Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Structural Change in China and India: External Sustainability and the Middle-Income Trap

Shouldn't listen to the IMF anyway

New working paper co-authored with Suranjana Nabar-Bhaduri, and published by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) from UMass-Amherst. From the abstract:

This paper focuses on the different development strategies of China and India, particularly regarding the role of manufacturing and services for long-run productivity growth, external competitiveness and financial fragility. The findings appear to support the argument that productivity improvements in manufacturing drive productivity improvements in other sectors. They also substantiate previous findings that the Indian services-led growth trajectory has had limited success in transferring surplus labor from agriculture to other sectors. Furthermore, the trajectories have affected the export performances of the two countries with the Indian trade balance and current account revealing persistent deficits, compared to China's surpluses. The paper also argues that the way in which India has sought to sustain these deficits entails elements of financial fragility, and that the Chinese struggles with the internationalization of the renminbi also imply a possibility of financial instability.

Download paper here.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Review of Keynesian Economics on the economics of negative interest rates



We are delighted to announce the publication of Volume 7, Issue 2 of the Review of Keynesian Economics. We invite you to visit the website where you can read all the article abstracts and download two free articles.

Over the last several years economic recovery has led to some monetary tightening in the United States, but it is likely that a future recession will restore the issue of negative interest rates to the fore of policy debate. That is also true for Europe where there has been a weaker recovery in the euro zone and the European Central Bank still has a zero interest rate. In many ways, as participants in this symposium suggest, negative interest rate policy (NIRP) is a throwback to pre-Keynesian ideas according to which interest rates can adjust private spending to a level compatible with full employment.

This issue of ROKE presents a symposium on negative interest rates. The papers provide the elements for a critical analysis of the theory and practice of NIRP, with the aim of enriching the Keynesian literature on alternative monetary policy. We hope you enjoy them.

Thomas Palley, Esteban Pérez Caldentey & Matías Vernengo
Co-Editors

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Some unpleasant Keynesian arithmetic

By Thomas I. Palley (Guest Blogger)

The last decade has witnessed a significant revival of belief in the efficacy of fiscal policy and mainstream economics is now reverting to the standard positions of mid-1970s Keynesianism. On the coattails of that revival, increased attention is being given to the doctrine of Modern Money Theory (MMT) which makes exaggerated claims about the economic costs and capability of money-financed fiscal policy. MMT proponents are now asserting society can enjoy a range of large government spending programs for free via money financed deficits, which has made it very popular with progressive policy advocates. This paper examines MMT’s assertion and rejects the claim that the US can enjoy a massive permanent free program spree that does not cause inflation. As has long been known by Keynesians, in a static economy money financed deficits can be used to finance programs when the economy is away from the full employment – inflation boundary. However, that window will be temporary to the extent that those deficits drive the economy to full employment. Since the programs are permanent they have to be paid for with taxes or they will generate inflation. That is the economic logic behind the unpleasant Keynesian arithmetic.

Read rest here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What’s Wrong With Modern Money Theory (MMT): A Critical Primer

By Thomas I. Palley (guest blogger)

Recently, there has been a burst of interest in modern money theory (MMT). The essential claim of MMT is sovereign currency issuing governments do not need taxes or bonds to finance government spending and are financially unconstrained. MMT rests on a triad of arguments concerning: (i) the macroeconomics of money financed budget deficits, (ii) the employer of last resort or job guarantee program, and (iii) the history of money. This primer analyzes that triad and shows each element involves suspect economic arguments. That leads MMT to underestimate the economic costs and exaggerate the capabilities of money financed fiscal policy. MMT’s analytic shortcomings render it poor economics. However, its simplistic printing press economics is proving a popular political polemic, countering the equally simplistic and wrong-headed household economics of neoliberal austerity polemic.

Read rest here.

Exchange rates and income distribution in a surplus approach perspective

Old paper, presented two years ago in México, and to be published soon by the university press there. In Spanish. For those interested. The...