Why are Economies Unstable?
Hub Co-Leader: Prof Roger E. A. Farmer Follow @farmerrf
Roger E. A. Farmer is the Co-Leader for Rebuild Macro’s Instability Hub and Research Director at NIESR, London. He is also a Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick in the UK and a Distinguished Professor of Economics at UCLA. Roger is widely known as a world-leading economist and former Senior Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England. He has published numerous scholarly articles in leading academic journals, as well as books that have been translated into Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese and Hungarian.
Hub Co-Leader: Jean-Philippe Bouchaud
Jean-Philippe Bouchaud is the Co-Leader for Rebuild Macro’s Instability Hub. After studying at the French Lycée of London, he graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he also obtained his PhD in physics. He was then appointed by the CNRS until 1992. After a year spent in the Cavendish Laboratory (Cambridge), he joined the Service de Physique de l’Etat Condensé (CEA-Saclay), where he worked on the dynamics of glassy systems and on granular media.
Modern macro models are based on the premise that agents will respond to any unforeseen disturbance in such a way that their actions will co-ordinate activity toward the optimal use of resources. The task for policymakers is then merely to reduce economic volatility. This self-stabilising structure appears to be at best questionable in the wake of the Great Recession. In recovery, the spectre of ‘secular stagnation’ has emerged, with no self-correcting mechanism.
We expect scholars to bring insights from sociology, psychology, anthropology and network theory in order to extend our understanding of preferences and decision making, and the implications for stability. Economists may ask how an inherent instability hypothesis can be usefully incorporated into models and used as a guide to policy. Scientists may query whether agent-based models can be revised, so that they may provide better predictions of policy outcomes or more robust policy options in unstable economies. Or perhaps some entirely new approach will emerge that we have not yet foreseen.
Research Hub Summary
Each Research Hub will host a number of workshops and invite experts from a variety of disciplines to share their thoughts, and contribute towards generating new ideas within the Hub.