Thomas Sargents sju nationalekonomiska lärdomar

I lördags var det dags för årets vetenskapliga högtid i Konserthuset där bland annat Ekonomipristagarna Thomas Sargen och Christopher Sims fick ta emot sina medaljer och diplom.

 

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I tacktalet på den efterföljande banketten levererade Thomas Sargent sju nationalekonomiska lärdomar som jag tycker är värda att upprepa:

1. Many things that are desirable are not feasible.

2. There are tradeoffs between equality and efficiency.

3. Other people have more information about their abilities, their efforts, and their preferences than you do.

4. Everyone responds to incentives, including people you want to help. That is why social safety nets don’t always work as intended.

5. When a government spends, its citizens eventually pay, either today or tomorrow, either through explicit taxes or implicit ones like in ation and defaults on debts.

6. Most people want other people to pay for public goods and government transfers (especially transfers to themselves).

7. It is feasible for one generation to shift costs to subsequent ones. National government debts and the U.S. social security system do that (but not the social security system of Singapore).