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Marc Lavoie

Abstract

Misguided economics policies relying on an unrealistic macroeconomic theory that denied the possibility of a crisis are at the origins of the global financial crisis. The goal of the present paper is to recall how the end of the Great Moderation has been interpreted by the advocates of mainstream economics, and how they have questioned their own macroeconomic theories as a consequence of what happened during and after the financial crisis. There is thus a need to reconsider most aspects of mainstream theory. In particular, the crisis has once more demonstrated that potential output is influenced by aggregate demand – a phenomenon associated with hysteresis, which also questions concepts such as the natural rate of interest and crowding-out effects.

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Apostolos Fasianos, Diego Guevara and Christos Pierros

Abstract

This paper explores the process of financialization from a historical perspective during the course of the twentieth century. We identify four phases of financialization: the first from the 1900s to 1933 (early financialization), the second from 1933 to 1940 (transitory phase), the third between 1945 and 1973 (de-financialization), and the fourth period picks up from the early 1970s and leads to the Great Recession (complex financialization). Our findings indicate that the main features of the current phase of financialization were already in place in the first period. We closely examine institutions within these distinct financial regimes and focus on the relative size of the financial sector, the respective regulation regime of each period, the intensity of the shareholder value orientation, as well as the level of financial innovations implemented. Although financialization is a recent term, the process is far from novel. We conclude that its effects can be studied better with reference to economic history.

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Brett Fiebiger and Marc Lavoie

Abstract

In late 2008 a consensus was reached amongst global policymakers that fiscal stimulus was required to counteract the effects of the Great Recession, a view dubbed as the New Fiscalism. Pragmatism triumphed over the stipulations of the New Consensus Macroeconomics, which viewed discretionary fiscal actions as an irrelevant tool of counter-cyclical macroeconomic policy (if not altogether detrimental). The partial re-embrace of Keynes was however relatively short-lived, lasting only until early 2010 when fiscal consolidation came to the forefront again, although the merits of fiscal austerity were questioned when economic recovery did not really materialize in 2012. This paper traces the ups and downs of the debate over the New Fiscalism, especially at the International Monetary Fund, by analysing IMF documents and G20 communiqués. Using fiscal policy as a means to exit the crisis remains contentious even amidst recognition of secular stagnation.

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Marc Lavoie and Mario Seccareccia

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Pablo Gabriel Bortz

This paper sets out to find commonalities and divergences in the writings of Marx, Kalecki and Keynes regarding their analysis of social (class) conflict in capitalist societies. We find evidence that shows that, contrary to a harmonious view of society, Keynes had a class stratification of society and an understanding of conflictive interests and developments compatible with that of Marx and Kalecki. The presence of political motivations as fuel for economic instability is another shared element between Kalecki and Keynes. Differences arise regarding the relative importance of the inter- and intra-class dynamic as a driver of distributive conflict, and the State's capabilities to guide or control those conflicts and their consequences.

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Antonin Pottier and Adrien Nguyen-Huu

We examine to what extent the Keen model (Keen 1995) is a faithful modelling of Minsky's financial instability hypothesis. We focus on debt, money, and debt-induced crisis. We propose a clear interpretation of the debt: households lend unconsumed income to firms to finance their investments, and money creation is not necessary. We offer a detailed description of the economic collapse and analyse its causes thanks to numerical experiments. The crisis is triggered by profits squeezed by wages and not by debt overhang. We test alternative assumptions on the investors’ behaviour to show that behaviour at very low profits is fundamental. We conclude that the Keen crisis has few Minskyan flavours.

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Roger E.A. Farmer

This paper explains the connection between ideas developed in my recent books and papers and those of economists who self-identify as post-Keynesians. My own work is both neoclassical and ‘old Keynesian.’ Much of my published work assumes that people have rational expectations and that ‘animal spirits’ should be modeled as a new fundamental. I adopt a general equilibrium framework to model the macroeconomy. But although I write from a neoclassical tradition the themes I explore in my published writing have much in common with heterodox economics. This paper explains the common elements between these seemingly disparate traditions. I make the case for unity between post-Keynesian and general equilibrium theory under the banner of post-Keynesian dynamic stochastic general equilibrium theory.

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Sebastian Gechert, Torsten Niechoj, Engelbert Stockhammer, Achim Truger and Andrew Watt

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Stephen A. Marglin

The central question this paper addresses is the same one I explored in my joint work with Amit Bhaduri 25 years ago: under what circumstances are high wages good for employment? I extend our 1990 argument in three directions. First, instead of mark-up pricing, I model labor and product markets separately. The labor supply to the capitalist sector of the economy is assumed à la Lewis to be unlimited. Consequently the wage cannot be determined endogenously but is fixed by an extended notion of subsistence based on Smith, Ricardo, and Marx. For tractability the product market is assumed to be perfectly competitive. The second innovation is to show how disequilibrium adjustment resolves the overdetermination inherent in the model. There are three equations – aggregate demand, goods supply, and labor supply – but two unknowns – the labor–capital ratio and the real price (the inverse of the real wage). Consequently equilibrium does not even exist until we define the adjustment process. The third innovation is to distinguish capital deepening from capital widening. This is important because, ceteris paribus, wage-led growth is more likely to stimulate the economy the greater the fraction of investment devoted to capital deepening. A final section of the paper shows that US data on employment and inflation since the 1950s are consistent with the theory developed in this paper.

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Amit Bhaduri and Srinivas Raghavendra

This paper generalizes the principle of effective demand to incorporate banking and finance as two distinct sectors. The traditional commercial banking sector is regulated and the modern shadow banking sector is mostly an unregulated provider of financial services. Through a stylized model the interconnectedness between the two sectors is analysed. The analysis shows how an almost infinite supply-side capacity of finance is created and explores its relation to the level of aggregate demand in the real economy. The impact of finance on the real economy is explored in both profit- and wage-led regimes at different levels of interconnectedness between commercial and investment banking.