After re-iterating five well-known theorems about the properties of conditional expectations in
stationary settings—such as providing unbiased minimum mean square error predictions despite in-
complete information, and the law of iterated expectations—we clarify unpredictability and illustrate
its prevalence empirically.
I have read the various conference papers and am struck by the fact that many use the (omnipresent New-Keynesian) model of an aggregate loanable funds market to diagnose secular stagnation and investigate possible remedies.
The prevailing wisdom that aggregate demand ‘shocks’ determine short-run cyclical fluctuations around a supply-determined equilibrium growth rate and an associated equilibrium unemployment rate (or NAIRU) has been called into question by various streams of literature in the last decades. Specifically, a recently revived literature on hysteresis finds significant persistence in the effects of recessions and negative aggregate demand shocks (Blanchard et al. 2015; Martin et al. 2015).
The past 30 years has witnessed a worldwide decrease in real interest rates. We demonstrate that a large part of the fall in interest rates can be explained by changes in demography, which are as the result of a sudden fall in fertility rates across all of the advanced economies in the early 1970s.
Given that this is a panel on that quintessential Enlightenment thinker Adam Smith, I can think of no better way to begin my remarks than to invoke that most enlightened of modern economists, Kenneth Boulding, who in 1971 penned the delightful essay, “After Samuelson, Who Needs Adam Smith?”
When priests and princes lost their monopoly over the big questions of human existence over the course of the Enlightenment, philosophers, poets, and ordinary people struggled to find out the answers on their own.