Sunday, December 24, 2023

In Memoriam: Robert Solow

     One of the tallest trees in the economic forest has fallen:  Bob Solow has died at the age of 99.

The modern study of economic growth could not have happened without his work, of course.  He was also one of the funniest economists I know. For years I have had the following quote from him on my office door,  which hilariously sums up his attitude to Lucas and Sargent on business cycles:
"Suppose someone sits down where you are sitting right now and announces to me that he is Napoleon Bonaparte. The last thing I want to do with him is get involved in a technical discussion of cavalry tactics at the battle of Austerlitz. If I do that, I'm getting tacitly drawn into the game that he is Napoleon. Now, Bob Lucas and Tom Sargent like nothing better than to get drawn into technical discussions, because then you have tacitly gone along with their fundamental assumptions; your attention is attracted away from the basic weakness of the whole story. Since I find that fundamental framework ludicrous, I respond by treating it as ludicrous—that is, by laughing at itso as not to fall into the trap of taking it seriously and passing on to matters of technique."
RIP, Robert Solow


run75441 said...


Thank you for bringing this to our attention. If you have no issues with Angry Bear doing so, I will put this up on Angry Bear tonight.

kevin quinn said...

Not a problem, run75441