タイム誌が今年のノーベル経済学賞を受賞したハンセンのインタビューを掲載している(H/T タイラー・コーエン)。以下はその一節。

TIME: How do you explain to the lay person your contributions to economics?

Hansen: I work on the boundary between economics and statistics in this field called econometrics. Part of my interest is understanding how you use statistics in productive ways to analyze dynamic economic models.

Part of what I was recognized for was for this notion that you can do something without doing everything. Suppose you’re interested in the connections between financial markets and the macro economy. In order to do that using statistical methods, you have to have a formal model of the macro economy and financial markets, and to do that requires a whole lot of inputs and it’s hard to produce all of those credible inputs. So the question is how do you do that without having a full-blown model of everything? My work helped to create methods to be able to study these complicated systems with limited information.



TIME: What are the areas of research that excite you and what are the advances you see coming in the next couple of decades?

Hansen: I’m very interested in the issue of how uncertainty plays out in marketplaces and in discussions of public policy. Uncertainty is a really under-appreciated concept in a lot of circles. The truth is that as economists there’s stuff that we don’t know and acknowledging that should play a role in public policy.

Let me give you an example: The financial crisis exposed some gaps in our knowledge. There’s some basic things we don’t understand about how turbulence in financial markets spills over into the macroeconomy, and vice versa. But we do have to engage in some type of oversight of financial markets. It’s absolutely critical, especially when governments are propping up financial institutions.

One argument I’ve heard made is that since this is a complicated problem, this requires a complicated solution. But I would argue the opposite. Because it’s such a complicated problem and because there are so many things we don’t understand, the best approach is to do it with simplicity and transparency and worry about fine-tuning things once our knowledge base expands.

Another policy concern that should be almost dominated by uncertainty is climate change. The truth is our knowledge of climate change impacts remains rather sparse. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act. It may be prudent to act now because it’ll be more costly to act later, but it’s critical to recognize that we’re designing policies based on limited knowledge. In political debates that’s often stuck in the background.


あなたの興味を掻き立てる研究分野は何ですか? また、今後数十年の間にどのような進歩があると思われますか?