8:06 PM GMT
    If Carmen and Rogoff said they didn't want to make correlation equal causation, they surely didn't tell the senators:
    http://qz.com/75117/how-influential-was-the-study-warning-high-debt-kills-growth/

    And others who base their pronouncements of doom on an Excel error and reverse causation--"canonical" and "widely acknowledged" turns out to be 2 economists:
    “[I]t is widely acknowledged, based on serious research, that when public debt levels rise about 90% they tend to have a negative economic dynamism, which translates into low growth for many years.” — European Commissioner Olli Rehn.
    “Economists who have studied sovereign debt tell us that letting total debt rise above 90 percent of GDP creates a drag on economic growth and intensifies the risk of a debt-fueled economic crisis.” — House Budget Committee Chairman and former Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
    “It’s an excellent study, although in some ways what you’ve summarized understates the risks.”— Former US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
    “[W]e would soon get to a situation in which a debt-to-GDP ratio would be 100%. As economists such as Reinhart and Rogoff have argued, that is the level at which the overall stock of debt becomes dangerous for the long-term growth of an economy. They would argue that that is why Japan has had such a bad time for such a long period. If deficits really solved long-term economic growth, Japan would not have been stranded in the situation in which it has been for such a long time.” Lord Lamont of Lerwick, former UK chancellor and sometime adviser to current chancellor George Osborne.
    “The debt hurts the economy already. The canonical work of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff and its successors carry a clear message: countries that have gross government debt in excess of 90% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are in the debt danger zone. Entering the zone means slower economic growth.”— Doug Holtz-Eakin, Chairman of the American Action Forum.
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    Apr 17, 2013 8:41 PM GMT
    Whoops indeed. icon_lol.gif


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    Apr 17, 2013 8:42 PM GMT
    yourname2000 saidI don't think it matters how many times you bump this one....no one cares. icon_confused.gif Too much math, not enough substance.


    Yes, who cares about intellectual rigor on here? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Apr 17, 2013 8:49 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    Yes, who cares about intellectual rigor on here? icon_rolleyes.gif


    3017979-896162-schoolboy-raising-his-han
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    Apr 17, 2013 8:51 PM GMT
    yourname2000 said
    TigerTim said
    yourname2000 saidI don't think it matters how many times you bump this one....no one cares. icon_confused.gif Too much math, not enough substance.


    Yes, who cares about intellectual rigor on here? icon_rolleyes.gif

    Apparently not you, idiot, since you've not commented on it. icon_rolleyes.gif

    FYI: generally bumping your own thread multiple times over a couple of days to try to get it "started" is poor forum-ing.


    I don't know what's happened to you recently, but you've become extremely objectionable recently. What's the problem?

    I remember when you wrote reasonably well thought out and interesting posts.
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    Apr 17, 2013 8:58 PM GMT
    yourname2000 said
    TigerTim said
    yourname2000 said
    TigerTim said
    yourname2000 saidI don't think it matters how many times you bump this one....no one cares. icon_confused.gif Too much math, not enough substance.


    Yes, who cares about intellectual rigor on here? icon_rolleyes.gif

    Apparently not you, idiot, since you've not commented on it. icon_rolleyes.gif

    FYI: generally bumping your own thread multiple times over a couple of days to try to get it "started" is poor forum-ing.


    I don't know what's happened to you recently, but you've become extremely objectionable recently. What's the problem?

    I remember when you wrote reasonably well thought out and interesting posts.

    My thoughts about you as well....tedious....blathering about shit you know nothing about....thought policing. Maybe it would be best if we both "fuck off" for a while and put each other on ignore. I'm confident I won't be missing much.


    Jeez—that's a lot of vitriol! What am I supposed to have blathered about that I apparently know nothing about?

    In any case, whatever you think about me, q1w2e3 is really the *last* person you should be mean to. He's like online etiquette personified.
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    Apr 17, 2013 9:23 PM GMT
    yourname2000 said
    TigerTim said
    yourname2000 said
    TigerTim said
    yourname2000 said
    TigerTim said
    yourname2000 saidI don't think it matters how many times you bump this one....no one cares. icon_confused.gif Too much math, not enough substance.


    Yes, who cares about intellectual rigor on here? icon_rolleyes.gif

    Apparently not you, idiot, since you've not commented on it. icon_rolleyes.gif

    FYI: generally bumping your own thread multiple times over a couple of days to try to get it "started" is poor forum-ing.


