How to get published in top economics journals …

14 Mar, 2019 at 12:50 | Posted in Economics | 3 Comments

The reality is that the mainstream follow a formulaic approach to publications in macroeconomics that goes something like this:


  • Assert without foundation – so-called micro-foundations – rationality, maximisation, rational expectations – imposed assumptions about human behaviour that no sociologist or psychologist would remotely recognise.
  • These foundations cannot deal with real world people so assume there is just one infinitely-lived agent!
  • Assert efficient, competitive markets as the optimality benchmark against which all other states will be assessed – in other words, abstract from the reality of existence.
  • Write some trivial mathematical equations and solve – professional mathematicians shrink with embarrassment when they see the naive formality that economists think is state of art.
  • Policy shock the optimal ‘solution’ to ‘prove’, for example, that fiscal policy is inneffective (Ricardian equivalence) and austerity is good. Perhaps allow some short-run stimulus effect.
  • Get some data but realise poor fit – add some ad hoc lags (price stickiness etc) to improve ‘fit’ but end up with identical long-term results – of course, once you add these ad hoc lags the ‘micro founded’ framework, which is the ‘authority’ that is used to claim ‘scientific’ standing is abandoned.
  • Irrespective of that abandonment, maintain pretense that micro-foundations are intact – after all it is the only claim to intellectual authority that these mainstream economists have – which is no claim at all in reality.
  • Publish articles that reinforce starting assumptions.
  • Get appointments, promotion
  • Write commissioned reports (with fees and sponsors largely undisclosed) about how stable the financial sector etc is – parade the reports as independent academic research – and demand more deregulation, cutting of income support systems etc under the guise of ‘structural reform’.
  • Knowledge quotient of all this – ZERO – GIGO.
  • Bill Mitchell


  1. Bill Mitchell asserts that the private sector can only create new net financial assets by transacting with government first, and uses heavily massaged and imputed System of National Account figures which ignore financial income (i.e., private sector new NFAs) to prove his assertion empirically. Physician, heal thyself! He is criticizing the mote in his brother’s eye while ignoring the log in his own.

    • “Bill Mitchell asserts that the private sector can only create new net financial assets by transacting with government first …”

      Can you provide a link to that? A direct quote for context would be good also.

      • I read it a few times on his blog. I tried to point out his mistake and he banned me from posting. I am still very bitter. I posted a link to a 2009 blog where he affirmed the gist of what I claim he said.
        New net financial assets are not real assets; they are financial contracts that trade like stocks and take on market values. MMT assumes such derivative contracts are zero-sum; but they provide a new value because the contracts allow banks to keep their funding ratios the same no matter if a loan defaults, or inflation goes up, or interest rates move.

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