Chapter 10 - Keynesian Foundations of Modern
From the time of Adam Smith (1776) until the Great Depression of the 1930s, almost all economists were Classical economists - they believed that the self- correcting mechanisms of a market economy would continually guide the economy toward full output/full employment. Market prices would adjust to restore the economy to full employment.
For example, in a recession or econ contraction, wages, prices and interest rates would fall and would eventually stimulate the economy back to full output. There was little role for government in the classical model and in practice - Fed spending was only 3% of national income.
During the 1930s we experienced the Great Depression, the stock market crash, bank failures, a decade of unemployment averaging about 20% (high of 25% in 1933, see page 402). Great Depression was a worldwide phenomenon.
Debate: Did the self-correcting mechanism of the market economy fail? or Did the fiscal and monetary policies of Congress and the FRS fail? Congress raised taxes and imposed tariffs (taxes) during a recession, and the FRS contracted the MS by 1/3 - Great Contraction.
Debate continues: Activist policy vs. Non-activist Passive policy
Neoclassical revival - favor non-interventionist, passive approach for policy, favor policy rules vs discretionary policies, like balanced budgets and fixed growth rate for MS. Activist approach will de-stabilize the economy.
Traditional, Keynesian approach - Activist approach for policy. Gov and FRS should play an active role in attempting to stabilize the economy by "fine- tuning." Discretionary approach to fine-tuning. Figure out what's wrong and try to fix it. Counter-cyclical approach.
Rules vs. Discretion Debate continues.
Active vs. passive approach.
Debate centers on:
1) the ability and speed of the economy to self-correct and
2) the ability and speed of policymakers to fine-tune the economy.
The Great Depression challenged the Classical approach and led to a forty year period where the Classical approach lost favor and we saw the emergence of a new approach, called Keynesian, based on a British economist named John Maynard Keynes. Keynes challenged the self-correcting nature of the market economy. Favored active government intervention to stabilize the economy. Led to growth of Big Government. Politicians' favorite economist. See page 247.
Keynes' views were readily accepted in the 1930s - he developed elegant theories that seemed to explain the Great Depression.
Main points of Keynes:
1. Wages and prices are inflexible/sticky, especially
downward, and especially in an economy with powerful trade unions and large,
powerful corporations. Economy would not self-correct itself because wages
and prices would NOT fall during a recession.
2. Prices won't direct the economy back to full output. According to Keynes, it is changes in output rather than changes in prices that direct the economy back to equilibrium.
3. Businesses will produce only enough output to satisfy AD of consumers, businesses, govts and foreigners. If these planned aggregate expenditures are less than full-employment output, output will be less than the level of full output. When AD is less than Yf, there are no automatic forces assuring full employment. Long periods of un will persist.
4. Real output beyond full employment is unattainable, even in the SR.
Keynes' best known book was written in 1936 and it seemed
extremely timely and important because he seemed to provide a theory that
explained the Great Depression. By the 1950s and 1960s almost the entire
profession had adapted Keynesian macroeconomics - it was mainstream. Keynesian
economics couldn't explain stagflation.
The strict version of the Keynesian model develops a new macro model - the AE (aggregate expenditure) model. AE is outdated and deficient.
AD/AS Model is preferred because:
1) AE cant explain high unemployment and high inflation. AD/AS can.
2) AD/AS incorporates the effects of expectations. AE doesn't account for expectations.
3. AD/AS shows both LR and SR effects. AE is a short-run model only.
AD/AS model is more flexible, more realistic, helps us understand a broader range of econ issues. It will be used in future chapters.
The strict version of the Keynesian model using the AD/AS model is shown on page 257 and 258. The SRAS is horizontal at less than full output, reflecting that prices and wages are inflexible downward when there are idle resources. Wages and prices won't fall - sticky.
If AD is at AD1, the economy is operating at less than full output and there is nothing to automatically get the economy back to full output. If AD is increased, output will increase at an UNCHANGED price level, as idle resources are brought back into the production process.
Once the economy is back at full output, AD2, further increases in demand will lead to higher prices at full output. Output will not increase, only prices will.
A less extreme, more realistic Keynesian model is presented on page 258, panel b. The SRAS is a little more conventional but incorporates some of the insights from the Keynesian model:
1. During a recession, increases in AD will lead primarily to increases in output and only small price changes.
2. When the economy is operating at full output, increases in AD will lead primarily to price increases and only small output increases.
MAJOR INSIGHTS OF KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS -
1. Changes in output, as well as changes in prices play a role in the macroeconomic adjustment process. Classical model emphasizes change in prices, Keynesian model emphasized changes in output. Modern analysis incorporates both.
2. Responsiveness of AS to changes in demand depends on availability of unemployed resources. During a recession, when there are laid off workers and unemployed resources, output will be highly responsive to changes in AD. SRAS curve flat. When econ is at full output, increases in AD will primarily increase prices, not output.
3. Fluctuations in AD are important source of econ instability. Abrupt changes in AD are a potential source of both recession and inflation. "Animal spirits." Policies should stabilize AD to reduce econ instability, smooth out the bus cycle.
EVOLUTION OF MODERN MACROECONOMICS
The Great Depression seemed to present a challenge to the Classical economists and the self-correcting nature of the economy. Keynes' ideas came along at exactly the right time - the economic and political climate was very receptive to a model that explained the Great Depression and presented an alternative view to Classical econ. This view became widely accepted and was considered mainstream for decades.
However, the alternative view is that the Great Depression started as a normal recession and was turned into a Depression by misguided fiscal and monetary policy. Taxes were raised, money supply was cut and trade was cut off.
Important event: Stagflation of the 1970s. Simultaneous high un and high inf. Keynesian model could not explain.
What has emerged in the last several decades is a modern view of macro, a hybrid of Classical and Keynesian.
Short run fluctuations can be explained by a hybrid of Keynesian and classical approaches. Various shocks (unanticipated AD or SRAS shocks) will disrupt full employment. Since prices don't always adjust immediately, there can be adjustments periods of un or inflation. One or two years. Modern analysis is consistent with Keynesian approach.
However, the LR implications are more consistent with the classical view. We now have Neo-Classical approach. Real wages and real interest rates do fall during a recession. And we don't have prolonged depressions anymore. The last recession in 1991 was about a year. The last one before that was 1982. During the last 15 years we have only had one year of recession. And real wages and real int rates did fall in 91-92 recession. Recovery was fairly rapid. Economy is more flexible, resilient, versatile, responsive than before - resistant to major recessions now.
Also, we had a market crash in 87, market fell by 1/3 in one day. Recovered after one year to its previous level... In spite of the shock, the econ expansion of the 1980s persisted...
In addition, modern macro incorporates the role of expectations as an important element. Rational expectations revolution of the 1970s and 1980s. People are rational and forward looking, don't act like robots. Dont just respond to the present situation, but consider the future.
We also now emphasize expected vs unexpected effects, and whether people view changes as permanent or temporary. Modern view now assumes that economic change is more complex than previous models assumed, and incorporates expectations, and distinguishes between temp/permanent and expected/unexpected. Human behavior is complex, so the way the economy operates is complex.....
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