The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Great column by Michael Pascoe on the perils of forecasting (and, ineluctably, Steve Keen)

A terrific column from Pascoe, who takes Access Economics to task. I would add that I have long argued that accurate over-the-horizon macro forecasting is a near-impossible task. As Pascoe says, the world is simply too complex. The RBA knows this, and probably regrets its move to publish precise GDP and inflation forecasts in the Statement of Monetary Policy. As I have observed before, the RBA looks to be doing everything it can to transition these point estimates from what might be called credible "projections" to vague signals about what distribution of economic possibilities the future holds. Specifically, they have dropped their assumption of the financial market's expectations of future cash rate movements, which until recently was an input into their forecasting models, and they have started to present the forecasts as wide ranges. And I am talking about sufficiently wide that they could connote increases or decreases in interest rates!