What’s inflation? Why is it relevant? And is there an agreed theory about its roots and causes, or is it a contentious concept? That’s what this text is all about: We define what inflation actually means before we delve into the theoretical debate with an interdisciplinary and pluralist approach: What gives rise to it, what factors might influence it, and, consequently, what might be done about it?
An vielen Orten auf der Welt erleben wir, wie sich das Gefühl von Machtlosigkeit und sozialer Entfremdung breit macht – wirtschaftlicher und sozialer Wohlstand sind nicht mehr miteinander im Einklang, sie sind entkoppelt. Daher braucht es ein neues Verständnis von Wohlstand.
Marxian Political Economy focuses on the exploitation of labour by capital. The economy is not conceived as consisting of neutral transactions for exchange and cooperation, but instead as having developed historically out of asymmetric distributions of power, ideology and social conflicts.
In this essay, the principle of capital accumulation, as well as the idea of homo economicus as the basis of the growth model, are located and analyzed from a feminist perspective. The sufficiency approach is presented as an alternative to these two economic logics.
Auch wenn viele Ökonom_innen den Kritikpunkten zustimmen, wie die 2016 von dem Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik und der Universität Kassel erstellte Studie EconPLUS aufzeigt, ändert sich die Lehre nur sehr langsam. Deswegen entstand im Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik die Idee, selbst eine Online-Lehr- und Lernplattform zu pluraler Ökonomik zu erstellen. Diese Plattform Exploring Economics ging im Dezember 2016 online.
„Ohne Effizienz geht es nicht“ - Ergebnisse einer qualitativ-empirischen Erhebung unter Studierenden der Volkswirtschaftslehre
Diese Studie widmet sich dem Zustand des Studiums der Volkswirtschaftslehre (VWL) aus der Perspektive seiner Studierenden.
It is perhaps fitting that the seriousness of the coronavirus threat hit most of the Western world around the Ides of March, the traditional day of reckoning of outstanding debts in Ancient Rome. After all, problems and imbalances have accumulated in the Western capitalist system over four decades, ostensibly since it took the neoliberal road out of the 1970s crisis and kept going along it, heedless of the crises and problems it led to.
The Great Recession 2.0 is unfolding before our very eyes. It is still in its early phase. But dynamics have been set in motion that are not easily stopped, or even slowed. If the virus effect were resolved by early summer—as some politicians wishfully believe—the economic dynamics set in motion would still continue. The US and global economies have been seriously ‘wounded’ and will not recover easily or soon. Those who believe it will be a ‘V-shape’ recovery are deluding themselves. Economists among them should know better but are among the most confused. They only need to look at historical parallels to convince themselves otherwise.
How do people make decisions? There is a class of models in psychology which seek to answer this question but have received scant attention in economics despite some clear empirical successes. In a previous post I discussed one of these, Decision by Sampling, and this post will look at another: the so-called Fast and Frugal heuristics pioneered by the German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer. Here the individual seeks out sufficient information to make a reasonable decision. They are ‘fast’ because they do not require massive computational effort to make a decision so can be done in seconds, and they are ‘frugal’ because they use as little information as possible to make the decision effectively.
The notion that the demand and supply side are independent is a key feature of textbook undergraduate economics and of modern macroeconomic models. Economic output is thought to be constrained by the productive capabilities of the economy - the ‘supply-side' - through technology, demographics and capital investment. In the short run a boost in demand may increase GDP and employment due to frictions such as sticky wages, but over the long-term successive rises in demand without corresponding improvements on the supply side can only create inflation as the economy reaches capacity. In this post I will explore the alternative idea of demand-led growth, where an increase in demand can translate into long-run supply side gains. This theory is most commonly associated with post-Keynesian economics, though it has been increasingly recognised in the mainstream literature.
Marx’s theory of the falling rate of profit is not only empirically borne out, but the theory he proposed seems to describe accurately how that happens. Furthermore, the whole process is useful for understanding the history of contemporary capitalism.
