nep-pke New Economics Papers
on Post Keynesian Economics
Issue of 2020‒07‒20
five papers chosen by
Karl Petrick
Western New England University

  1. Is capacity utilization variable in the long run? An agent-based sectoral approach tomodeling hysteresis in the normal rate of capacity utilization By Federico Bassi; Tom Bauermann; Dany Lang; Mark Setterfield
  2. The odd fiscal ‘implicit bargain’ in the Eurozone. A continental view of sovereignty: List, Chartalism, and Keynes’ international economics By Ignacio Ramirez Cisneros
  3. Financialization increases inequality and leads economy to a dead end By Yashin, Pete
  4. Marx's Theory of Value: A Sympathetic Yet Critical Perspective. By Miguel D. Ramirez
  5. "Distribution and Gender Effects on the Path of Economic Growth: Comparative Evidence for Developed, Semi-Industrialized, and Low-Income Agricultural Economies" By Ruth Badru

  1. By: Federico Bassi (Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali ed Economiche - Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" [Rome]); Tom Bauermann; Dany Lang (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - USPC - Université Sorbonne Paris Cité - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université Sorbonne Paris Nord); Mark Setterfield
    Abstract: ost Keynesian macrodynamic models make various assumptions about the normal rate of capacity utilization. Those rooted in the Classical and neo-Keynesian traditions assume the normal rate is fixed, whereas Kaleckian models treat it as a variable that is endogenous to the actual rate of capacity utilization. This paper contributes to the debate about the normal rate of capacity utilization by developing a model of strong or genuine hysteresis, in which firms make discrete decisions about the normal rate depending on the degree of uncertainty about demand conditions. An agent-based model based on empirical analysis of 25 sectors of the US economy is used to show that hysteresis can cause variation in the normal rate of capacity utilization within a subset of the range of observed variation in the actual capacity utilization rate. This suggests that the economy exhibits both constancy and (endogenous) variability in the normal rate of utilization over different ranges of variation in the actual rate. More broadly speaking, the genuine hysteresis model is shown to provide the basis for a synthesis of Post Keynesian macrodynamics that draws on both the Classical/neo-Keynesian and Kaleckian modeling traditions.
    Date: 2020–06–11
  2. By: Ignacio Ramirez Cisneros (University of Missouri-Kansas City (US))
    Abstract: At present, the European customs and currency union finds itself in a transitional period. Without a path forward toward greater political unity, it has prematurely bound constituents by ‘hard law’ fiscal limitations (the Maastricht criteria, Stability and Growth pact, Fiscal Compact) not dissimilar to those applying to provinces, states, or Laender. In other words, it is caught in an odd 'implicit bargain’ (Goodhart) where members are expected to abide by de jure fiscal constraints with no central authority having the fiscal capabilities for stabilization, redistribution, and state-building (Arrighi) expenditures --all of which are indispensable in modern credit economies. The present paper makes use of European economic traditions reliant on statecraft to revisit the region's integration under the leitmotiv of economic sovereignty as a continental project. Specifically, we look at the work of List, Keynes, and the Chartalists. The work of F. List sets European economic unification in its historic place as a strategy founded in large part on exploiting economies of scale (demand and supply-side) by political and economic aggregation of smaller non-self sustaining economies into one market. This proposal for a new Continental System sought to lay the foundation for ‘catching-up’ or emulation of world economic leaders. Keynes’s international economics serves as the most useful orienting blueprint to begin to address the particularity of economic unification among sovereigns absent political unity. Chartalist insights into the political nature of central banks are of great value, and can help frame the European Central Bank's often clumsy attempts to hold together the Union within a broader scope. Despite its differential treatment of members thus far, the ECB could become a centerpiece institution in the consolidation of Europe as a self-sustaining pole of international effective demand. The overriding thematic principle encompassing the different authors (and traditions) discussed is that of European economic sovereignty in a region continuously struggling to balance political independence with economic co-dependence, and possibly unity.
    Keywords: sovereignty, eurozone, sovereign-constituent fiscal implicit bargain, continental political economy, international macroeconomic viability
