This was too good for the low content thread:
The question starts at 14:15 in the conference video.
wow, i just finished watching the conference. It has to be one of the worst econ conferences of all time. And I love that Princeton disabled comments and ratings.
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To be fair, they have comments disabled on pretty much every video...(ironically, this one is the only one I could find where they were allowed, and I can almost guarantee it's a mistake...or a test.)
And also, yes, they did end up being able to put together a few sentences to try and answer those questions, so the conference wasn't as embarrassing as those highlights make it feel, but there were still some cringy moments, even outside of those Schiff highlights there. And while as Murphy points out, free-market economists can find a lot to like in much of the work of Sargent in particular, I really think he has some kind of problem that prevents him from speaking publically. He even had trouble answering the question of what he teaches.
He did seem to have a high point when he tried to answer that question about South America...he mentioned a paper he wrote years ago about how to cause and stop hyperinflation, and he was dead on. He even goes on to say "it isn't high economic theory, and it's not incredible data analysis" (i.e. this is pretty simple, straightforward stuff) and that if you look at how South American countries stopped hyperinflation, such as in Brazil, it was the poor people, because "inflation is a tax, mainly on poor people." Which makes me tend to believe at least some of these guys in the upper echelons of economic academia know at least some basics...but the problem is they also know who signs their checks.
He even talks about using "workhorse" models and then immediately admits that all models are "abstractions that make very simple assumptions that aren't realistic." Well I'll be.
But possibly the most comical thing was they way they each kept trying to defer to the other and not have to answer any question themselves.