Daily Archives: February 11, 2014

Herndon, Ash and Pollin’s work was critical in fight against austerity

Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash and Robert Pollin’s work debunking Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff credited as a critical piece in the struggle against austerity in The New Republic’s article, The Silence of the Austerians

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As The New Republic notes, Herndon Ash Pollin’s paper was critical in the revitalization of the left:

The year 2013 will be seen as a year of crushing intellectual defeat for advocates of fiscal austerity. There were many smaller victories, but this big one came in April. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts examined the Austerian ur-paper, “Growth in a Time of Debt,” by Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, which said that countries whose debt-to-GDP ratio reaches 90 percent experience dramatically slower growth. The UMass folks found not only dodgy statistics and backwards causation, but a goof in the paper’s Excel spreadsheet. The causation and statistics errors were more serious, but the fact that elites around the globe had gleefully embraced something with a flub any office temp could understand was horribly embarrassing.

It was an intellectual rout that badly wrong-footed the Austerians, who have since been notably half-hearted in the face of a resurgent left now campaigning on economic justice. This includes, for example, increasing Social Security benefits, which was unthinkable two years ago, when the fight to stop benefits from being cut was nearly lost.