Sobre os vencedores do Nobel da Economia de 2011

“A prize for the scientific method in economic policy” de Ramon Marimon (Vox.eu)

Not all scientific contributions need to be the basic research that ultimately seeks to solve problems affecting our society, but those contributions have special value. Behind the abstract models and econometric techniques developed by [Thomas] Sargent and [Christopher] Sims, there are two social scientists who have always followed this principle. It is not by accident that, beyond the ‘origins of the revolution,’ both have worked on models where agents form their expectations through learning, rationality is limited, or where policymakers are uncertain about what constitutes the proper model of the economy (and these features can help to better explain the data). It is not an accident that Sims’ pioneering paper introducing VARs was not titled “Introducing Vector Auto Regressions” but, rather, “Macroeconomics and Reality” (Econometrica 1980) nor that Sargent has worked on problems that affect us directly, such as European unemployment or what, with Neil Wallace, they called ‘unpleasant monetarist arithmetic’ (further developed by Sims in the ‘fiscal theory of the price level’). It was unpleasant because it made us aware of how monetary and fiscal policies – and now we need to add, the financial sector – are intrinsically integrated; for example, if we do not fix the solvency problems of the latter, the former will pay with a depreciation of the euro. These lessons, unfortunately, are too often forgotten by those who decide economic policy but harbor a disdain for economic theory.

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