Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A question for Paul Romer

Professor Romer, do you think that Robert Solow has Feynman integrity ?

I do.

I quote and question "Lucas and his colleagues interpreted the hostile reaction they received from such economists as Robert Solow to mean that they were facing implacable, unreasoning resistance from such departments as MIT."

Whatever Lucas thought, I wonder if Romer thinks that Solows resistance was "unreasoning". He used humor as did Stigner (and Lucas) but does that mean he felt "Stigler Conviction".

Now it is certainly possible for someone to dismiss the rational expectations hypothesis and without serious thought as soon as he hears what it is and to consistently consider it absurd from then on (I am an example). I heard of the concept of Nash equilibrium when I was 17 and immediately thought that some related idea might be useful, but the hypothesis that actual play is in Nash equilibrium is clearly false.

Since then, I have never doubted that the Nash equilibirum hypothesis is fundamentally wrong. I am a methodological individualist, so I have no time at all for the idea that it is useful to characterize the set of Nash equilibria, because an outcome being a Equilibrium tells us anything about how likely it is.

Update: Paul who seems to be Paul Romer himself kindly took the time to answer my question. The answer is no as indeed I guessed from his post "Solow's choice"

Robert, Re your question, I hope that my posts about Solow's remarks in 1978 answer your question. But to be specific, I think that Solow did depart from the role of the scientist by using debating tactics to dismiss the critique by Lucas and Sargent. And I suppose he did not live up to Feynman's mandate in the sense that he does not acknowledge the problems that the big simulation models suffered from. But so did Lucas and Sargent, I suppose, by pushing the policy ineffectiveness result prematurely. Feynman integrity sets a pretty high bar.

Paul

2 comments:

Paul Romer said...

Robert,

Re your question, I hope that my posts about Solow's remarks in 1978 answer your question. But to be specific, I think that Solow did depart from the role of the scientist by using debating tactics to dismiss the critique by Lucas and Sargent. And I suppose he did not live up to Feynman's mandate in the sense that he does not acknowledge the problems that the big simulation models suffered from. But so did Lucas and Sargent, I suppose, by pushing the policy ineffectiveness result prematurely. Feynman integrity sets a pretty high bar.

Paul

Robert said...

Dear Prof Romer

Thanks for commenting (I am again delighted that you surfed to this blog). Having read your post on "Solow's Choice" I understood your answer to my question, but thanks for taking the time to make it explicit in your comment.