Friday, August 26, 2011

Prescott Talk

If you have never seen an Ed Prescott talk, here is your chance. Don't pay attention to how he's saying it, just listen closely. This is interesting, just to hear how he thinks about what he does.


  1. Bit of an awkward fellow, but always worth listening to. Brilliant guy and doesn't deserve the hate he tends to get in some circles.

    Great link

  2. Generations of Minnesota students say the same.

  3. Although a year ago, Prof W, you were dismissing his views about the financial crisis - that money and finance are irrelevant - as ridiculous.
    Prescott is a good rhetorician for sure. He does tell some good stories, but lets remember thats what they are. Econ is about parables that give some insight into the way the world works. Lets not confuse it with science.
    John Ksy has a nice article in this week's FT about modern econ.

  4. We are all mixed bags. I disagree with some of the things that Prescott says. But he is indeed a great scientist, and I and many others have learned a lot from him, and continue to do so.

  5. Anonymous

    Can you give a definition of "science" that excludes economics, but includes disciplines like astrophysics, climatology, ecology, and evolutionary biology?


  6. Here's the dictionary definition: The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

    This describes what economists do, and also what scientists do in these other fields you mention. Economics is intellectual, it's practical, it's systematic (we have particular methods that we apply repeatedly to different problems). We're uncovering structure, and studying regularities in behavior. We use observation - casual, data collection and other measurement - and we conduct experiments.

    If you think you have better methods, or some better empirical evidence to contribute, then you are free to fight for your ideas in the same systematic ways that all economists do. I'm not too sympathetic to armchair kibitzing though.

  7. Stiglitz wiped the floor with him. And with you. Hang your heads in shame. If you have any left.

  8. "Stiglitz wiped the floor with him. And with you. Hang your heads in shame. If you have any left."

    Not even close. Reality must be constantly disappointing to someone as confused as you.