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The return of fiscal policy


  • Philip Arestis
  • Malcolm Sawyer


This paper examines the implications of the experience with the financial crisis of August 2007 for fiscal policy and the use made of it. We briefly sketch the changing attitudes toward fiscal policy and the demise of arbitrary rules for the budget deficits and the reassertion of purposeful fiscal policy, that is fiscal policy for the purpose of helping to create the conditions for high levels of employment. Instead of a focus on debt overall, there should be consideration of the net balance sheet position. It is often argued that running a budget deficit places upward pressure on interest rates. We argue that in the context of the use of "functional finance," the ability of the deficit to in effect fund itself removes any underlying upward pressure on interest rates. We also deal with the issue of balance-of-payments constraints, and argue that under such circumstances the appropriate policy response is not to forgo fiscal policy but rather to tackle the balance-of-payments constraint.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Arestis & Malcolm Sawyer, 2010. "The return of fiscal policy," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 327-346, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:postke:v:32:y:2010:i:3:p:327-346

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    2. David Colander & Richard Holt & Barkley Rosser, 2004. "The changing face of mainstream economics," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 485-499.
    3. Tony Lawson, 1994. "The Nature of Post Keynesianism and Its Links to Other Traditions: A Realist Perspective," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 503-538, July.
    4. David Dequech, 2007. "Neoclassical, mainstream, orthodox, and heterodox economics," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 279-302.
    5. Paul Davidson, 2005. "Responses to Lavoie, King, and Dow on what Post Keynesianism is and who is a Post Keynesian," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(3), pages 393-408.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Skott, 2016. "Aggregate demand, functional finance, and secular stagnation," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 13(2), pages 172-188, September.
    2. Phillip Anthony O’Hara, 2011. "International Subprime Crisis and Recession: Emerging Macroprudential, Monetary, Fiscal and Global Governance," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 58(1), pages 1-17, March.
    3. Şen, Hüseyin & Kaya, Ayşe, 2017. "How large are fiscal multipliers in Turkey?," EconStor Preprints 162763, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    4. Nikolaidi, Maria, 2014. "Margins of safety and instability in a macrodynamic model with Minskyan insights," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 1-16.
    5. Soon Ryoo & Peter Skott, 2013. "Public debt and full employment in a stock-flow consistent model of a corporate economy," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 511-528.
    6. Muriel Pucci & Bruno Tinel, 2010. "Réductions d'impôts et dette publique : un lien à ne pas occulter," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 10085, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    7. repec:ums:papers:2012-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Pedro Leão, 2013. "The Effect of Government Spending on the Debt-to-GDP Ratio: Some Keynesian Arithmetic," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 448-465, July.
    9. Pedro Leao, 2015. "Is a Very High Public Debt a Problem?," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_843, Levy Economics Institute.
    10. Skott Peter & Ryoo Soon, 2014. "Public debt in an OLG model with imperfect competition: long-run effects of austerity programs and changes in the growth rate," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-20, January.
    11. Skott, Peter & Ryoo, Soon, 2015. "Functional finance and intergenerational distribution in a Keynesian OLG model," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2015-13, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    12. Greg Hannsgen & Tai Young-Taft, 2015. "Inside Money in a Kaldor-Kalecki-Steindl Fiscal Policy Model: The Unit of Account, Inflation, Leverage, and Financial Fragility," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_839, Levy Economics Institute.
    13. repec:voj:journl:v:64:y:2017:i:1:p:61-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Philip Arestis & Malcolm Sawyer, 2010. "What Monetary Policy after the Crisis?," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 499-515.


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