As part of a general blog conversation, Noah Smith writes,
Scott Sumner expresses incredible confidence that NGDP targeting is best. Paul Krugman expresses incredible confidence that fiscal stimulus is effective and that austerity is counterproductive. John Cochrane expresses incredible confidence that structural form – removing “sand in the gears” – is the best medicine for an economy in recession. Robert Lucas said that the “central problem of depression prevention has been solved.” And so on, and so forth.
I think normal people realize that that certitude is basically never warranted. Yes, those economists often (but not always) have some evidence to back up their claims. But not the kind of evidence that people have in disciplines where data is more abundant, controlled, and replicable.
Pointer from Mark Thoma. I disagree that this is how normal people think. I believe that the main problem with non-expert opinion in macroeconomics is that normal people can be just as dogmatic in their macro views as self-proclaimed experts.
I would amend the last paragraph to substitute “thoughtful economists” for “normal people.” With that amendment, the quoted passage would have my vote.