Michael Kalecki famously remarked “I have found out what economics is; it is the science of confusing stocks with flows”. Stock-Flow Consistent (SFC) models were developed precisely to address this kind of confusion. The basic intuition of SFC models is that the economy is built up as a set of intersecting balance sheets, where transactions between entities are called flows and the value of the assets/liabilities they hold are called stocks. Wages are a flow; bank deposits are a stock, and confusing the two directly is a category error. In this edition of the pluralist showcase I will first describe the logic of SFC models – which is worth exploring in depth – before discussing empirical calibration and applications of the models. Warning that there is a little more maths in this post than usual (i.e. some), but you should be able to skip those parts and still easily get the picture.
One of the pluralist theories which has gained prominence following the 2008 financial crisis is Hyman Minsky and his Financial Instability Hypothesis (FIH). Minsky was unique in viewing balance sheets and financial flows as the primary components of capitalist economies, and his focus on the financial system meant he was well-equipped for foresee a crisis much like 2008. Although he died long before 2008 his framework anticipated many of the processes which led to the crash, particularly increased risk-taking and financial innovation which would outstrip the abilities of regulators and central banks to manage the system.
Feminist economics is a key component of the movement for pluralism in economics and one that has, to some extent, been acknowledged by the mainstream of the profession. It seeks to highlight issues which affect women because (it claims) they have not traditionally been recognised in a field dominated by men. On top of this, it seeks to carve out a space for women in the discipline, both for intrinsic reasons of fairness and diversity and because it means that women’s issues are more likely to be highlighted going forward.
The most successful multialternative theories of decision making assume that people consider individual aspects of a choice and proceed via a process of elimination. Amos Tversky was one of the pioneers of this field, but modern decision theorists – most notably Neil Stewart – have moved things forward. At the current stage the theories are able to explain a number of strictly ‘irrational’ but reasonable quirks of human decision making, including various heuristics and biases. Not only this, but eye movements of participants strongly imply that the decision-making process depicted in the theories is an accurate one.
In both economics textbooks and public perceptions central banks are a fact of life. On the wall of my A-level economics classroom there was the Will Rogers quote “there have been three great inventions since the beginning of time: fire, the wheel, and central banking”, summarising how many economists view the institution. There is a widespread belief that there is something different about money which calls for a central authority to manage its operation, a view shared even by staunch free marketeers such as Milton Friedman. This belief is not without justification, since money underpins every transaction in a way that apples do not, but we should always be careful not to take existing institutions for granted and central banking is no exception. In this post I will look at the idea of private or free banking, where banks compete (and cooperate) to issue their own currency.
Exploring Economics, an open-source e-learning platform, giving you the opportunity to discover & study a variety of economic theories, topics, and methods.
One method of economic modelling that has become increasingly popular in academia, government and the private sector is Agent Based Models, or ABM. These simulate the actions and interactions of thousands or even millions of people to try to understand the economy – for this reason ABM was once described to me as being “like Sim City without the graphics”. One advantage of ABM is that it is flexible, since you can choose how many agents there are (an agent just means some kind of 'economic decision maker' like a firm, consumer, worker or government); how they behave (do they use complicated or simple rules to make decisions?); as well as the environment they act in, then just run the simulation and see what happens as they interact over time.
In diesem Text aus der Reihe "Exploring Economics - Foundations" werden die Grundlagen der Internationalen Politischen Ökonomie als interdisziplinäre wissenschaftliche Strömung dargestellt.
The general idea of a Job Guarantee (JG) is that the government offers employment to everybody ready, willing and able to work for a living wage in the last instance as an Employer of Last Resort. The concept tackles societal needs that are not satisfied by market forces and the systemic characteristic of unemployment in capitalist societies. Being a central part of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), attention for the JG concept rose in recent years.
Die ökonomische Theorie hat mit Moral wenig oder gar nichts zu tun. In den gängigen Lehrbüchern der Mikroökonomie findet sich in den Stichwortverzeichnissen kein Eintrag zu Moral oder Ethik. Die Studierenden lernen über die Wirtschaft nachzudenken, aber sie lernen dabei nicht, systematisch über ethische Fragen zu reflektieren. Nach der neoklassischen Lehre, wie sie in den Lehrbüchern präsentiert wird, weist wirtschaftliches Handeln nicht grundsätzlich moralische Aspekte auf.
