Economists call Paul Krugman’s criticism uncivil

Tim Wallace
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NOBEL prize winner Paul Krugman has been “uncivil” and indulged in “wild hyperbole” when criticising the work of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, the economists claimed in a letter this weekend.

Their work on national debts and growth, indicating a sharp fall in growth rates when debts hit 90 per cent of GDP, has been criticised following the discovery of a spreadsheet error. Anti-austerity economist Krugman has lead the charge.

But Reinhart and Rogoff believe Krugman has deliberately missed the point of much of their work, focusing on political goals.

“We admire your past scholarly work, which influences us to this day. So it has been with deep disappointment that we have experienced your spectacularly uncivil behaviour the past few weeks. You have attacked us in very personal terms, virtually non-stop,” they wrote.

“Your characterisation of our work and of our policy impact is selective and shallow. It is deeply misleading about where we stand on the issues.”

The pair argue their work extends further than the one paper mentioned and is backed by work of others such as the International Monetary Fund.

But Krugman hit back, arguing the pair have allowed their work on debts to be abused by politicians seeking to back up austerity plans with academic evidence. However he declined to address complaints about his manners.

“This could go on forever, and both they and I have other things to do,” Krugman said.