Wednesday, March 26, 2014

IS-LM vs. Minsky | LARS P. SYLL

IS-LM vs. Minsky | LARS P. SYLL:  The limitations of mechanical IS-LM"

IS-LM is typically set in a current values numéraire framework that definitely downgrades the importance of expectations and uncertainty — and a fortiori gives too large a role for interests as ruling the roost when it comes to investments and liquidity preferences. In this regard it is actually as bad as all the modern microfounded Neo-Walrasian-New-Keynesian models where Keynesian genuine uncertainty and expectations aren’t really modelled. Especially the two-dimensionality of Keynesian uncertainty — both a question of probability and “confidence” — has been impossible to incorporate into this framework, which basically presupposes people following the dictates of expected utility theory (high probability may mean nothing if the agent has low “confidence” in it). Reducing uncertainty to risk — implicit in most analyses building on IS-LM models — is nothing but hand waving."

There is no uncertainty.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Shadow rate

Summarizing monetary policy | Econbrowser and the use of the shadow rate.

 "A recent paper by Dora Xia, a UCSD graduate student who expects to complete her Ph.D. this spring, and Cynthia Wu, a former UCSD student who is now an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, makes several contributions to this literature. First, most previous applications of the shadow rate model have involved arduous numerical simulations to calculate its full predictions. By contrast, Wu and Xia develop a very simple closed-form expression that gives a very good approximation to the predictions of the model for the yield of any maturity. Here is a graph showing the estimate of the shadow rate that comes out of their approach. Up until 2009, this basically coincides with the observed fed funds rate, but since then, the implied shadow rate has been quite negative."

This can be used to assess whether monetary policy is appropriate and can be utilised to make forecasts about interest rates.  This could be a supplement to the Taylor Rule.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Surprise and Digression | The Leisure of the Theory Class:  An interesting area.  What is a "surprise"?  When thinking about economic expectations, the surprise is something that is unusual, it is something that is not expected.  Does this mean that it is at the tail of the probability distribution?  Does it mean something outside of that distribution?  Is it possible to use insights from other fields to get of a handle on this and assist in the understanding of crash risk?

"They propose that surprise be measured by the Kullback-Liebler divergence between the prior and the posterior. As with many good ideas, Itti and Baldi are not the first to propose this. C. L. Martin and G. Meeden did so in 1984 in an unpublished paper entitled: `The distance between the prior and the posterior distributions as a measure of surprise.’ Itti and Baldi go further and provide experimental support that this notion of surprise comports with human notions of surprise. Recently, Ely, Frankel and Kamenica in Economics, have also considered the issue of surprise, focusing instead on how best to release information so as to maximize interest."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

James Surowiecki for Democracy Journal: The Dismal Art

James Surowiecki reviews the history of forecasting and quotes.

"Its fitting that Friedman’s book starts with a financial crisis, namely the Panic of 1907, which he argues in some sense gave birth to modern forecasting. That panic began with a failed attempt by the financier Heinze brothers, Otto and Augustus, to corner the copper market. The collapse of their scheme drove institutions that had lent money to the Heinzes into bankruptcy and created a climate of fear that led to massive runs on New York banks and a series of bank failures, even as the Dow fell by almost half. More important, the crisis on Wall Street spilled over into the real economy, with industrial production taking a major hit and economic growth falling sharply. The crisis was shocking both because major panics were thought to be a thing of the past, and because the economic consequences of the crash seemed out of all proportion to the causes. And while there had obviously always been people on Wall Street trying to predict the future, the panic fueled people’s appetite for any information that could insulate them from market turmoil."

It sounds so like 2007...

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

New York Law

Felix-Salmon discusses why hedgies would rather Porta Rico's bonds were issued in New York than elsewhere.

So when you see hedge funds demanding that their new Puerto Rico bonds be issued under New York law, don’t kid yourself that they particularly value the protections that New York law gives them, or that they think that New York courts will allow them to recover most of their money in the event of default. Rather, they’re just hoping that Puerto Rico won’t bother defaulting on those bonds in the first place. And they might well be right about that.

It is more trouble (and expense) to default on these bonds than others.