The principle of effective demand, and the claim of its validity for a monetary production economy in the short and in the long run, is the core of heterodox macroeconomics, as currently found in all the different strands of post-Keynesian economics (Fundamentalists, Kaleckians, Sraffians, Kaldorians, Institutionalists) and also in some strands of neo-Marxian economics, particularly in the monopoly capitalism and underconsumptionist school In this contribution, we will therefore outline the foundations of the principle of effective demand and its relationship with the respective notion of a capitalist or a monetary production economy in the works of Marx, Kalecki and Keynes. Then we will deal with heterodox short-run macroeconomics and it will provide a simple short-run model which is built on the principle of effective demand, as well as on distribution conflict between different social groups (or classes): rentiers, managers and workers. Finally, we will move to the long run and we will review the integration of the principle of effective demand into heterodox/post-Keynesian approaches towards distribution and growth.
In spite of the manifold critique about the state of economics in the aftermath of the financial crisis, an even increasing presence of economists and economic experts can be observed in the public sphere during the last years. On the one hand this reflects the still dominant position of economics in the social sciences as well as the sometimes ignorant attitude of economists towards findings of other social sciences. On the other hand this paper shows that the public debate on politico-economic issues among economists is dominated by a specific subgroup of economists, tightly connected to an institutional network of “German neoliberalism”. This group of “public economists” (i) is dominant in public debates even after the financial crisis, (ii) reproduces the formative German economic imaginary of the Social Market Economy in a German neoliberal interpretation and (iii) has a good access to German economic policymaking, rooted in a long history of economic policy advice.
Pluralism includes mainstream economics. Our campaign for pluralism, including this series, have generally focused on ideas outside the mainstream on the basis that it gets plenty of attention already so we want to spend our time exposing people to alternatives. Nevertheless, mainstream ideas deserve some attention. On top of this, a curious feature of modern economics education is that some of the best ideas from mainstream economics are not even taught to undergraduates! During this series I will explore such ideas, starting today with the market construction technique known as ‘matching’.
In this paper the main developments in post-Keynesian macroeconomics since the mid- 1990s will be reviewed. For this purpose the main differences between heterodox economics in general, including post-Keynesian economics, and orthodox economics will be reiterated and an overview over the strands of post-Keynesian economics, their commonalities and developments since the 1930s will be outlined. This will provide the grounds for touching upon three important areas of development and progress of post-Keynesian macroeconomics since the mid-1990s: first, the integration of distribution issues and distributional conflict into short- and long-run macroeconomics, both in theoretical and in empirical/applied works; second, the integrated analysis of money, finance and macroeconomics and its application to changing institutional and historical circumstances, like the process of financialisation; and third, the development of full-blown macroeconomic models, providing alternatives to the mainstream 'New Consensus Model' (NCM), and allowing to derive a full macroeconomic policy mix as a more convincing alternative to the one implied and proposed by the mainstream NCM, which has desperately failed in the face of the recent crises.
In this one-on-one interview, co-host Gerardo Serra talks with Felwine Sarr, author of Afrotopia (2016) and professor of economics at Gaston Berger University in Senegal. Topics include the relevance (or lack thereof) of development economics to conditions in African economies, the significance of African philosophy for thinking about the economic problems of the continent, and the status of the field of history of economic thought in Africa.
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 core of Georgism is a policy known as the Land Value Tax (LVT), a policy which Georgists claim will solve many of society and the economy’s ills. Georgism is an interesting school of thought because it has the twin properties that (1) despite a cult following, few people in either mainstream or (non-Georgist) heterodox economics pay it much heed; (2) despite not paying it much heed, both mainstream and heterodox economists largely tend to agree with Georgists. I will focus on the potential benefits Georgists argue an LVT will bring and see if they are borne out empirically. But I will begin by giving a nod to the compelling theoretical and ethical dimensions of George’s analysis, which are impossible to ignore.
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.
The mandate of central banks has seemed clear for decades : keep inflation low. Nevertheless borders between monetary, financial and economic policy have been blurry even before the pandemic.. Faced with the challenges of the climate crisis, slow growth, unemployment and inequality, does the financial and monetary system need a new constitutional purpose.
Modern authors have identified a variety of striking economic patterns, most importantly those involving the distribution of incomes and profit rates. In recent times, the econophysics literature has demonstrated that bottom incomes follow an exponential distribution, top incomes follow a Pareto, profit rates display a tent-shaped distribution. This paper is concerned with the theory underlying various explanations of these phenomena. Traditional econophysics relies on energy-conserving “particle collision” models in which simulation is often used to derive a stationary distribution. Those in the Jaynesian tradition rely on entropy maximization, subject to certain constraints, to infer the final distribution. This paper argues that economic phenomena should be derived as results of explicit economic processes. For instance, the entry and exit process motivated by supply decisions of firms underlies the drift-diffusion form of wage, interest and profit rates arbitrage. These processes give rise to stationary distributions that turn out to be also entropy maximizing. In arbitrage approach, entropy maximization is a result. In the Jaynesian approaches, entropy maximization is the means.
Exploring Economics, an open-access e-learning platform, giving you the opportunity to discover & study a variety of economic theories, topics, and methods.
