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WX
04-21-2013, 06:38 AM
Has this been cited here? The powers of Excel and how easy it is to stuff up something big.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22223190


This week, economists have been astonished to find that a famous academic paper often used to make the case for austerity cuts contains major errors. Another surprise is that the mistakes, by two eminent Harvard professors, were spotted by a student doing his homework.



Thomas chose Growth in a Time of Debt. It was getting a lot of attention, but intuitively, he says, he was dubious about its findings.
Some key figures tackling the global recession found this paper a useful addition to the debate at the heart of which is this key question: is it best to let debt increase in the hope of stimulating economic growth to get out of the slump, or is it better to cut spending and raise taxes aggressively to get public debt under control?
EU commissioner Olli Rehn and influential US Republican politician Paul Ryan have both quoted a 90% debt-to-GDP limit to support their austerity strategies.
But while US politicians were arguing over whether to inject more stimulus into the economy, the euro was creaking under the strain of forced austerity, and a new coalition government in the UK was promising to raise taxes and cut spending to get the economy under control - Thomas Herndon's homework assignment wasn't going well.
No matter how he tried, he just couldn't replicate Reinhart and Rogoff's results


After some correspondence, Reinhart and Rogoff provided Thomas with the actual working spreadsheet they'd used to obtain their results. "Everyone says seeing is believing, but I almost didn't believe my eyes," he says.
Thomas called his girlfriend over to check his eyes weren't deceiving him.
Continue reading the main story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22223190#story_continues_3) “Start Quote
New Zealand's single year, 1951, at -8% growth is held up with the same weight as Britain's nearly 20 years in the high public debt category at 2.5% growth”
Prof Michael Ash
But no, he was correct - he'd spotted a basic error in the spreadsheet. The Harvard professors had accidentally only included 15 of the 20 countries under analysis in their key calculation (of average GDP growth in countries with high public debt).
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada and Denmark were missing.
Oops.



This is a follow on story about Excel.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22213219
Both a good read indeed.

MiddleAgesMan
04-21-2013, 08:12 AM
Good luck with this. They were too busy bickering when I posted this Friday afternoon (post #27):

http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?162144-The-Reinhart-Rogoff-austerity-fail

WX
04-21-2013, 05:00 PM
Ah I see it has been posted.:)

Ian McColgin
04-21-2013, 06:56 PM
Saw the earlier but this was no surprise to many. Also no surprise is the utter lack of humility or retraction or admission of error. The Right is like the Roman Church, always correct regardless of the facts.

George Jung
04-21-2013, 07:02 PM
Isn't Harvard liberal?

Donn
04-21-2013, 07:11 PM
Saw the earlier but this was no surprise to many. Also no surprise is the utter lack of humility or retraction or admission of error. The Right is like the Roman Church, always correct regardless of the facts.

Are Reinhart and Rogoff righties?

Ian McColgin
04-21-2013, 08:01 PM
Harvard is very mixed. My friends and former classmates who went on to teach there are distinctly right, but thoughtful. There are also lefties there. Like any university except Baylor.

And like the thinking righties at Harvard, our favorite banking couple are bright. They are righties but they are not themselves total jerks. They just rationalize and justify the policies of right wing jerks in the global concentration of wealth. They are finance rather than manufacturing Albert Speer types.

They have, by the way, published a rebuttal that they are right anyway, showing a claimed similarity of their work to others . . . without the cliff.

George Jung
04-21-2013, 09:18 PM
Ooooh, did you have your pinkie finger hyperextended when you were slopping that thick coat on with your broad brush, Norman? Hmmmm?

Oh, and ya have a lisp, and ya look funny.

Phillip Allen
04-21-2013, 09:22 PM
funny

George Jung
04-21-2013, 11:37 PM
Bad news, Norman - that 'hole' your were chuckling into wasn't my 'stereotype hole'......

might want to retreat, and re-assess your position. But thanks - you've seemingly cured my 'failure to progress'...;) (but I feel much better now, thank you)

johnw
04-22-2013, 01:38 AM
Bad news, Norman - that 'hole' your were chuckling into wasn't my 'stereotype hole'......

might want to retreat, and re-assess your position. But thanks - you've seemingly cured my 'failure to progress'...;) (but I feel much better now, thank you)

Or, you could deal with the fact that Hahvahd isn't the stereotype you imagine it to be. Some of the most influential libertarianism of the last quarter century came out of Harvard.

George Jung
04-22-2013, 07:50 PM
Or, you could deal with the fact that Hahvahd isn't the stereotype you imagine it to be. Some of the most influential libertarianism of the last quarter century came out of Harvard.

Or maybe when Norman and I are having a lil' fun, you could stay out of it.

George Jung
04-22-2013, 07:57 PM
Sure ya have! I"m a product of my environment - snip at me, and it can set the tone.

With that in mind, I'm expecting more kind and gentle.

johnw
04-22-2013, 10:09 PM
Or maybe when Norman and I are having a lil' fun, you could stay out of it.

Nah, I don't think I will.