星期四, 2月 23, 2006

經濟學裡的神話故事

Title: Famous Fables of Economics: Myths of Market Failures
Author: Daniel Spulber
Format: Hardcover, 320pp.
ISBN: 0631226745
Publisher: Blackwell PublishersPub. Date: August 2001

這是一本探討經濟學中許多著名"神話故事" (Fables) 的書.經濟學家向來就是講故事的高手, 即使目前主流經濟學界注重數理分析, 但是數學符號的背後如果沒有一個富涵經濟意義的故事, 並不能成為一篇經濟學的好文章.然而, 經濟學中亦充斥著許多 "神話故事". 在未經仔細的求證, 就被想當然耳地引用於各式各樣的論文, 教科書, 以及經濟課程的教學中. 最著名的例子, 就是 "燈塔的故事". 經濟學家談到公共財 (Public Goods) 時, 都會將燈塔當成一個不証自明的好例子. 聽起來似乎合理, 因為 (1) A 漁船使用燈塔時, 並不能排除 B 漁船使用燈塔 (not excludable); (2) A 漁船對燈塔的使用量並不會減少 B 漁船對燈塔的使用量 (nonrival). 因此, 如果政府不出面提供此服務, 燈塔是一個沒有任何私人機構願意提供的公共財. "燈塔的故事" 出現在許多經濟大師的作品中, 譬如: J.S. Mill(1848), A.C. Pigou(1938), 或是描繪於 P.A. Samuelson 暢銷的經濟學教科書中.

諾貝爾經濟學獎得主 Ronald H. Coase 在其 1974 年的大作 "The Lighthouse in Economics" 裡發現, 在英國的歷史上 (十七世紀), 歷經過一段燈塔是由私人建造, 擁有, 經營並有效收費的時光. 而這個例子戳破了所謂 "燈塔的神話".

另一些與最近十分風行的非傳統經濟理論如鎖定效應 (Lock-in effects) 或是網路外部性 (Network externalities)相關的"神話"則計有: "鍵盤的神話", "錄影帶的神話" 以及 "微軟的神話".

自從科普書 COMPLEXITY 付梓以來, Santa Fe Institute 的 W. Brian Arthur 儼然成為一門革命性經濟理論,如報酬遞增 (increasing returns), 鎖定效應, 網路外部性, 或是路徑相依 (path dependence) 的開山祖師. (Paul Keugman 對於 Arthur 的貢獻有相當深刻的批評, 詳見: http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/legend.html)

所謂的"網路外部性"係指當越多人使用同一項產品或服務, 會產生正的外部性, 使得更多人使用. 而"鎖定效應"正是某些歷史的偶然導致某種 (未必是) 最具效率或是最好用的技術或產品脫穎而出, 鎖定整個市場. 至於路徑相依就是指涉這種初期時不具影響性的歷史偶然決定了未來某產品的市場佔有率.

為了闡述這類現象, 最常被舉出的例子就是 QWERTY 鍵盤凌駕於 Dvorak 鍵盤, VHS 錄影帶擊敗 BETA 錄影帶, 以及微軟產品之大獲全勝於軟體市場. 然而 Stan J. Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis 在 1990 年刊登於 Journal of Law and Economics 的文章中, 分析了 QWERTY 鍵盤, VHS 錄影帶, 以及微軟產品的例子都只是經濟學家未經實証, 想當然耳的神話.


除了這幾則神話之外, 該書還收集了歸類於不同領域的許多神話, 例如:

(1) The Fable of the Turnpike (free rider problem)
(2) The Fable of the Bees (Externalities)
(3) The Fable of Fisher Body (Contract hold-up)
(4) The Fable of Sharecropping (Moral hazard)
(5) The Fable of Standard Oil (Predation)
(6) The Fable of Alcoa (Foreclosure)
(7) The Fable of Liberty Ships (Barriers to entry)
(8) The Fable of Tulip Mania (Speculative bubbles)

其中文章多為原已刊登在 Journal of Law and Economics 上的大作, 如 Coase(1974,2000), Cheung(1973), Liebowitz and Margolis (1990), Casadesus-Masanell and Spulber(2000), McGee(1958), 以及 Lopatka and Godek(1992). 亦有刊登於 Journal of Political Economy 或是 Journal of Economic History 的文章.

