Paul Lachine

Un fatale errore

PARIS – Le controversie sono indispensabili per il progresso scientifico. E così anche smascherare i problemi metodologici e un errore di codice nel foglio di calcolo in un documento redatto dagli economisti Carmen Reinhart e Kenneth Rogoff  è all’ordine del giorno in ambito accademico. Eppure l’interesse per le controversie da parte di notiziari e blog è stato sorprendentemente intenso e semplicistico.

“Growth in a Time of Debt” (Crescita in tempo di debito), il breve paper del 2010 in cui Reinhart e Rogoff affermavano che il debito pubblico iniziava ad avere un effetto significativamente dannoso sulla crescita economica una volta raggiunto il 90% del Pil, non è mai stato un pezzo celebrativo di ricerca economica. In quanto generica rappresentazione empirica di fatti stilizzati, è stato ricevuto in modo piuttosto scettico dalla comunità accademica, ed entrambi gli autori erano noti per contribuiti degni di maggiore nota. Google Scholar, il motore di ricerca accademico, registra oltre 3.000 citazioni accademiche del paper più citato di Rogoff, rispetto a meno di 500 per “Growth in a Time of Debt”.

Quello che sarebbe normalmente rimasto argomento per una breve discussione post-seminario è, invece, diventato oggetto di discussione per giornalisti, commentatori e policy maker. Ai loro occhi ciò che conta è che il triste destino del documento Reinhart/Rogoff indebolisce la tesi di austerità fiscale.

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