When Has Economics Been Correct on Anything Important?

The discussion over at Marginal Revolution of famous economists’ errors is a reminder that economics is, in many ways, most famous for how badly it gets things wrong. After all, as I posted earlier, the current AEA meetings contained no papers referencing Keynes, and precious few about the current credit crisis. Economists’ record for prescience and accuracy are … checkered at best.

Anyway, a MR reader gets the question about right:

Mistakes in economics is a dull subject.
The truly electrifying inquiry would be to name 10… well… 5… OK just 3 incidents when economics made indisputably correct (in a rigorous scientific sense – since economics dare to call itself a science) prediction/forecast on a more or less significant scale

After some thinking I have my own ideas, but rather than biasing things does anyone want to try the question on?

Related posts:

  1. Greenspan is Not the Most Important Person in Economics
  2. What Has Economics Ever Done For Us?
  3. Great Moments in "Directionally Correct" History
  4. Get Your Banking Crises Correct: 1872/73 vs. 1929
  5. Readings 1/5/09


  1. Mark says:

    Clearly the commenter referenced in the post has no clue about economics, because if he did, he would know economics as a science has nothing to do with making 'indisputably correct predictions.' Indeed, economics doesn't make corrections at all; it deals in probabilities. The commenter probably has an MBA. Pffttt.

  2. Paul Kedrosky says:

    Craig — Nice post. Thanks for the ground-level insights. Like you,macro has always struck me as a kind of abstract art, so interestingto hear others feel similarly. The more micro specific stuff –especially empirical work, as opposed to modeling — has shaped mythinking in many useful ways.