總之, 這是一本文集, 收集了許多有趣(且沒有數學) 的文章. 在向各位推薦之餘, 有一件事情值得一提: 戳破了所謂 "經濟學的神話", 並不意味其背後的理論有錯或是不重要. 譬如說 戳破了 "燈塔的神話", 並不代表公共財理論有誤, 打破了QWERTY 鍵盤的迷思, 也不隱含著網路外部性現象不重要. 經濟學家所要注意的應該是: 避免誤用一些自以為是, 想當然耳的故事當作例子, 大膽推想, 更應小心求證才是.

星期五, 2月 17, 2006

經濟學是什麼?

楔子

當同學徵詢我是否能幫杜鵑花節特刊寫一段對高中生介紹有關經濟學的文章時, 我本來是不敢答應的. 經濟系的其他老師都比我有資格寫這樣的文章. 然而, 由於我具有管理學院的背景, 而負責同學又希望能夠有一篇比較經濟系與管理學院的文章, 我便硬著頭皮應允了.

回想我的求學歷程處處充滿巧合. 高中時以法律系為第一志願, 卻在繳交志願卡的前一天, 在同學的慫恿下, 把管理學院的科系填到法律系之前, 最後就糊裡糊塗地進了台大會計系. 然而, 我對會計一直提不起興趣, 碰巧當時管理學院還未搬回校總區, 地利之便, 我就在法學院修了許多經濟系的課程, 漸漸讀出興趣, 大學畢業後就進入台大經研所就讀, 進而出國取得經濟博士. 如果我在十多年前選填志願時有機會了解經濟學與管理學門之異同, 我可能就不必在會計系度過痛苦的四年. 因此, 我很樂意利用這個機會和大家聊一聊經濟學是什麼以及經濟系與管院科系的不同處, 希望大家對於經濟系能有更深的一層認識.


經濟學是什麼?

經濟學是社會科學, 而社會科學與自然科學並無兩樣, 唯一不同的是, 自然科學研究自然現象, 經濟學則研究社會現象.” (引自吳聰敏, 經濟學是什麼?)

這段話簡潔地說明經濟學是什麼. 文字中傳遞了兩個訊息: 第一, 經濟學是一門科學; 第二, 經濟學研究社會現象. 經濟社會所衍伸的一切經濟現象諸如貨幣,金融,價格, 與經濟成長等等, 當然是經濟學的研究對象, 除此之外, 舉凡生育, 吸毒, 贈與, 愛情, 作弊, 法律, 犯罪, 環保, 國際關係等與人的行為有關的社會現象, 也是經濟學研究的主題. 你或許會問, 經濟現象以外的其他社會現象分別隸屬於社會學, 法學, 政治學等其他學科的研究範疇, 在這些相同的研究主題下, 是什麼讓經濟學有別於其他學科? 答案就是, 經濟學是一門科學. 科學的定義或許眾說紛紜, 我的版本是:

科學(或著說是科學的方法)是對現象的仔細觀察, 大膽的提出假說, 建立理論以解釋現象, 以及客觀地檢驗理論, 以證據來驗證理論. 而正確的科學態度則是對任何已建立的理論保持存疑的態度.

“...一開始時, 某一個現象通常有多種解釋. 經過一段時間的研究之後, 其中某一個看法(理論)會勝出. 提出這個理論的科學家(或支持這個理論的科學家們) 之所以能打敗其他人的看法, 靠的不是能言善道, 而是提出証據. 只有實實在在的証據才能說服別人.” (引自吳聰敏, 經濟學是什麼?)

