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Angel Asensio and Dany Lang

First paragraph

The last few years have been characterized by a significant renewal and development of post-Keynesian modelling (PKM hereafter). For obvious reasons, this growing interest has been reinforced since the 2007 crisis, a tragic event that has confirmed the relevance of PKM. The papers gathered in this issue are amongst the most stimulating ones that were presented at a conference dedicated to this issue, organised by the Center of Economics of Paris North (CEPN), University of Paris 13, on November 20–21, 2009.

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Rod Cross and Dany Lang

This paper assesses the Layard et al. (1991) NAIRU framework for explaining unemployment. Their approach is distinct from the natural rate of unemployment framework in that it postulates a short-run NAIRU influenced by ›hysteresis‹. It is pointed out that this is not hysteresis in the meaning employed elsewhere, so an outline of what hysteresis actually implies for unemployment is offered. The main implication is that unemployment does not revert to a long-run ›natural rate‹ equilibrium, as claimed by Layard et al., but instead is shaped by the past extrema of dominant exogenous shocks. It is argued that this is a more useful approach to the explanation of equilibrium unemployment than the NAIRU, which, for its analytical and empirical flaws, can be considered to be ›not an interesting rate of unemployment‹. The hysteretic alternative to the natural rate hypothesis can be called the DESIRU (dominant extrema, steady inflation, rate of unemployment).

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Dany Lang, Mark Setterfield and Ibrahim Shikaki

We address the question posed in the title of this paper by investigating recent developments in the literature that estimates the NAIRU. A necessary condition for the existence of a NAIRU is dynamic homogeneity: the Phillips curve should be homogeneous of degree one in lagged and/or expected inflation. But contemporary approaches to estimating the NAIRU typically assume rather than test for dynamic homogeneity, thus assuming (rather than testing for) the existence of a NAIRU. We argue that these developments remove the NAIRU from the domain of testable hypotheses and transform the concept into an article of faith. This does not constitute scientific progress.