Wednesday, November 20, 2019
What Can Neoclassical Theory Tell Us About Recessions (Serious Question)?
I will immediately note that I am referring to theory; my manuscript has a chapter on empirical work, and the econometric work I reference is largely "mainstream." Econometrics is just time series analysis, and is not really tied to any body of theory.
I am throwing this article out there on the slim chance that people respond to my query, either here. or on Twitter. Since this is more of a plea from ignorance than statements of fact, I am keeping this article very short.
However, I will outline the issues as I see it. One typical insight offered from neoclassical modelling is that a recession would be the result of some sort of shock. Although my argument is that recessions are hard to forecast, that seems to offer almost no information. We can usually see certain mechanisms behind a recession, as is discussed in my manuscript (which is volume one). So it's a hard sell to say that recessions are purely random processes.
We can get slightly more specific, such as having some sort of shock to the credit markets, which might be used to help explain the events of the Financial Crisis. But once again, the Financial Crisis, was hardly "random," market participants (including bankers within "market participants") followed behavioural patterns that Minsky described long ago. Saying that there is a "random shock" to credit markets offers a whole lot less information than Minsky's writings.
So I am left with the conundrum: what is worthwhile from neoclassical theory that is worthwhile putting into a second volume of a book on recessions?
(c) Brian Romanchuk 2019