nep-pke New Economics Papers
on Post Keynesian Economics
Issue of 2014‒12‒19
seven papers chosen by
Karl Petrick
Western New England University

  1. Better Growth, Helping the Paris COP-out? Fallacies and Omissions of the New Climate Economy Report By Clive L. Spash
  2. Reconstructing Macroeconomic Theory to Manage Economic Policy By Joseph E. Stiglitz
  3. Governing by Panic: The Politics of the Eurozone Crisis By David M. Woodruff
  4. Varieties of Keynesianism By Duncan Foley
  5. Behavioral Economics of Education: Progress and Possibilities By Adam M. Lavecchia; Heidi Liu; Philip Oreopoulos
  6. Green Growth in Mexico, Brazil and Chile: Policy strategies and future prospects By Nicole Grunewald; Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso
  7. Soft budget constraints and regional industrial policy: Reinterpreting the rise and fall of De Lorean By Brownlow, Graham

  1. By: Clive L. Spash
    Abstract: The debate over how to address greenhouse gas emissions reduction remains unresolved. The basic conflict between the environment and economic growth is fundamental to the problem but is something now being denied. Green Growth has been put forward as resolving the issue in a report backed by people working at the highest levels in international community from organisations such as the World Bank, United Nations, OECD, and IEA, who combine their knowledge with five ex-heads of state, experts from the banking and finance world and a committee of economics professors. This powerful elite has stated that all the countries of the world can have better growth and a better climate, and indeed strong growth is how to reduce poverty. This paper analyses the synthesis report proposing this “new climate economy” and exposes how the climate issue is framed in a narrow reductionist fashion that fails to address the fundamental contradictions of a growth economy and its model of development. The paper covers the framing of the debate, getting the prices right, energy and material throughput, growth versus human health and the environment, the ethics of a growth society, and the conflicts between corporate interests, government and civil society. One conclusion is that planning is back on the agenda, but this raises serious questions of governance that are not being addressed. Another is that little can be expected from the Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change as long as they ignore the wider implications of the growth society, its institutions and structure.
    Keywords: Climate change, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, Green Growth, climate economics, governance, public policy, poverty, development, corporations, externality theory, energy policy, Stern
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Joseph E. Stiglitz
    Abstract: Macroeconomics has not done well in recent years: The standard models didn't predict the Great Recession; and even said it couldn't happen. After the bubble burst, the models did not predict the full consequences. The paper traces the failures to the attempts, beginning in the 1970s, to reconcile macro and microeconomics, by making the former adopt the standard competitive micro-models that were under attack even then, from theories of imperfect and asymmetric information, game theory, and behavioral economics. The paper argues that any theory of deep downturns has to answer these questions: What is the source of the disturbances? Why do seemingly small shocks have such large effects? Why do deep downturns last so long? Why is there such persistence, when we have the same human, physical, and natural resources today as we had before the crisis? The paper presents a variety of hypotheses which provide answers to these questions, and argues that models based on these alternative assumptions have markedly different policy implications, including large multipliers. It explains why the apparent liquidity trap today is markedly different from that envisioned by Keynes in the Great Depression, and why the Zero Lower Bound is not the central impediment to the effectiveness of monetary policy in restoring the economy to full employment.
    JEL: E00 E12 E24 E5 G01
    Date: 2014–09
  3. By: David M. Woodruff
    Abstract: The Eurozone’s reaction to the economic crisis beginning in late 2008 involved both efforts to mitigate the arbitrarily destructive effects of markets and vigorous pursuit of policies aimed at austerity and deflation. To explain this paradoxical outcome, this paper builds on Karl Polanyi’s account of how politics reached a similar deadlock in the 1930s. Polanyi argued that democratic impulses pushed for the protective response to malfunctioning markets. However, under the gold standard the prospect of currency panic afforded great political influence to bankers, who used it to push for austerity, deflationary policies, and the political marginalization of labor. Only with the achievement of this last would bankers and their political allies countenance surrendering the gold standard. The paper reconstructs Polanyi’s theory of governing by panic and uses it to explain the course of the Eurozone policy over three key episodes in the course of 2010-2012. The prospect of panic on sovereign debt markets served as a political weapon capable of limiting a protective response, wielded in this case by the European Central Bank (ECB). Committed to the neoliberal Brussels-Frankfurt consensus, the ECB used the threat of staying idle during panic episodes to push policies and institutional changes promoting austerity and deflation. Germany’s Ordoliberalism, and its weight in European affairs, contributed to the credibility of this threat. While in September 2012 the ECB did accept a lender-of-last-resort role for sovereign debt, it did so only after successfully promoting institutional changes that severely complicated any deviation from its preferred policies.
