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Macroeconomics "getting real" by integration of big data, micro insights

Haltiwanger seen as a prolific researcher whose contributions expand macroeconomic veracity

The world of macroeconomics is "getting real," according to Noah Smith, writing on Bloomberg View.

"Empirical papers are taking over from theoretical papers in the economic literature, and the methods used for untangling cause and effect are getting more and more scientific. The big driver is information technology, which has made the entire world into economists' laboratory. So econ, in general, is becoming more like a science and less like philosophy," he noted in a recent post.

Along with Emi Nakamura and Jon Steinsson, Smith points to MPRC Faculty Associate John Haltiwanger :

"Haltiwanger is a pioneer of the use of microeconomic data to yield macroeconomic insights. Haltiwanger is incredibly prolific. In just the past few years, he and a small army of co-authors have been digging through the data to find out which kinds of companies hire workers, why the U.S. business sector is less dynamic than in the past, whether private equity improves productivity and a number of other questions that tell us a huge amount about what is actually happening to our economy. Haltiwanger's work blurs the traditional lines between "macroeconomics" and "microeconomics," and thus brings data to bear that would have been ignored by traditional macroeconomic theorists focused on broad aggregates such as gross domestic product and unemployment," he writes.

See the complete article on Bloomberg View