    JEL: B15 B52 E12 F15 F45
    Date: 2020–07
  3. By: Yashin, Pete
    Abstract: Modern capitalists multiply their income and wealth largely due to revaluation of the financial assets, which often has no roots in the real sector of the economy. The assets’ market price may exceed the corresponding liabilities of their issuers. Such excessive part of the assets’ value is not secured by anything; it forms an unsecured component of their owners’ wealth. This unsecured component is one of the main reasons for the observed wealth-to-income growth. We have shown that the increase in unsecured wealth necessarily increases inequality. So, the large wealth-to-income ratio indicates inequality strengthening. The rising inequality leads to the impoverishment of the poorest households and inhibition of economic growth. This is facilitated by an imbalance between the total savings and investment which unsecured income causes. A part of the capitalists' huge savings is absorbed by the unsecured growth in the financial assets’ value and do not materialize as capital investments. In fine, the consequence of financialization is the growth of unsecured income and wealth, which entail the rising inequality due to the outstripping growth of the largest fortunes. This causes an imbalance in economic growth and drives the economy into a dead end.
    Keywords: New stylized facts; wealth residuals, unearned income; unsecured wealth;
    JEL: E00 G01
    Date: 2020–06–12
  4. By: Miguel D. Ramirez (Department of Economics, Trinity College)
    Abstract: This paper critically analyzes the important notion of value or exchange-value from a Marxian perspective as opposed to a neoclassical one. It is argued that the value of a commodity is a historically determined social relation between producers, rather than a subjective relation between man and commodities á la Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk and Stanley Jevons. Value, in the Marxian scheme, tends to assume certain specific forms more often than others depending on the particular stage of economic history, reaching its fullest expression under capitalist production–the highest form of commodity production based on private property. In turn, exchange value–a quantitative relation--is the manner in which value expresses its character of being the product of social (abstract) labor. The paper highlights the classical view of value as expounded by David Ricardo, and focuses on how Marx develops and attempts to resolve key problems in Ricardo’s labor theory of value. It is argued that Ricardo dealt not only with the problem of relative value, but, like Marx, also grappled with the concept of positive (absolute) value. The paper also reviews important challenges to Marx’s theory of value, ranging from the role of the composition of aggregate demand in determining “socially necessary labor†to the issue of whether the transformation of labor values into prices of production is an unnecessary and irrelevant exercise. Finally, the paper turns its attention to the economic role of time from a Marxian perspective as it relates to the determination of interest-bearing (loan) capital and Adam Smith’s important distinction between productive and unproductive labor–one whose clear comprehension rests on viewing value as a social relation.
    JEL: B10 B14 B24
    Date: 2020–07
  5. By: Ruth Badru
    Abstract: This paper applies a robust empirical methodology, which considers issues relating to cross-country heterogeneity and cross-sectional dependence, to inspect the contributions of gender equality and factor income distribution to an economy's growth path. A dynamic model of aggregate demand is estimated on a unique panel dataset from 46 countries that are further grouped into developed (DC), semi-industrialized (SIEs), and low-income agricultural economies (LIAEs). The empirical findings suggest that, overall, growth is driven by investment in the short run and domestic demand in the long run. In the short run, the results suggest that low female wages act as a stimulus to growth in SIEs but may promote contractionary pressures on demand in the long run. For LIAEs and DCs, the effect of improved labor market conditions for women--leaving men's constant--on demand-led growth conditions are positive in the short run but may harm long-term growth prospects. In all, the empirical evidence, combined with the stylized facts about institutional and economic inequality, suggests that the impact of gender and income inequality on macroeconomic outcomes will differ depending on the economic structure and level of economic development.
    Keywords: Gender Equality; Demand-led Growth; Aggregate Demand; Functional Income Distribution; Economic Development; Autoregressive Distributed Lag Models (ARDL)
    JEL: E02 E12 E20 F41 I30

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