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On the Effectiveness of Monetary Policy and of Fiscal Policy

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  • Philip Arestis
  • Malcolm Sawyer

Abstract

There has been a major shift within macroeconomic policy over the past two decades or so in terms of the relative importance given to monetary policy and to fiscal policy in both policy and theoretical terms. The former has gained considerably in importance, with the latter being rarely mentioned. Furthermore, the nature of monetary policy has shifted away from any attempt to control some monetary aggregate (prevalent in the first half of the 1980s), and instead monetary policy has focused on the setting of interest rates as the key policy instrument. There has also been a general shift towards the adoption of inflation targets and the use of monetary policy to target inflation. This paper considers the significance of this shift in the nature of monetary policy. This enables us to question the effectiveness of monetary policy, and to explore the role of fiscal policy. We examine these questions from the point of view of the "new consensus" in monetary economics and suggest that it is rather limited in its analysis. When the analysis is broadened out to embrace empirical issues and evidence the clear conclusion emerges that monetary policy is relatively impotent. The role of fiscal policy is also considered, and we argue that fiscal policy (under specified conditions) remains a powerful tool for macroeconomic policy. This is particularly an apt conclusion under current economic conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Arestis & Malcolm Sawyer, 2004. "On the Effectiveness of Monetary Policy and of Fiscal Policy," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 62(4), pages 441-463.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:62:y:2004:i:4:p:441-463
    DOI: 10.1080/0034676042000296218
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Philip Arestis & Malcolm Sawyer, 2002. "Can Monetary Policy Affect The Real Economy?," Macroeconomics 0209012, EconWPA.
    2. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1991. "Corporate Structure, Liquidity, and Investment: Evidence from Japanese Industrial Groups," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 33-60.
    3. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393 Elsevier.
    4. R. Glenn Hubbard & Anil K. Kashyap & Toni M. Whited, 1993. "Internal Finance and Firm Investment," NBER Working Papers 4392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. P Arestis & A Mihailov, 2009. "Flexible Rules cum Constrained Discretion: A New Consensus in Monetary Policy," Economic Issues Journal Articles, Economic Issues, vol. 14(2), pages 27-54, September.
    2. Mark Setterfield & Kurt von Seekamm, 2012. "Stabilization Policy with an Endogenous Commercial Bank," Chapters,in: Monetary Policy and Central Banking, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Şen, Hüseyin & Kaya, Ayşe, 2017. "How large are fiscal multipliers in Turkey?," EconStor Preprints 162763, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    4. Azizi, Karim & Canry, Nicolas & Chatelain, Jean-Bernard & Tinel, Bruno, 2013. "Government Solvency, Austerity and Fiscal Consolidation in the OECD: A Keynesian Appraisal of Transversality and No Ponzi Game Conditions," EconStor Preprints 72550, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. Philip Arestis & Alexander Mihailov, 2007. "Flexible Rules cum Constrained Discretion: A New Consensus in Monetary Policy," Economic Analysis Research Group Working Papers earg-wp2007-13, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    7. Angel Asensio, 2008. "(Post) Keynesian alternative to inflation targeting," Post-Print halshs-00335560, HAL.
    8. repec:rdg:wpaper:em-dp2007-53 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Mark Hayes, 2006. "The Economics of Keynes: A New Guide to The General Theory," Books, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG), number nggt.
    10. Louis-Philippe Rochon & Sergio Rossi, 2013. "Endogenous money: the evolutionary versus revolutionary views," Review of Keynesian Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 1(2), pages 210-229, January.

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