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At one time I did simulations in Excel, and it becomes difficult when they are large and changes need to be made. When there are a lot of cells needing to be changed, you need to keep good records of what each does, as until you click on them there is no idea what any of them are doing. It is a mess.

The problem with these simplistic economic analyses is that they don't correct for everything. Economies have lags in anything up to decades, they have structural problems that need to be identified, and economists generally don't believe that private debt matters, so they ignore it.


Ken: Absolutely agree with you on the simplistic analysis with no controls at all. That explains why Freakonomics was so valued in the economics community - it is an attempt to find datasets with proper control groups.

Yes, and even if you simulate your own data, there could be bugs in the code, or other problems. So I should take out that caveat.

Tom from the Bronx

I'm just a lowly number cruncher in the policy world, but when I calculate the same quantity under four conditions, and it's the same in three cases but different in the fourth, my very first thought is always that I have Excel summing over the wrong range in the different one.

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