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New Macroeconomics Teaching for a New Era: Instability, Inequality, and Environment Jonathan M. Harris http: //ase. tufts. edu/gdae Copyright © 2014 Jonathan M. Harris
Teaching Macroeconomics: Missing Perspectives Current mainstream texts (e. g. Mankiw, Principles of Economics) lack treatment of: • Instability (assume classical long-run full-employment) • Inequality (no empirical assessment of increasing inequality, no treatment of macro effects) • Environment/Resource limits (only brief mention) • Infrastructure and Social Investment (very limited treatment) Limitations and biased policy implications arise from assumptions of Aggregate Supply/Aggregate Demand model
The assumption of a fixed Long-Run Aggregate Supply curve means that government policy is ineffective, affecting only the price level in the long run. Source: Mankiw, Principles of Economics, 5 th ed. , Chapter 33
Is AS/AD salvageable? • Inherent inconsistency in AS/AD as presented in standard texts (with price level equilibrium). • Continued dominance because it appears to work (at least for short-term results) but intellectual incoherence (as per Colander critique) and New Classical bias. • Dynamic approach (using inflation) is more intellectually consistent, and reflects more Keynesian perspective.
A New Approach to Teaching Macroeconomics • • • Dynamic approach to AS/AD Recognition of inherent instability Active government policy responses Importance of distribution and inequality Consideration of resource and environmental limits
The Aggregate Supply Curve As the economy approaches its maximum capacity, inflation levels tend to rise as excessive demand for workers, goods and services, and production inputs pushes up wages and prices. Unemployment Wage. Price Spiral Inflation rate (π ) Aggregate Supply (AS) Maximum Capacity Y* Output (Y ) Source: Goodwin et al. , Macroeconomics in Context, 2 nd ed. , Chapter 13
Expansionary Fiscal Policy in Response to a Recession An expansion of government spending, as well as a program of tax cuts, shifts the AD curve to the right. Unemployment Inflation rate (π ) AS E 1 AD 1 E 0 AD 0 Y* Output (Y ) Source: Goodwin et al. , Macroeconomics in Context, 2 nd ed. , Chapter 13
Factors affecting AD, AS • Slope of AD based on real wealth, real money supply and trade effects, plus Fed response rule. • Position of AD: instability of investment, variability of consumption based on income distribution and debt, fiscal and monetary policy, trade in open economy • Position of AS: technology, natural resource and environmental constraints, institutions, infrastructure investment
Implications of dynamic AS/AD • All of the factors affecting positions of AS and AD are the proper domain of economic analysis and policy; cannot simply rely on “efficient markets”. • There is no “equlibrium price level” for the macro economy, and factors such as money illusion and rational expectations are not needed to explain shifts in macro equilibrium. • Different equilibria, disequilibria, and varied growth paths exist. Inherent instability may affect investment, macro equilibrium (as per Keynes).
GDP AND CO 2 Emissions Brunei CO 2 Emissions per Capita (Metric Tons) 25. 00 United Arab Emirates Bahrain 20. 00 United States Saudi Arabia Kazakhstan 15. 00 10. 00 Norway China 5. 00 Sweden India - 5, 000 10, 000 15, 000 Gabon 20, 000 25, 000 30, 000 35, 000 GDP per Capita (2005 $, PPP) Switzerland 40, 000 45, 000 CO 2 emissions are correlated with GDP, but different growth paths exist, including low-carbon paths. 50, 000
INCOME SHARES OF TOP 10% AND TOP 1% 60 Top 10 Percent 50 Percent 40 30 Top 1 Percent 20 10 0 1917 1922 1927 1932 1937 1942 1947 1952 1957 1962 1967 1972 1977 1982 1987 1992 1997 2002 2007 2012 Inequality in the U. S. has risen to levels not seen since the 1920 s, with macroeconomic consequences including increased debt and more unstable aggregate demand.
GDP and GPI Per Capita (2000 US $) GDP AND THE GENUINE PROGRESS INDICATOR Gross Domestic Product Genuine Progress Indicator Increasing GDP does not necessarily mean increasing wellbeing; other indicators may be needed.