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.
This brief note explores the possibility of working towards an enlarged self-definition of economics through economists’ study and appreciation of economic sociology. Common ground between economic sociology and heterodox economics is explored, and some of Richard Sennett’s ideas are used as prompts to raise some pertinent and hopefully interesting questions about economics. In particular, the note revisits the question of whether there is a possibility of changing our understanding of what kind of social scientific work falls within the domain of economics proper once we start critically engaging with work conventionally considered to be outside of that domain. In part, the note is intended to offer undergraduate students in economics – and possibly even those further down the road in their education – food for thought about what constitutes economics.
This paper surveys the development of the concept of socialism from the French Revolution to the socialist calculation debate. Karl Marx’s politics of revolutionary socialism led by an empowered proletariat nurtured by capital accumulation envisions socialism as a “top-down” system resting on political institutions, despite Marx’s keen appreciation of the long-period analysis of the organization of social production in the classical political economists. Collectivist thinking in the work of Enrico Barone and Wilfredo Pareto paved the way for the discussion of socialism purely in terms of the allocation of resources. The Soviet experiment abandoned the mixed economy model of the New Economic Policy for a political-bureaucratic administration of production only loosely connected to theoretical concepts of socialism. The socialist calculation debate reductively recast the problem of socialism as a problem of allocation of resources, leading to general equilibrium theory. Friedrich Hayek responded to the socialist calculation debate by shifting the ground of discussion from class relations to information revelation
Markets are the focus in modern economics: when they work, when they don’t and what we can or can’t do about it. There are many ways to study markets and how we do so will inevitably affect our conclusions about them, including policy recommendations which can influence governments and other major organisations. Pluralism can be a vital corrective to enacting real policies based on only one perspective and a plethora of approaches provide alternatives to the canonical view. Although they have differing implications, these approaches share the idea that we should take a historical approach, analysing markets on a case-by-case basis; and they share a faith in the power of both individuals and collectives to overcome the problems encountered when organising economic activity.
Environmental catastrophe looms large over politics: from the young person’s climate march to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, increasing amounts of political space are devoted to the issue. Central to this debate is the question of whether economic growth inevitably leads to environmental issues such as depleted finite resources and increased waste, disruption of natural cycles and ecosystems, and of course climate change. Growth is the focal point of the de-growth and zero-growth movements who charge that despite efficiency gains, increased GDP always results in increased use of energy and emissions. On the other side of the debate, advocates of continued growth (largely mainstream economists) believe that technological progress and policies can ‘decouple’ growth from emissions.
“Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses1.” This is how Lionel Robbins came to define economics in the early 1930s and there is a good chance that many of you heard a variant of this definition in your first Economics 101 lecture.
How countries achieve long-term GDP growth is up there with the most important topics in economics. As Nobel Laureate Robert Lucas put it “the consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else.” Ricardo Hausmann et al take a refreshing approach to this question in their Atlas of Economic Complexity. They argue a country’s growth depends on the complexity of its economy: it must have a diverse economy which produces a wide variety of products, including ones that cannot be produced much elsewhere. The Atlas goes into detail on exactly what complexity means, how it fits the data, and what this implies for development. Below I will offer a summary of their arguments, including some cool data visualisations.
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.
This blogpost discusses the bias the Economics discipline has towards Africa. It points out how important conferences on issues regarding Africa take place in Western countries at the expense of those based in Africa.
The need for the movement Black Lives Matter and the tragic events that preceded it are the clear manifestation of the problem of discrimination today, which we all intuitively perceive as a poignant socio-economic question of our times.
Mark Carney explains how we have come to esteem financial value over human value and how we have gone from market economies to market societies, how economic theory foundation affect the society as a whole, how we understand our world today and ultimately how this affects our lives.
Teaching Feminist Economics. Conceptual Notes and Practical Advice for Teaching a Subject in the Making
Teaching feminist economics is a relatively new didactical project posing questions of content and methodology for instructors. The article proposes three possible topics with regard to the changing nature of the emergent research field: introducing feminist economics as a mode of questioning, showing its historicity and spectrum, and asking the question of a unifying paradigm.
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.
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.
The workshop introduces into the field of critical political economy and tries to identify the role of finacial markets in capitalism, the reason for financial crises and the relevance of Marx in regard to these topics.
An essay of the writing workshop on Nigeria’s Readiness for and the Effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Marx Reloaded is a cultural documentary that examines the relevance of German socialist and philosopher Karl Marx s ideas for understanding the global economic and financial crisis of 2008 09 The crisis triggered the deepest global recession in 70 years and prompted the US government to spend more than 1 …
Yao Graham, coordinator of Third World Network- Africa, reflects on lessons learned from past Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), specifically as they relate to the Post-Cotonou Agreement.
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.
This workshop offers an introduction to Degrowth and Ecological Economics. It starts by surveying the socio-ecological crisis and its pseudo-solutions, and then moves to Ecological Macroeconomics as a relatively recent field of scholarship within Ecological Economics.
Completing the Economics of Discrimination module, the students should have acquired knowledge and understanding of the existing similarities and differences of the definition and analysis of discrimination across economic theory and cultural theory.