El miedo a la gran deuda feroz

CAMBRIDGE – Hacía tiempo que un debate entre economistas académicos no atraía tanto el interés de la prensa convencional como la seguidilla entre Carmen Reinhart y Kenneth Rogoff por un lado, y Paul Krugman por otro. De hecho, se ha convertido incluso en pasto para las comedias televisivas.

La discusión está relacionada con un influyente trabajo escrito en 2010 por Rogoff y Reinhart para demostrar que existe una relación entre los elevados niveles de deuda pública y un menor crecimiento económico en el largo plazo. Un nuevo trabajo de Thomas Herndon, estudiante de posgrado en la Universidad de Massachusetts, en Amherst, y dos de sus profesores, Michael Ash y Robert Pollin, puso en dudas ese hallazgo, y Krugman lo catapultó a la fama.

Herndon, Ash, y Pollin sostienen que los resultados obtenidos por Reinhart y Rogoff se basan en errores de cálculo y métodos estadísticos cuestionables. Pero, después de esas objeciones, su trabajo debilita pero no refuta el resultado central del texto de Reinhart/Rogoff. Entonces, ¿por qué tanto escándalo?

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