舉例來說, 1997 年爆發亞洲金融危機, 形形色色的經濟理論就被應用在解釋金融危機. 有人認為是因為固定匯率制度與經濟基本面不一致導致投機客的攻擊; 有人強調是由於國與國之間相互傳染所造成. 還有一種說法則是歸咎於東亞各國不健全的金融體系. 哪一個理論正確, 目前雖然尚無定論, 但是隨著研究工具與方法的不斷精進, 某些理論終將被淘汰, 某些理論或許會勝出. 這就是經濟學迷人之處: 你可以透過經濟學的訓練, 以經濟學家特有的直覺, 不受約束地思考經濟現象與社會現象.

簡而言之, 經濟系的訓練並不是要讓你牢記一大堆理論與模型, 而是希望每個經濟系學生能夠學習思考推理的方法, 擁有一套基本的分析工具. 當你面對五花八門的社會現象與繁雜的公共政策辯論時, 能夠提出一個異於一般社會大眾的獨到經濟學見解. 修習經濟學後, 對於以下的諸多問題, 你可能會有不同的體會與心得. 例如台灣發生 SARS 疫情時, 口罩那裡去了? 油蟲哪裡來? 多元入學了, 為什麼壓力還是那麼大? 流浪教師哪裡來? 為什麼我不該響應拒喝星巴克咖啡的運動?

在此, 說一個小故事給大家聽: 義大利城鎮阿布拉吉的鼠患嚴重, 衛生官員於是宣佈: “為了鼓勵撲滅老鼠, 凡是撲殺老鼠的民眾, 可憑鼠尾巴換錢”. 結果是, 民眾不只不撲滅老鼠, 反而在地下室養起老鼠. 毋庸置疑, 你我都知道這真是一個愚蠢的政策啊! 但是你懂得 "為什麼" 這是一個愚蠢的政策嗎? 你可知道經濟學對於這個政策提供了一個怎樣的解讀嗎? 歡迎加入台大經濟!


經濟學和其它管院學門的差別

在台大的管理學院中, 有四個主要的學系, 依照這些學門與經濟學相關的程度, 由最不相關排到最密切相關, 依次為: 會計, 工管, 國企與財金. 會計是一門框架最小, 技術層面最高, 卻也是提供你思考機會最少的科系. 如果你是一個保守穩健的學生, 習慣於接受別人提供你的思考框架, 會計是一個不錯的選擇. 工管所提供的就是大家所熟悉的管理學. 在某些經濟學家眼中, 管理比較像是一門藝術, 而不是一門科學. 因此, 管理學適合具有領導統馭天賦, 喜歡與人互動的學生來念. 財金與經濟的關係最為密切, 事實上, 財金學門可以算是經濟學門下的一個次學門, 亦即財務經濟學. 至於國企系, 當我還在唸大學的時候, 叫做國貿系, 本來也是經濟學門下的一個次學門: 國際經濟學. 後來該系漸漸向管理學的方向靠攏, 演變至今, 如同工管與財金的混合體, 與經濟學漸行漸遠.

經過這樣一個簡短但帶有我個人偏見的介紹, 對於 "我是否適合唸經濟系" 這樣的問題, 或許答案已然呼之欲出. 如果你的性向比較專注於技術, 而對於大方向, 大環境沒有什麼興趣, 你就該去選擇小框框的系. 反之, 如果你是一個喜歡思考, 關懷人文社會, 不希望大學教育單純地變成職業訓練的人, 經濟學將能提供你培養思考的深度與廣度. 有人喜歡開經濟學家的玩笑, 取笑說四個經濟學家會有五種不同的主張. 這或許代表經濟學研究仍然缺乏相當一致的共識, 但這不就反映了經濟學是一門思考框架較大, 可以提供你多元角度來關照經濟社會的學科?