PROJECTIONS FOR STABILIZED GDP/LIMITS TO GROWTH Index (2005=100) 300 250 200 GDP/Capita 150 100 GHG Unemployment Poverty Debt to GDP 50 0 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 Year Indefinite growth is not essential for macro stability. A macroeconomic model for Canada shows that GDP/capita can be stabilized while improving social indicators and lowering environmental impacts. Source: Peter Victor, Managing Without Growth, 2008.
Greening Macroeconomics • Revised National Income Accounts • “Green Keynesian” policies of Social Investment for Full Employment • Carbon Tax, Resource Taxes • Limits to Growth
Examples of “Green” Macro Policy: U. S. • $787 billion dollar stimulus package included about $71 billion for specifically “green” investments, plus $20 billion in “green” tax incentives. • • • Energy efficiency in Federal buildings and Do. D facilities -- $8. 7 billion Smart-grid infrastructure investment -- $11 billion Energy and conservation grants to state and local governments -- $6. 3 billion Weatherization assistance -- $5 billion Energy efficiency and renewable energy research -- 2. 5 billion Advanced battery manufacturing -- $2 billion Loan guarantees for wind and solar projects -- $6 billion Public transit and high-speed rail -- 17. 7 billion Environmental cleanup -- $14. 6 billion Environmental research -- $6. 6 billion Aggressive Federal policy action including “green” investments “probably averted what could have been called Great Depression 2. 0. . . without the government’s response, GDP in 2010 would be about 11. 5% lower, payroll employment would be less by some 8 ½ million jobs, and the nation would now be experiencing deflation. ” (Blinder and Zandi, “How the Great Recession was Brought to an End”, 2010).
Examples of “Green” Macro Policy: Portugal • Portugal government-led transition from fossil fuels towards renewable power, with the percentage of renewable supply in Portugal’s grid up from 17 percent in 2005 to 45 percent in 2010. • $22 billion investment in modernizing electrical grid and developing wind and hydropower facilities. • Portugal will recoup some of its investment through European Union carbon credits, and will save about $2. 3 billion a year on avoided natural gas imports. “Portugal Gives Itself a Clean-Energy Makeover, ” New York Times August 10, 2010.
Policies for Full Employment • Increased hiring in public sector: teachers, police, construction, transit and park workers, etc. • Major energy efficiency and renewables investment, partly public and partly incentivized private investment • Large-scale building retrofit publicly financed but carried out by private contractors • Increased public R&D expenditures with accompanying higher education investment (“Sputnik” precedent) • Investment in public transit and infrastructure, public health, education, environmental conservation and regeneration
Policies For Climate Stabilization • Carbon tax or equivalent (cap & trade with auction) • Recycle revenues of ≥ $150 billion for energy efficiency, renewables, progressive rebates • R&D investment ($3 -12 billion) focuses on efficiency and renewables • Infrastructure investment – hi-speed rail, public transit, green buildings, solar and wind power • Efficiency standards for plants, vehicles, machinery, buildings • Preferential credit or subsidy for energy efficiency investments
What about Deficits and Debt? • Krugman: “Suppose that government uses borrowed money to buy useful things like infrastructure. The true social cost will be very low, because the spending will put resources that would otherwise be unemployed to work [and allow private debtors to pay down their debt] … the argument that debt can’t cure debt is just wrong. ” • Europe’s problems now arise from unwillingness to use European Central Bank to finance debt, allowing indebted players to recover. Instead, “austerity” policies make debt harder to manage and threaten major defaults and financial catastrophe. • U. S. focus on debt reduction prevents further stimulus spending, threatens to derail weak recovery (like 1937). • All based on what Keynes called “the Treasury view” or Herbert Hoover economics: balance the budget during recession. Sources: Krugman, “Mr. Keynes and the Moderns”, 2011.
Conclusion • Breaking with standard macro models and returning to a more “Keynesian” dynamic model allows instructors to address modern problems of instability, inequality, and environment. • This approach does not necessarily prescribe what’s right in terms of policy, but opens up the possibility of constructive activist macro policy to address crucial issues.
Other relevant publications from Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute