Robert Barro and His Black Box

by Mario Rizzo

I am both intrigued and annoyed by Robert Barro’s recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. He adduces empirical (econometric) evidence to support the view that the fiscal stimulus package has done very little good in the short run and will do┬áharm in the long run. I do not want here to discuss technical data or identification problems. Instead, I want to discuss something both more elementary and more profound.

The world of econometric estimation is a world shrouded in mystery, even for some econometricians like Edward Leamer of UCLA, for example. Continue reading