對於與經濟學最為密切的財金系, 我個人認為也是一個不錯的選擇, 然而, 由於財金只是經濟學的一支, 經濟系卻擁有財務經濟學之外, 許多其他有趣的選擇, 例如經濟發展, 財政學, 貿易理論與政策, 國際金融, 勞動經濟學, 賽局理論, 產業經濟學, 法律經濟學, 公共選擇, 環境經濟學, 經濟成長理論, 政治經濟學, 經濟預測等等. 此外, 經濟系亦提供財金學門的課程如投資學與財務管理. 因此, 一樣是享受經濟學思考的樂趣, 要在精品專賣店 (財金系) 或是百貨公司 (經濟系) 購物, 就是你個人喜好的問題了. 我的衷心建議是, 時值青春年華, 何不去一個有多樣選擇的地方?


關於經濟學, 我還想知道更多...

還想知道更多有關經濟學的討論嗎? 我在這裡提供一些書籍與網路上的文章,
也許有助於你對經濟學有更多的認識.

(a) 台大經濟系吳聰敏教授在其網站上一連串與經濟學相關的文章
http://ccms.ntu.edu.tw/~ntut019/edu/edu.html

(b) 台大經濟系駱明慶教授與中山政經系劉孟奇教授的部落格
http://blog.yam.com/lakatos

(c) 這個不科學的年代, by Richard Feynman, (吳程遠譯), 天下文化.

(d) 挑戰大師: 一個經濟學家的觀點, by Robert J. Barro (譚家瑜譯), 天下文化

(e) 諾貝爾之路: 十三位經濟獎得主的故事, by William Breit and Roger W. Spencer (黃進發譯), 天下文化

(f) 資本主義與自由, by Milton Friedman (藍科正, 黃美齡譯), 萬象圖書

(g) 生命中的經濟遊戲, by Steven E. Landsburg (魯樂中譯), 時報出版.

(h) 公平賽局, by Steven E. Landsburg (蔡繼光譯), 金錢文化

真的有 "諾貝爾經濟學獎"嗎?

看到文章標題的人一定會想, 這家伙是不是瘋了, 怎麼會提出這麼一個白痴的問題. 事實上, 如果你曾經仔細地瀏覽過諾貝爾獎的正式網站 (Official Website), 你將發現, 一般的諾貝爾獎, 如諾貝爾物理獎, 是稱作 The Nobel Prize in Physics.又如化學獎, 醫學獎, 及文學獎, 分別稱作 The Nobel Prize in Chemistry, The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 以及 The Nobel Prize in Literature. 是故, 我們所朗朗上口的 "諾貝爾經濟學獎" 是否就是 "The Nobel Prize in Economics" ? 答案是否定的, 該獎項的正式名稱是 The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

<名稱重要嗎?>
1968 年, Bank of Sweden 創設了一個獎項, 藉以獎勵傑出的經濟學家, 其全名為 "以紀念諾貝爾先生為由的瑞典銀行經濟學獎". 你也許想問, 反正就是頒發給受到肯定的經濟學家, 叫什麼名字有什麼相干? 加拿大魁北克大學蒙特婁校區歷史系教授 Yves Gingras 對此有其特別的見解. 他認為, 該獎項是以 "貍貓換太子" 的方式, 將諾貝爾獎的光環 (symbolic capital) "偷渡" 到經濟學這門學科上.

