DeLong on “Zombie Economists”

What gets my goat the most is not just that they were so wrong–the Laffers, Camerons, Trichets, Lucases, Cochranes, Famas, Boldrins, Boehners, Kocherlakotas, etc.–but that they have made absolutely no attempt since to mark their beliefs to market.

A zombie bank that is underwater because it has made lousy investments does not liquidate, but doubles down, hoping that luck will turn its way and carry it above water again. These are zombie economists and politicians. If they were to admit that they were so wrong and mark their beliefs to market, they would lose face, lose influence and authority, and lose their jobs. So much better in their view not to think, to double down, and hope that luck will turn their way and they can then fuzz the issue of how wrong they were back in 2008 and 2009.


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