Paul Lachine

一个重大的失误

发自巴黎——争议对科学进步来说是必不可少的。所以揭示经济学家卡门·莱因哈特(Carmen Reinhart)和肯尼斯·罗格夫(Kenneth Rogoff)一篇论文中存在的研究方法缺陷和编码错误只是学术界的家常便饭而已。但新闻媒体和博客圈对这一争议的报道却惊人地密集——并且简单化。

“债务时期的经济增长”是莱恩哈特和罗格夫在2010年发表的一篇短论文。两位作者在该论文中声称,公共债务一旦达到GDP的90%,就会开始对经济增长产生显著的不利影响。但它从来没有成为过有名的经济研究论文。作为对一组典型事实的粗略经验性描述,它多少受到了学术界的质疑,而两位作者都以其它更著名的学术贡献闻名。谷歌的学术搜索显示罗格夫被引用次数最多的论文被引用了超过3000次,而“债务时期的经济增长”却只有不足500次引用记录。

然而通常能令一个课题在研讨会后继续存在的方法就是使之成为记者、评论员和政策制定者的议题。对这些人来说,重点在于莱恩哈特/罗格夫论文的悲惨命运对财政紧缩政策造成了损害。

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