Saturday, December 31, 2016

Jason Smith — Chris Dillow, information equilibrium is the framework you're looking for

I think Chris Dillow makes a fine point at the end of his review of The Econocracy about the role of the media with regard to how macroeconomics is disseminated and perceived. I just wanted to add a bit to something he said earlier in his post regarding teaching economics:
For example, some important basic facts in macroeconomics are that: there’s no such thing as a “representative firm” (see this great paper (pdf) by Nick Bloom and colleagues); that GDP growth in developed nations is often stable but interrupted by occasional crises; and that recessions are unpredictable. The sort of theory that can account for these facts is very tricky. A shift away from equilibrium theories towards complexity, evolutionary models and agent-based modelling would require massive changes for which students and perhaps academics are ill-prepared.
I'd like to proffer the information equilibrium/statistical equilibrium framework as a theory that can account for these facts without being "tricky"....
Awhile ago, I put together an outline of an "Economics 101" course that could be taught using the information transfer framework. You might think the math is tricky, but overall it can be understood in terms of the regular supply and demand diagrams with a couple changes: there's another "solution" where supply and demand are tightly linked and move together, non-ideal information transfer turns the supply and demand curves into bounds, and to understand macro you might have to look at ensembles of diagrams (a picture from this link is at the top of this post).

Since this isn't throwing out all of ordinary economics and has a simple diagrammatic representation, it might stand a chance. And it keeps all the hooks for complexity and agent-based modeling. You can even use the framework to understand the classic microeconomic experiments (here, here) and do real forecasting making it more empirical in light of the "credibility revolution".

But one important aspect of the information transfer framework is its plurality. It's a framework, not a specific theory. While I have taken to writing my own models in this framework, there is nothing preventing you from writing down a New Keynesian DSGE model, a stock-flow consistent model, "market monetarism", or even understanding completely different schools of economics.
This last paragraph is significant because it allows for a plurality of approaches in economics in terms of a single framework, where this is hardly possible now with no overarching framework in terms of which economics is pursued as a science.

Information Transfer Economics
Chris Dillow, information equilibrium is the framework you're looking for
Jason Smith

See also

Information transfer economics is getting some traction.

Information transfer economics: a year in review, and thanks


Ryan Harris said...

Mosler got a new MMT article published in a mainstream journal...

Tom Hickey said...

Woo hoo!