Since the meltdown that so few saw coming, the economics profession has been roiled by questions of how it was that the profession could fail so spectacularly. The debate led the economist Paul Romer, presently of the World Bank, to write last year’s paper “Has Macroeconomics Failed Us?”, which caused an earthquake within the profession.
We followed the hubbub around the Romer paper and decided that this dialogue was certainly one that belonged in our pages. We asked our friend Jared Bernstein, who was Vice President Biden’s top economic adviser, to ask three prominent economists to consider: How did the macroeconomics profession miss the meltdown? And what broader questions are raised about how the discipline chooses to define and examine problems in the first place? Are macroeconomists even asking the right questions?
The fascinating and varied responses—from Benjamin Friedman of Harvard, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman—are below, preceded by Jared’s introduction.