It’s no secret that economists are terrible at predicting recessions: a host of studies, along with a raft of anecdotal evidence, reveals a track record that is astonishingly bad. This has prompted a growing number of market watchers to conclude that forecasting recessions is a fool’s game.

But there’s another way to look at this dismal record. What if economists are so bad at predicting recessions that they’re actually good? What if a profession that consistently, almost universally, gets something wrong is inadvertently getting something right?

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