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Back to the future with Keynes

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  • Lee E. Ohanian

Abstract

This article analyzes Keynes's "Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren"- an essay presenting Keynes's views about economic growth into the 21st century - from the perspective of modern growth theory. I find that the implicit theoretical framework used by Keynes to form his expectations about the 21st-century world economy is remarkably close to modern growth models, featuring a stable steady-state growth path driven by technological progress. On the other hand, Keynes's forecast of employment in the 21st century is far off the mark, reflecting a mistaken view that the income elasticity of leisure is much higher than that of consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Lee E. Ohanian, 2008. "Back to the future with Keynes," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 10-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:2008:i:jul:p:10-16:n:v.32no.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Swan, Trevor W, 2002. "Economic Growth," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 78(243), pages 375-380, December.
    2. Ohanian, Lee & Raffo, Andrea & Rogerson, Richard, 2008. "Long-term changes in labor supply and taxes: Evidence from OECD countries, 1956-2004," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1353-1362, November.
    3. Cooley, Thomas F & Ohanian, Lee E, 1997. "Postwar British Economic Growth and the Legacy of Keynes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 439-472, June.
    4. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1963. "On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    6. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
    7. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "The Great U.K. Depression: A Puzzle and Possible Resolution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 19-44, January.
    8. David Cass, 1965. "Optimum Growth in an Aggregative Model of Capital Accumulation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(3), pages 233-240.
    9. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
    10. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tapia, Jose, 2015. "Profits encourage investment, investment dampens profits, government spending does not prime the pump — A DAG investigation of business-cycle dynamics," MPRA Paper 64698, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Anna Carabelli & Mario Cedrini, 2011. "The Economic Problem of Happiness: Keynes on Happiness and Economics," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 40(3), pages 335-359, October.
    3. Jason Potts, 2017. "Institutions hold consumption on a leash: an evolutionary economic approach to the future of consumption," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 239-250, April.

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    Keywords

    Economic history ; National income;

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