首先, 我們要問的是, 如果該獎項的初衷只是為了獎勵傑出的經濟學家, 為何不以有名的經濟學家如 Adam Smith 命名, 而要搞個 ''in Memory of Alfred Nobel"? 事實上, 該獎項的成立與 The Nobel Foundation 並無直接關係. 原因就是, 各個專業學科都有其專業的獎項, 卻只有諾貝爾獎具有與眾不同的公領域影響力 (public impact) 與知名度. 譬如說, 數學界的 "Fields Medal", 除了數學家之外, 又有多少普羅大眾聽過這個獎項? 然而, 諾貝爾獎就大大地不同了, 一方面, 得獎者在獲獎後, 頓時聲名大噪; 另一方面, 得以頒發諾貝爾獎的學科, 亦因而受到大眾的肯定. 試想, 能夠位列諾貝爾 "仙班", 自然是對人類社會具有偉大貢獻的學科. 於是乎, 在 Bank of Sweden 處心積慮的經營下, 先是在名稱上偷龍轉鳳, 接著, 除了其獎金來源是來自 Bank of Sweden 之外, Bank of Sweden 說服 The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 以及 The Nobel Foundation 讓該獎項由提名過程, 遴選, 以及頒發完全比照諾貝爾獎. 最後大家終於被洗腦成功, 一個"紀念諾貝爾的瑞典銀行經濟獎" 就這樣 "偷渡" 成 "諾貝爾經濟學獎". 經濟學, 也如此不付吹灰之力地就登上了社會科學中, 唯一擁有諾貝爾獎桂冠的寶座. 而經濟學家也因此而志得意滿, 睥睨於社會科學群雄之中.

<以史為鑑>
許多專業學科曾經探詢 The Nobel Foundation, 期望能夠成立一個該學科的諾貝爾獎, 卻被基金會以不符諾貝爾先生初衷為由給拒絕了. 而經濟學, 何其幸運地在 Bank of Sweden 的操作下, 擁有一個 "偽諾貝爾獎". 然而, 諾貝爾的後人 Peter Nobel 曾對媒體表示, 其家族認為對於經濟學獎應該與其他真正的諾貝爾獎有個明確的區分, 經濟學獎以 "The Nobel Prize in Economics" 之姿在外欺世盜名, 顯然是侵占了諾貝爾獎這塊金字招牌 (an intrusion in the trademark). (參見 Chronicle of Higher Education, December 7 2001).

也許你覺得不過是個名稱嗎, 有什麼大不了的? 即使叫做 "The Adam Smith Prize of Economics" 也不會減損我們對 the Laureates 的尊敬. 只是當我們了解這段歷史後, 除了自嘆幸運外, 什麼 "社會科學唯一具有諾貝爾獎殊榮" 的自誇之語, 還是少說為妙!

Reference:
Yves Gingras, “Beautiful Mind, Ugly Deception: The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economics Science”, post-autistic economics review, issue no. 17, December 4, 2002, article 4.

IMF 首席經濟學家給諾貝爾經濟獎得主的一封公開信

Dear Joe:

Like you, I came to my position in Washington from the cloisters of a tenured position at a top-ranking American University. Like you, I came because I care. Unlike you, I am humbled by the World Bank and IMF staff I meet each day. I meet people who are deeply committed to bringing growth to the developing world and to alleviating poverty. I meet superb professionals who regularly work 80-hour weeks, who endure long separations from their families. Fund staff have been shot at in Bosnia, slaved for weeks without heat in the brutal Tajikistan winter, and have contracted deadly tropical diseases in Africa. These people are bright, energetic, and imaginative. Their dedication humbles me, but in your speeches, in your book, you feel free to carelessly slander them.

