Greg Mankiw, eminent Harvard economist and textbook author, just took a shot at an article I wrote two years ago:

Back in 2004, Michael Mandel of Businessweek gave me grief for saying that the 2001 recession began in late 2000, rather than at the official NBER date of March 2001. My view (and the view of the nonpartisan CEA staff) was that the data were substantially revised after the NBER committee made their call, and the March 2001 date no longer seemed right in light of the revised data. Mandel's view was that I was a Republican stooge.

A stooge! What a nice turn of phrase...I wish I had thought of it back then. I was actually much kinder and gentler in my article.

Still fighting this two-year old battle, Mankiw unearths a new academic paper which seems to suggest that the 2001 recession did begin in September 2000, before George W. Bush was elected. Brad DeLong disagrees, while Menzie Chinn raises some objections.

I gotta say..I had forgotten about that 2004 piece, but I think it holds up pretty well. The NBER dating committee still puts the beginning of the recession at March 2001.

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