Macro modelling at the NIESR: its recent history

Pub. Date
31 October, 2018

This paper charts the evolution of mainly empirical research at the NIESR over the1970s and 80s. As was all too evident there were very large discrete technical improvements in data handling and manipulation over this period. Less well appreciated were the effects on the economy of major supply-side shocks coming from the World economy leading to ‘Stagflation’ and, interconnected but somewhat later, in the UK, marked changes in macro policy regime. This latter was strongly influenced by the seminal papers of Lucas (1976) and Sims (1980); both highly critical of the then current practices in macroeconomics, though each having very different intellectual stances. The response in the NIESR was to engage at an early stage in these innovations; applying the mantra that an informed criticism was more efficient than an uninformed one. During this period it became a leader in the econometrics of applied macro modelling under different expectations assumptions, including the rational expectations hypothesis (REH). Throughout, it remained critical of the anti-empirical drift encouraged in the Lucas Critique, criticism borne out more recently by the financial instability of the 1990s and the crisis that followed.