Kenneth L. Judd is the Paul H. Bauer Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. The main purpose of this blog is to discuss economic research and its application to government policy. The general theme will be how applied mathematics and computational science can be applied to economic modeling, and social modeling more generally. Modern computational tools are being used intensively in almost all fields of study except economics, where instead many prefer simpler methods to analyze complex social and economic processes. There is also substantial hostility to this effort. This blog will address the criticisms of computational economics as well as point to computational tools that have potential to advance economics research.
I will also point to the many ways in which the controlling elite in economics is harming the progress and quality of research. Economics journals lack the expertise to judge new work that tries to expand the range of tools we use to study economic questions. Departments refuse to teach the new computational and mathematical tools that are transforming almost all other fields of scholarship. When one raises funding to push the frontier, the establishment will work to seize control of that money and divert it to other uses. I am obligated to back up those claims with clear evidence and proof. I will do that but I will also be limited to discussing my experiences. While my problems are related to the hostility to computational methods, others, such as those in the agent-based economics community, have similar experiences. Most of those individuals decide not to publicly discuss their experiences out of a rational fear of retaliation. I tell young people “Do not do what I do or say what I say until you are in a position like mine.”
I will also apply the theme of this blog to more general matters. In particular, my 2020 op-eds with Karl Schmedders dealt with the COVID-19 crisis and asked “what analysis made the Congress think that CARES was a good idea?” Yes, I think that Congress and the President should Show Me the Math.
I have attempted to comment on matters of public interest but found out I did not know all the rules. On January 8, 2021, I created the website “Trump must go” (https://sites.google.com/view/trump-must-go/home) to give Hoover people a chance to register their opinion on the events of January 6, 2021. As you can see, I quickly got the endorsement of some very serious people, including at least one Republican. On January 9, 2021, I was informed that there is a Stanford rule that says if I use @stanford.edu email addresses to contact Stanford University staff, the message must be related to Stanford business. In general, I have learned that there are many “rules” governing “free speech”.
The biggest lesson I have learned is that in academic economics, there are no rules, only rulers.