Former IMF Chief Economist and Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff made an interesting point on “economic history” at the Institute for New Economic Thinking conference.
Reflecting on a book he recently co-authored with Carmen Reinhart titled This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, Rogoff said that despite there being some superb financial scholars in the field like Barry Eichengreen, Christina Romer and others, there was just too little support for the field. He said that it was very rare to see an appointment of economic historians in university departments.
Rogoff said that in blocking the broader rooting of economic historians, “this may be an area where the inward looking nature, the triumphalism of theoretical macroeconomics, has had a little too much influence. History has had a lot to say…when we look at these very rare events [financial crises], very hard to calibrate them on normal data, even if you have the right. . .perfect model.”
I think Rogoff makes an important point here — and after much other discussion at this INET Conference — one does sense the tendency of the economics profession to want to avoid scrutiny and historical challenge.
— Steve Clemons