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."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Robert Shiller rails against specialisation in economics (good read)

Shiller states (download the paper here HT: Andrew Leigh):

"Narrow specialization has its distinct advantages, of course: it facilitates rapid scientific progress, at least along directions that have been shown by earlier visionaries who did not specialize so narrowly. But a spirit of specialization in the profession has potential disadvantages as well. If specialization is too extreme, it has a tendency to lead to carrying original ideas too far, beyond their useful purpose. Specialization coupled with strong competitive pressures within academia leads to a situation in which academics often feel that they just do not have time to ponder broad issues and learn even basic simple facts outside their specialty. Their general knowledge may be embarrassingly limited, and so they may retreat into their own specialty and produce research which contributes in small ways to the development of the field, but fails to pay attention to the larger picture."