Daily Digest - April 22: Economists Are Only as Good as Their Data

Apr 22, 2013Tim Price

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Reinhart/Rogoff-gate isn't the first time austerians have used bad data (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal notes an odd contradiction: Keynesians who favor more government intervention rely on market data, while austerians favor data from government sources they otherwise wouldn't trust to tell them the time of day.

Meet the 28-Year-Old Grad Student Who Just Shook the Global Austerity Movement (NY Mag)

Kevin Roose interviews Thomas Herndon, who co-authored a paper that undermined one of the key arguments for austerity and toppled two of the biggest names in economics, setting a high bar for the rest of the papers he has due in the spring semester.

The Rogoff-Reinhart data scandal reminds us economists aren't gods (Guardian)

Heidi Moore writes that while we might wish economists were offering us the secret wisdom of the ages, the truth is they're mortals prone to mistakes and often have almost as little idea what they're talking about as the policymakers who flog their research.

The Jobless Trap (NYT)

Paul Krugman argues that in contrast to FDR's declaration that we had nothing to fear but fear itself, a little more fear about the consequences of long-term mass unemployment would make for a nice change of pace from the current devil-may-care approach.

Only the Apocalypse Will Stop Simpson and Bowles (Businessweek)

The sun is shining, the tulips are blooming, and there's another Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan to help us mark the passing of the seasons. Joshua Green writes that this version is a lot like the others, especially insofar as Congress is likely to ignore it.

Fitch Downgrades Britain. No One Cares. (Bloomberg View)

Joshua Barro notes that the U.K.'s credit rating downgrade is an easy target for critics of its austerity policies, but like the U.S. downgrade, it's having little effect on investors, who already have firm opinions about whether the country will continue to exist.

This Week in Poverty: Ignoring Homeless Families (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann looks at The American Almanac of Family Homelessness, which shows that while single adult homelessness is down, family homelessness is rising, and the policy response has been to treat them like single adults with a slightly bigger appetite.

The Underground Recovery (New Yorker)

James Surowiecki notes that a recent study shows as much as $2 trillion may be changing hands under the table due to factors ranging from the changing nature of work to old-fashioned anti-government paranoia, offsetting some pain from the weak economy.

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