Obwohl der Begriff „der Markt“ (in der Einzahl) andauernd – sowohl in der Theorie als auch in Alltagsdiskurse – mit einer großen Selbstverständlichkeit verwendet wird, hat er eine Geschichte, die fast 100 Jahre zurückgeht. Diese Begrifflichkeit wurde erstmals in der Österreichischen Schule der Nationalökonomie, und zwar von Ludwig Mises und Friedrich Hayek, und von Ordoliberalen wie Walter Eucken oder Wilhelm Röpke entwickelt.
As the Covid-19 fueled economic downturn begins to intensify this winter, an extended study of the Italian cooperative sector’s historical resilience in times of crisis can serve as a learning experience for other countries seeking to create policies that foster more stable economies, with job security, care for marginalized communities and adequate counter-cyclical policies. Particularly, the Italian cooperative sector’s contributions to three aspects should be noted in closing. Firstly, the innovative phenomenon of cooperative enterprises has contributed to social inclusion of immigrant communities, the activation of youth, the unemployed and people with disabilities, a true compensation for both a market and state failure. Secondly, they have contributed to a reduction in income and wealth inequalities at a time when the issue of inequality is of global significance. Thirdly, the Italian cooperative movement has helped local communities revitalize in the face of demographic shifts and rendered them more resilient to the ravages of globalization. Each of these in their own right is a remarkable achievement.
If there’s one method economists have neglected the most, it’s qualitative research. Whereas economists favour mathematical models and statistics, qualitative research seeks to understand the world through intensive investigation of particular circumstances, which usually entails interviewing people directly about their experiences. While this may sound simple to quantitative types the style, purpose, context, and interpretation of an interview can vary widely. Because of this variety, I have written a longer post than usual on this topic rather than doing it a disservice. Having said that, examples of qualitative research in economics are sadly scant enough that it doesn’t warrant multiple posts. In this post I will introduce qualitative research in general with nods to several applications including the study of firm behaviour, race, Austrian economics, and health economics. More than usual I will utilise block quotes, which I feel is in the spirit of the topic.
On July 2020 ZOE-Institute published a unique platform for transformative policymaking: Sustainable Prosperity. Building on insights from new economic thinking the platform provides knowledge about ideas, arguments and procedures that support effective promotion of political change. It aims to strengthen change makers in public policy institutions, who are working on an ambitious green and just transition. As such, it provides convincing arguments and policy ideas to overcome the reliance of economic policy on GDP growth
Die Zukunft der Ökonomie wird digital sein. Daher ist es wichtig, schon heute die richtigen Weichen zu stellen und die digitale Infrastruktur mit einer Nachhaltigkeitstransformation zu verknüpfen. Ein Beitrag von Kora Kristof und Steffen Lange.
Es stimmt hoffnungsvoll zu sehen, welche weitreichenden Maßnahmen die Politik ergreifen kann, wenn eine Situation einmal als Krise identifiziert wurde. Doch in der Klimakrise reicht der politische Wille allein nicht, solange bestehende Diskurse darüber, weshalb und wie investiert und reguliert werden soll, unangetastet bleiben. Ein Beitrag von Birte Strunk.
Der Umgang mit Unsicherheiten ist Teil jeder Wissenschaft – auch der Klimawissenschaften. Doch das bedeutet nicht, dass es keinen Grund gäbe, entschlossen gegen den Klimawandel anzukämpfen.
Dank der Klimabewegung ist die Bekämpfung der Klimakrise eines der Top-Themen in der EU geworden. Doch um echte Erfolge zu erzielen, müssen sich der ökonomische Diskurs und die politische Beratung grundsätzlich verändern.
Die dominante Ökonomie fordert eine Bepreisung der Umwelt – spielt aber de facto beim Klimaschutz eine bremsende Rolle. Ihre Vorstellungen von „dem Markt“ sind zur direkten Bedrohung der Menschheit geworden.
Forderungen nach einer beschleunigten Dekarbonisierung werden häufig mit dem Verweis auf den Emissionshandel abgewehrt. Dabei wäre es vielmehr notwendig, dieses Instrument selbst zu hinterfragen und neu zu denken
Obwohl viele technische Lösungen für gesellschaftliche Herausforderungen wie den Klimawandel auf der Hand liegen, sind wir als globale Gesellschaft häufig nicht in der Lage, diese umzusetzen. Warum führt die kollektive Erfahrung eines kollabierenden Systems nicht zur kollektiven Handlung? Ein Beitrag von Katrin Käufer und Claus Otto Scharmer.