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Confessions of a Serial Liberty-Reducer

September 11, 2010 17 comments

from Peter Dorman

Since I have been placed by Econ Journal Watch in the leading ranks of economists who have signed “liberty-reducing” petitions, I figure I should respond somehow. An obvious first reaction would be, if this is all it takes to be grouped with such distinguished and thoughtful individuals as Jamie Galbraith and Eileen Applebaum (not to mention our own Michael Perelman), please give me more to sign. But maybe I should say something about this idea of liberty-reduction as well.  Read more…

What’s Missing in Paul Krugman’s Climate Economics Primer

April 15, 2010 8 comments

from Peter Dorman

But let’s start by accenting the positive.  Krugman’s explanation of mainstream environmental economics is clear and powerful.  He recognizes that there really are a lot of free energy lunches lying around uneaten, in the form of potential efficiency improvements.  He knows that predictions of economic disaster due to carbon policy are without foundation and fail to take into account the potential for innovation.  Above all, he understands that investments in minimizing climate change offer valuable insurance against potentially catastrophic outcomes—the ice-sheet meltoffs and methane megabelches that we have little ability to predict and from which we would have little chance to recover.

Why ask for more?  Because three enormous concepts are completely missing.  Read more…

Fama’s Fallacy

January 19, 2010 15 comments

from Peter Dorman

Listen to this excerpt from his interview with John Cassidy:

Back to the efficient markets hypothesis. You said earlier that it comes out of this episode pretty well. Others say the market may be good at pricing in a relative sense—one stock versus another—but it is very bad at setting absolute prices, the level of the market as a whole. What do you say to that?

People say that. I don’t know what the basis of it is. If they know, they should be rich men. What better way to make money than to know exactly about the absolute level of prices.

He makes this point several other times within a few minutes: we know markets are efficient because they are unpredictable.

But those famous monkeys, Read more…

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