=> 此開場白主要是反駁 Stiglitz 對於 IMF 工作人員無血無眼淚指控


Joe, you may not remember this, but in the late 1980s, I once enjoyed the privilege of being in the office next to yours for a semester. We young economists all looked up to you in awe. One of my favorite stories from that era is a lunch with you and our former colleague, Carl Shapiro, at which the two of you started discussing whether Paul Volcker merited your vote for a tenured appointment at Princeton. At one point, you turned to me and said, "Ken, you used to work for Volcker at the Fed. Tell me, is he really smart?" I responded something to the effect of "Well, he was arguably the greatest Federal Reserve Chairman of the twentieth century" To which you replied, "But is he smart like us?" I wasn't sure how to take it, since you were looking across at Carl, not me, when you said it.My reason for telling this story is two-fold. First, perhaps the Fund staff who you once blanket-labeled as "third rate"—and I guess you meant to include World Bank staff in this judgment also—will feel better if they know they are in the same company as the great Paul Volcker. Second, it is emblematic of the supreme self-confidence you brought with you to Washington, where you were confronted with policy problems just a little bit more difficult than anything in our mathematical models. This confidence brims over in your new 282 page book. Indeed, I failed to detect a single instance where you, Joe Stiglitz, admit to having been even slightly wrong about a major real world problem. When the U.S. economy booms in the 1990s, you take some credit. But when anything goes wrong, it is because lesser mortals like Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan or then-Treasury Secretary Rubin did not listen to your advice.

=> 這一段描繪 Stiglitz 的自大與傲慢 (你可以罵我們 IMF staff 無血無眼淚, 是第三流的經濟學家, 難道我就不能批評你自大與傲慢嗎)

以下幾段對我而言, 大多堪稱良性的知識探討:

Let me make three substantive points. First, there are many ideas and lessons in your book with which we at the Fund would generally agree, though most of it is old hat. For example, we completely agree that there is a need for a dramatic change in how we handle situations where countries go bankrupt. IMF First Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger—who you paint as a villainess for her 1980s efforts to promote trade liberalization in World Bank policy—has forcefully advocated a far reaching IMF proposal. At our Davos [World Economic Forum] panel in February you sharply criticized the whole idea. Here, however, you now want to take credit as having been the one to strongly advance it first. Your book is long on innuendo and short on footnotes. Can you document this particular claim?Second, you put forth a blueprint for how you believe the IMF can radically improve its advice on macroeconomic policy. Your ideas are at best highly controversial, at worst, snake oil. This leads to my third and most important point. In your role as chief economist at the World Bank, you decided to become what you see as a heroic whistleblower, speaking out against macroeconomic policies adopted during the 1990s Asian crisis that you believed to be misguided. You were 100% sure of yourself, 100% sure that your policies were absolutely the right ones. In the middle of a global wave of speculative attacks, that you yourself labeled a crisis of confidence, you fueled the panic by undermining confidence in the very institutions you were working for. Did it ever occur to you for a moment that your actions might have hurt the poor and indigent people in Asia that you care about so deeply? Do you ever lose a night's sleep thinking that just maybe, Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, Bob Rubin, and Stan Fischer had it right—and that your impulsive actions might have deepened the downturn or delayed—even for a day—the recovery we now see in Asia?

=> 此段有三大重點
1) 強調 IMF 具有反省能力, 並指責 Stiglitz 對政策的看法前後矛盾
2) 強調 Stiglitz 所建議的政策藥方仍具爭議 (在後面段落裡 Rogoff 有更詳盡的批評)
3) 如果亞洲金融危機真如 Stiglitz 宣稱, 是因道德危機與信心不足所引起, 則當 Stiglitz 以 World Bank 首席經濟學家的身分公開唱衰 IMF 的政策處方無效, 顯然造成市場更為嚴重的信心崩潰


Let's look at Stiglitzian prescriptions for helping a distressed emerging market debtor, the ideas you put forth as superior to existing practice. Governments typically come to the IMF for financial assistance when they are having trouble finding buyers for their debt and when the value of their money is falling. The Stiglitzian prescription is to raise the profile of fiscal deficits, that is, to issue more debt and to print more money. You seem to believe that if a distressed government issues more currency, its citizens will suddenly think it more valuable. You seem to believe that when investors are no longer willing to hold a government's debt, all that needs to be done is to increase the supply and it will sell like hot cakes. We at the IMF—no, make that we on the Planet Earth—have considerable experience suggesting otherwise. We earthlings have found that when a country in fiscal distress tries to escape by printing more money, inflation rises, often uncontrollably. Uncontrolled inflation strangles growth, hurting the entire populace but, especially the indigent. The laws of economics may be different in your part of the gamma quadrant, but around here we find that when an almost bankrupt government fails to credibly constrain the time profile of its fiscal deficits, things generally get worse instead of better.Joe, throughout your book, you condemn the IMF because everywhere it seems to be, countries are in trouble. Isn't this a little like observing that where there are epidemics, one tends to find more doctors?

=> 這一段批評 Stiglitz 所開出來的藥方之一: 增加財政赤字


You cloak yourself in the mantle of John Maynard Keynes, saying that the aim of your policies is to maintain full employment. We at the IMF care a lot about employment. But if a government has come to us, it is often precisely because it is in an unsustainable position, and we have to look not just at the next two weeks, but at the next two years and beyond. We certainly believe in the lessons of Keynes, but in a modern, nuanced way. For example, the post-1975 macroeconomics literature—which you say we are tone deaf to—emphasizes the importance of budget constraints across time. It does no good to pile on IMF debt as a very short-run fix if it makes the not-so-distant future drastically worse. By the way, in blatant contradiction to your assertion, IMF programs frequently allow for deficits, indeed they did so in the Asia crisis. If its initial battlefield medicine was wrong, the IMF reacted, learning from its mistakes, quickly reversing course.No, instead of Keynes, I would cloak your theories in the mantle of Arthur Laffer and other extreme expositors of 1980s Reagan-style supply-side economics. Laffer believed that if the government would only cut tax rates, people would work harder, and total government revenues would rise. The Stiglitz-Laffer theory of crisis management holds that countries need not worry about expanding deficits, as in so doing, they will increase their debt service capacity more than proportionately. George Bush, Sr. once labeled these ideas "voodoo economics." He was right. I will concede, Joe, that real-world policy economics is complicated, and just maybe further research will prove you have a point. But what really puzzles me is how you could be so sure that you are 100 percent right, so sure that you were willing to "blow the whistle" in the middle of the crisis, sniping at the paramedics as they tended the wounded. Joe, the academic papers now coming out in top journals are increasingly supporting the interest defense policies of former First Deputy Managing Director Stan Fischer and the IMF that you, from your position at the World Bank, ignominiously sabotaged. Do you ever think that just maybe, Joe Stiglitz might have screwed up? That, just maybe, you were part of the problem and not part of the solution?

=> 這兩段反駁 Stiglitz 責備 IMF 不關心失業的指控 並再次批評 Stiglitz 擴張性政策的藥方


You say that the IMF is tone deaf and never listens to its critics. I know that is not true, because in my academic years, I was one of dozens of critics that the IMF bent over backwards to listen to. For example, during the 1980s, I was writing then-heretical papers on the moral hazard problem in IMF/World Bank lending, an issue that was echoed a decade later in the Meltzer report. Did the IMF shut out my views as potentially subversive to its interests? No, the IMF insisted on publishing my work in its flagship research publication Staff Papers. Later, in the 1990s, Stan Fischer twice invited me to discuss my views on fixed exchange rates and open capital markets (I warned of severe risks). In the end, Stan and I didn't agree on everything, but I will say that having entered his office 99 percent sure that I was right, I left somewhat humbled by the complexities of price stabilization in high-inflation countries. If only you had crossed over 19th Street from the Bank to the Fund a little more often, Joe, maybe things would have turned out differently

=> 這一段反駁 Stiglitz 譴責IMF 不聽批評與建言的指控


I don't have time here to do justice to some of your other offbeat policy prescriptions, but let me say this about the transition countries. You accuse the IMF of having "lost Russia." Your analysis of the transition in Russia reads like a paper in which a theorist abstracts from all the major problems, and focuses only on the couple he can handle. You neglect entirely the fact that when the IMF entered Russia, the country was not only in the middle of an economic crisis, it was in the middle of a social and political crisis as well.

=> 這一段反駁 Stiglitz 譴責IMF 的政策傷害俄羅斯的指控


Throughout your book, you betray an unrelenting belief in the pervasiveness of market failures, and a staunch conviction that governments can and will make things better. You call us "market fundamentalists." We do not believe that markets are always perfect, as you accuse. But we do believe there are many instances of government failure as well and that, on the whole, government failure is a far bigger problem than market failure in the developing world. Both World Bank President Jim Wolfensohn and IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler have frequently pointed to the fundamental importance of governance and institutions in development. Again, your alternative medicines, involving ever-more government intervention, are highly dubious in many real-world settings.

=> 這一段闡述市場失靈與政府失靈的概念. 事實上, 以我個人理念, Rogoff 的政府失靈論述較具說服性


I haven't had time, Joe, to check all the facts in your book, but I do have some doubts. On page 112, you have Larry Summers (then Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary) giving a "verbal" tongue lashing to former World Bank Vice-President Jean-Michel Severino. But, Joe, these two have never met. How many conversations do you report that never happened? You give an example where an IMF Staff report was issued prior to the country visit. Joe, this isn't done; I'd like to see your documentation. On page 208, you slander former IMF number two, Stan Fischer, implying that Citibank may have dangled a job offer in front of him in return for his cooperation in debt renegotiations. Joe, Stan Fischer is well known to be a person of unimpeachable integrity. Of all the false inferences and innuendos in this book, this is the most outrageous. I'd suggest you should pull this book off the shelves until this slander is corrected.

=> 這一段主要是在譴責 Stiglitz 在書中的不實論述


Joe, as an academic, you are a towering genius. Like your fellow Nobel Prize winner, John Nash, you have a "beautiful mind." As a policymaker, however, you were just a bit less impressive.Other than that, I thought it was a pretty good book.Sincerely yours,

Ken

About Macroeconomics

By K.D. Hoover

1) What in general is the relationship between rough-and-ready empirical generalizations (the stylized facts) and models that appear to imply them?

2) What is the correspondence between the variables in the theory and the qualitatively distinct variables that empirically observed?

3) What quantitative implications does a model know to be unrealistic in some dimensions have for measured economic data?

4) How can one judge the quantitative success of an unrealistic model?

5) In what sense can a macroeconomic model be regard as causal, and how can its causal structure be related to policy?

6) How can we assess whether the causal structure implicit in a macroeconomic model corresponds to the causal structure of the world itself?

7) Is either aggregation strategy an adequate microfoundation for macroeconomics?

8) Are microfoundations for macroeconomics essential or even possible?

星期四, 2月 16, 2006

What is research all about

Here is an old joke about academic research papers.


(1)" It has long been known "
= I didn't look up the original reference.

(2) " A definite trend is evident "
= These data are practically meaningless.

(3)" Of great theoretical and practical importance "
= Interesting to me.

(4) " While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to these questions "
= An unsuccessful experiment but I still have to get it published.

(5) " Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study "
= The results of the others didn't make any sense.

(6) " Typical results are shown "
= The best results are shown.

(7) " These results will be shown in a subsequent report "
= I might get around to this sometime if I'm pushed.

(8) " The most reliable results are those obtained by Jones "
= He was my graduate assistant.

(9) " It is believed that "
= I think

(10) " It is generally believed that "
= A couple of other guys think so ,too.

(11) " It is clear that much additional work will be required before completely understanding occurs "
= I don't understand it.

(12) " Correct within an order of magnitude "
= Wrong

(13) " It is hoped that this study will stimulate further investigations in this field "
= This is a lousy paper, but so are all the others on this miserable topic.

(14) " Thanks are due to Joe Blotz for assistance with the experiment and to George Frink for valuable assistance "
= Blotz did the work and Frink explained to me what it meant.

(15) " A careful analysis of obtainable data "
= Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over a glass of beer.