    I don't know what's happened to you recently, but you've become extremely objectionable recently. What's the problem?

    I remember when you wrote reasonably well thought out and interesting posts.

    My thoughts about you as well....tedious....blathering about shit you know nothing about....thought policing. Maybe it would be best if we both "fuck off" for a while and put each other on ignore. I'm confident I won't be missing much.


    Jeez—that's a lot of vitriol! What am I supposed to have blathered about that I apparently know nothing about?

    In any case, whatever you think about me, q1w2e3 is really the *last* person you should be mean to. He's like online etiquette personified.

    You're the one attacking me, asshole....yesterday and today you've decided to throw shade when we haven't even been talking to each other...just look at this thread. icon_rolleyes.gif When was the last time I've ever commented on a post of yours? I don't. You're dull. You're full of yourself. You're often wrong. I stay out of it. But when you decide to attack me directly (as you have today and yesterday) you'll get the same back.

    You don't get to play victim here, asshole....you're the one taking the first swipes.


    It was supposed to be a funny comment about RJ in general, not you in particular.

    For the rest of us, I think yourname2000 has finally snapped in the head!

    I had to google "throw shade". I guess you took too many drugs in the 80s, and this is why you've turned crazy :-/
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    Apr 17, 2013 9:42 PM GMT
    It's unfortunate almost nobody realizes that we're all victims of this Excel error, and I'm just trying to ask people to comment on it. (Oh where art thou Riddler?) It will probably be much more newsworthy in the annals of macroeconomics, and how history will explain the anemic recovery in the US and the current double (or is it triple) dip recession in Europe.

    BTW, there is no math involved here. Just a simple Excel error. And let's not let it devolve into another meaningless shouting match.
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    Apr 17, 2013 9:56 PM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidIt's unfortunate almost nobody realizes that we're all victims of this Excel error, and I'm just trying to ask people to comment on it. (Oh where art thou Riddler?) It will probably be much more newsworthy in the annals of macroeconomics, and how history will explain the anemic recovery in the US and the current double (or is it triple) dip recession in Europe.

    BTW, there is no math involved here. Just a simple Excel error. And let's not let it devolve into another meaningless shouting match.


    This is a very interesting case, yes. Mainly because it shows that:

    i) Prepublished results should be confined to an academic audience and not be used as the basis of public policy. Officials in public positions should not be quoting unpublished results.

    ii) Codes and programs used to perform analyses should be released as a matter of course in the publication process (this is already the case in Physics, for example).

    iii) People must read academic work with *scepticism*. If there is only one study that says something, it is a new result and should be treated tentatively. If there's a body of work on something, then it may be suitable for public policy. Cutting edge research is exciting, but it's generally unwise to take it too seriously!

    iv) Poorly designed programs (like Excel) make these sorts of errors easy to make and difficult to debug. Economists should (and are!) learn from those of us who deal with vast quantities of quantitative data in our standards for coding, etc.
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    Apr 17, 2013 10:58 PM GMT
    yourname2000 saidYou can't always rely on an idiot hellbent on starting a flamewar to get your thread going...and even if he does, it's certainly off topic. icon_lol.gificon_wink.gif


    You're the one who started the flamewar.
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    Apr 18, 2013 12:32 AM GMT
    yourname2000 said
    As a thread, it lacks context. If you hadn't put it in politics, I wouldn't have had a hint of what it was about. Your title did nothing to correct that.
    ...
    As to the bumping, you know it's poor forum-ing....it's never been a sign of a good thread that the author needs to bump it repeatedly (which is why the people who do it are often folks like Gaybigmachodude and a few other nutbars.) Better idea (imo)? --change your title. And if you must bump, at least be subtle about it: if you've already got one bump and no one has responded, delete it before you bump again.


    OK then...done.icon_lol.gif (I'm not as adept as SB in titling threads...he's a genius at that)

    As for forum bumping, I never post anything twice, at least I try to. If I post something it's probably new stuff that came to my attention that's relevant to the topic at hand. So if that counts as forum bumping, my bad.
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    Apr 18, 2013 12:56 AM GMT
    Some nasty bitches on here!
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    Apr 18, 2013 3:58 AM GMT
    yourname2000 said(your audience here is athletes, not mathletes, lol.)


    It's tragic that you think these are mutually exclusive.