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Real-World Economics Review

Do economic models actually explain anything?

from Lars Syll One of the limitations with economics is the restricted possibility to perform experiments, forcing it to mainly rely on observational studies for knowledge of real-world economies. But still — the idea of performing laboratory experiments holds a firm grip of our wish to discover (causal) relationships between economic ‘variables.’ If we only could isolate and manipulate variables in controlled environments, we would probably find ourselves in a situation where we with...

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Radically misleading calculations

from Geoff Davies The point of a theory or model is to provide a useful guide to understanding the world. People like Paul Krugman are fond of claiming simple equilibrium models provide a useful first cut or first approximation to understanding. Others put their faith in more elaborate equilibrium models. But do equilibrium models, simple or elaborate, offer any useful guidance to actual economies, or are they perhaps radically misleading? Is this a useful guide to this? Or this? The...

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Taxing financial transactions is more strategic than taxing high wealth

from Dean Baker Presidential candidate Joe Biden is considering to propose a financial transactions tax as part of his campaign for the Democratic nomination, according to a recent report from The Washington Post. This is big news for those of us who have long advocated such a tax. Sen. Bernie Sanders has taken the lead on this issue among presidential candidates, including a financial transactions tax — also known as an FTT — as part of his plan for making college tuition free. Several...

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What is MMT?

from L. Randall Wray MMT provides an analysis of fiscal and monetary policy that is applicable to national governments with sovereign currencies. We argue that there are four essential requirements that qualify a national currency as sovereign in the sense in which we use the term: the National government chooses a money of account in which the currency is denominated; the National government imposes obligations (taxes, fees, fines, tribute, tithes) denominated in the chosen money of...

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Teflon economics

from Lars Syll At least since the time of Keynes’s famous critique of Tinbergen’s econometric methods, those of us in the social science community who have been impolite enough to dare to question the preferred methods and models applied in quantitative research in general and economics more specifically, are as a rule met with disapproval. Although people seem to get very agitated and upset by the critique — just read the commentaries on this blog if you don’t believe me — defenders of...

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An ideology called consumerism

We are guided by an ideology so familiar and pervasive that we do not even recognise it as an ideology. It is called consumerism. It has been crafted with the help of skilful advertisers and marketers, by corporate celebrity culture, and by a media that casts us as the recipients of goods and services rather than the creators of political reality. It is locked in by transport, town planning and energy systems that make good choices all but impossible. It spreads like a stain through...

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Central Bank History (3/5) 1914-1980

from Asad Zaman This series of posts is based on a single lecture (Lecture 13 of Advanced Macro II) exploring the evolving functions of Central Banks through time. It goes through a vast amount of material in a very short time, and hence is a very sketchy treatment. This is the 3rd post,  which deals with the period from WW! to the 1980s.  read more

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Tribalism in Science (and Economics)

from Blair Fix If you ask the average person what ‘science’ is, they’ll probably answer something like ‘it’s what we know about the world’. To the lay person, ‘science’ is a body of facts. To the trained scientist, however, ‘science’ means something different. It’s not a body of knowledge. It’s a method for determining what’s true and what’s not. To determine the way the world works, science appeals to evidence.The ideal of science is beautifully summarized by the motto of the Royal...

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RWER issue 89: Modern monetary theory and its critics

real-world economics review Please click here to support this journal and the WEA issue no. 89Modern monetary theory and its criticsdownload whole issue Introduction: Whither MMT?The editors Alternative paths to modern money theoryL. Randall Wray Initiating a parallel electronic currency in a eurocrisis country – why it would workTrond Andresen An MMT perspective on macroeconomic policy spacePhil Armstrong Monetary sovereignty is a spectrum: MMT and developing countriesBruno Bonizzi,...

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Has wealth gone digital?

from Blair Fix A revolution is underway around us and it’s called the digital. And it’s changing everything. More than 80% of wealth is now non-material. — Charles Foran in Just don’t say his name: the modern left on Karl Marx’s place in politics (41:30) Both critics and cheerleaders of capitalism claim it has. The critics see non-material wealth as a problem. Digital wealth, they say, is fictitious. It’s lost touch with reality. The cheerleaders of capitalism see the same thing as a...

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