    Keywords: Euro; European Central Bank; European Central Bank; fiscal policy
    Date: 2014–10–24
  4. By: Duncan Foley (Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA))
    Abstract: Recent claims, particularly in Paul Krugman’s column and blog, on the superiority of the Hicks-Modigliani version of Keynesian economics calls for a re-thinking of the issues raised in the early controversies over what Joan Robinson called ”bastard Keynesianism”. ”Good, old-fashioned, Keynesian economics” (GOKE) substitutes the general and unmotivated assumption of downward money wage rigidity for the detailed examination of the varied social coordination problems that characterize modern capitalist economies. This underrates Keynes’ role as a precursor of modern information economics, and risks losing significant policy insights. The political economy background of the New Classical counter-revolution in economic theory, stemming from the unravelling of the ”capital-labor accord” of the SecondWorldWar, provides some important lessons for the development of a macroeconomic analysis that is relevant to the real problems of modern capitalist economies.
    Keywords: Keynes, macroeconomics, sticky wages, information economics, multiple equilibria
    JEL: B22 D83 E41
    Date: 2014–03
  5. By: Adam M. Lavecchia; Heidi Liu; Philip Oreopoulos
    Abstract: Behavioral economics attempts to integrate insights from psychology, neuroscience, and sociology in order to better predict individual outcomes and develop more effective policy. While the field has been successfully applied to many areas, education has, so far, received less attention - a surprising oversight, given the field's key interest in long-run decision-making and the propensity of youth to make poor long-run decisions. In this chapter, we review the emerging literature on the behavioral economics of education. We first develop a general framework for thinking about why youth and their parents might not always take full advantage of education opportunities. We then discuss how these behavioral barriers may be preventing some students from improving their long-run welfare. We evaluate the recent but rapidly growing efforts to develop policies that mitigate these barriers, many of which have been examined in experimental settings. Finally, we discuss future prospects for research in this emerging field.
    JEL: D03 D87 I2 J24
    Date: 2014–10
  6. By: Nicole Grunewald; Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen / Germany)
    Abstract: This research focuses on identifying the main policy strategies that could potentially contribute to the advance of three Latin American economies, namely Brazil, Chile and Mexico towards a green growth model that is social and inclusive, given the actual patterns of development of those economies. With this aim, we first identify and describe past and current policies in each country in terms of economic, social and environmental indicators. A detailed analysis follows for Brazil, Chile and Mexico, in which we propose a series of green growth indicators and choose a definition and classification of green growth sectors. We estimate an empirical model to explain the determinants of green house gas emissions and deforestation in Latin American countries. We broadly identify the sectors that contribute to its increase and describe the main green policies applied in each country. In turn we identify the sectors with higher potential for the future. Finally, we present policy recommendations and reflections for the future.
    Date: 2014–11–04
  7. By: Brownlow, Graham
    Abstract: The rise and fall of De Lorean Motor Cars Limited (DMCL) has been traditionally interpreted as the result either of John De Lorean´s psychological flaws or as confirming the supposedly inherent weaknesses in activist industrial policy. However, when the episode is examined in more detail, neither of these interpretations is compelling. This paper´s reinterpretation draws on a range of archival evidence, much of it previously unreleased. The concept of Soft Budget Constraints (SBCs), as pioneered by Kornai, is applied to this evidence. The roles of both government and market failure and the contents of the original contractual agreement are highlighted. The soft budgets promoted by the agreement were in turn traceable to the institutional environment under which industrial policy operated in Northern Ireland. This institutional environment had itself been distorted by the Troubles and the fears policymakers had that a cumulative causation situation existed. Kornai´s framework helps us piece all the evidence together.
    Keywords: soft budget constraints,institutions,industrial policy,violence,Northern Ireland
    JEL: N84 N94 O25
    Date: 2014

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