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Monday, December 24, 2012

Smart Machines, A New Guide to Keynes, and The Inefficient Markets Hypothesis

Haven't read these papers yet, but looks like I should (I added open links when I could find them):

First, Sachs and Kotlikoff (anything to keep these two from writing about the deficit and the accumulated debt is, in my view, a plus):

Smart Machines and Long-Term Misery, by Jeffrey D. Sachs, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, NBER Working Paper No. 18629, Issued in December 2012: Are smarter machines our children’s friends? Or can they bring about a transfer from our relatively unskilled children to ourselves that leaves our children and, indeed, all our descendants – worse off?
This, indeed, is the dire message of the model presented here in which smart machines substitute directly for young unskilled labor, but complement older skilled labor. The depression in the wages of the young then limits their ability to save and invest in their own skill acquisition and physical capital. This, in turn, means the next generation of young, initially unskilled workers, encounter an economy with less human and physical capital, which further drives down their wages. This process stabilizes through time, but potentially entails each newborn generation being worse off than its predecessor.
We illustrate the potential for smart machines to engender long-term misery in a highly stylized two-period model. We also show that appropriate generational policy can be used to transform win-lose into win-win for all generations.

Next, Jordi Gali revisits Keynes:

Notes for a New Guide to Keynes (I): Wages, Aggregate Demand, and Employment, by Jordi Galí, NBER Working Paper No. 18651, Issued in December 2012 [open link]: I revisit the General Theory's discussion of the role of wages in employment determination through the lens of the New Keynesian model. The analysis points to the key role played by the monetary policy rule in shaping the link between wages and employment, and in determining the welfare impact of enhanced wage flexibility. I show that the latter is not always welfare improving.

Finally, Roger Farmer, Carine Nourry, and Alain Venditti on whether "competitive financial markets efficiently allocate risk" (according to this, they don't):

The Inefficient Markets Hypothesis: Why Financial Markets Do Not Work Well in the Real World, Roger E.A. Farmer, Carine Nourry, Alain Venditti, NBER Working Paper No. 18647, Issued in December 2012 [open link]: Existing literature continues to be unable to offer a convincing explanation for the volatility of the stochastic discount factor in real world data. Our work provides such an explanation. We do not rely on frictions, market incompleteness or transactions costs of any kind. Instead, we modify a simple stochastic representative agent model by allowing for birth and death and by allowing for heterogeneity in agents' discount factors. We show that these two minor and realistic changes to the timeless Arrow-Debreu paradigm are sufficient to invalidate the implication that competitive financial markets efficiently allocate risk. Our work demonstrates that financial markets, by their very nature, cannot be Pareto efficient, except by chance. Although individuals in our model are rational; markets are not.

    Posted by on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 09:21 AM in Academic Papers, Economics | Permalink  Comments (11)


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