[Marxism] Grad student who discovered Reinhart and Rogoff Excel error

michael yates mikedjyates at msn.com
Fri Apr 19 16:09:53 MDT 2013

This was a student of my friend and excellent economist, Robert Pollin. Bob was skeptical at first, but he realized that his student (and the student's girlfriend) was right. This reminded me of the error made by the wretched Martin Feldstein, who made his name by arguing that the social security system lowered the rate of capital formation and hence the rate of economic growth. Two researchers at the Social Security Administration asked Feldstein for his data, and when, after a couple of years, he gave it to them, they couldn't replicate his results. He had made a programming error. He soon redid his work and claimed that the results were the same. Unfortunately for him the Social Security staffpersons found the opposite of what Feldstein claimed to be true. As I understand it, Rogoff and Reinhart have done the same thing, but are backtracking from their claim, saying they never said what is attributed to them.

In Paul Krugman's recent NYT column, he doesn't even have the generosity to mention the graduate student's name. What a prick.

Of course, nothing will come of this. Austerity will continue. Just as capital will resist raising the minimum wage, despite the truth that raising it will boost both incomes and employment. And just as those with power will continue to insist, with the support of Obama, that the social security system is near insolvency despite the falsity of this claim. 		 	   		  

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