EXCELlent Economics

When the ECB published a survey of household wealth earlier this month showing German median household wealth trailing Cypriot and Spanish wealth it lead innumerate journalism to self embarrassing economic flimflam. Anyone with elementary intelligence, basic economic intuition and off the shelf common sense should be able to dismiss this nonsense as apples and oranges which, judging by the absence of demagogic impact, they probably did. I am not willing to entertain the possibility that the ECB had anything resembling a mean spirited agenda but the fact that they failed to properly present their data (by for example doing these elementary arithmetic exercises) should certainly be embarrassing for them.

Another case showing that inadequate empirical research is worse than ignorance is the Reinhart-Rogoff universal debt constant of 90% (yes I am being ironic). I found Krugman’s Death by Excel comment quite amusing.

EXCELLent economics right?

 

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