The price puzzle, an increase in the price level associated with a contractionary monetary shock, is investigated in a rich, 12-variable SVAR in which various factors that have been mooted as solutions are considered jointly. SVARs for the pre-1980 and post-1990 periods are identified empirically using a graph-theoretic causal search algorithm combined with formal tests of the implied overidentifying restrictions. In this SVAR, the pre-1980 price puzzle depends on the characterization of monetary policy, and the post-1990 price puzzle is statistically insignificant. Commonly suggested theoretical resolutions to the price puzzle are shown to have causal implications inconsistent with the data.
An intermediate macroeconomics textbook that stresses using real-world data and elementary statistics to understand the economy.
Recent debates over the nature causation, casual inference, and the uses of causal models in counterfactual analysis, involving inter alia Nancy Cartwright (Hunting Causes and Using Them), James Woodward (Making Things Happen) and Judea Pearl (Causation) hinge on how causality is represented in models. Economists’ indigenous approach to causal representation goes back to the work of Herbert Simon with the Cowles Commission in the early 1950s. The paper explicates a scheme for the representation of causal structure, inspired by Simon and shows how this representation sheds light on some important debates in the philosophy of causation. This structural account is compared to Woodward’s manipulability account. It is used to evaluate the recent debates – particularly, with respect to the nature of causal structure, the identity of causes, causal independence, and modularity. Special attention is given to modeling issues that arise in empirical economics.
The transcript of a panel discussion marking the fiftieth anniversary of John Muth’s “Rational Expectations and the Theory of Price Movements” (Econometrica 1961). The panel consists of Michael Lovell, Robert Lucas, Dale Mortensen, Robert Shiller, and Neil Wallace. The discussion is moderated by Kevin Hoover and Warren Young. The panel touches on a wide variety of issues related to the rational-expectations hypothesis, including: its history, starting with Muth’s work at Carnegie Tech; its methodological role; applications to policy; its relationship to behavioral economics; its role in the recent financial crisis; and its likely future.