Learning from history

According to Brad DeLong, professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, if we are to get a full understanding of the financial crisis and recession of the past two years, we need to take a historical perspective. In the following article from The Economic Times of India, he argues that modern macroeconomists need to learn from history if their assumptions and models are to be relevant and predictive.

The anti-history boys The Economic Times (India) (1/10/09)

A fuller version of the above article, along with comments from readers, can be found on Brad deLong’s blog site, a Semi-Daily Journal of an Economist at:
Economic History and Modern Macro: What Happened? (30/9/09)


  1. According to Narayana Kocherlakota, most macroeconomic models “rely on some form of large quarterly movements in the technological frontier. Some have collective shocks to the marginal utility of leisure. Other models have large quarterly shocks to the depreciation rate in the capital stock (in order to generate high asset price volatilities)…”. How could these models explain business cycles? Would you classify them as ‘real business cycle theories’: i.e. as ‘supply-side’ explanations?
  2. How does Brad deLong explain recessions?
  3. Why does a change in the velocity of circulation of money contribute to a crash?
  4. What are the strengths and limitation of using economic history to understand the current crisis?