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The secular stagnation hypothesis: a review of the debate and some insights

Author

Listed:
  • Patrizio Pagano

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Massimo Sbracia

    (Banl of Italy)

Abstract

Recent studies warn that the U.S. economy may return to a phase of secular stagnation. In the next 20 to 50 years, U.S. economic growth will be negatively affected by lower contributions of hours worked and education. But some studies also add that productivity could decelerate sharply and that GDP per capita, by focusing on the average household, neglects that income has already been stagnating in the last 30 years for the households in the bottom 99% of the income distribution. After reviewing recent long-run projections, we argue that similar warnings were issued in the past after all deep recessions. Interestingly, pessimistic predictions turned out to be wrong neither because they were built on erroneous theories or data, nor because they failed to predict the discovery of new technologies, but because they underestimated the potential of the technologies that already existed. These findings suggest that today we should not make the same mistake and undervalue the effects of the information technology. Finally, we discuss a number of issues that should be tackled by future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrizio Pagano & Massimo Sbracia, 2014. "The secular stagnation hypothesis: a review of the debate and some insights," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 231, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_231_14
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    Cited by:

    1. Grace Taylor & Rod Tyers, 2017. "Secular Stagnation: Determinants and Consequences for Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 93(303), pages 615-650, December.
    2. Andrea Borsato, 2021. "Does the Secular Stagnation hypothesis match with data? Evidence from USA," Working Papers of BETA 2021-11, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    3. Federico Barbiellini Amidei & Matteo Gomellini & Paolo Piselli, 2018. "The contribution of demography to Italy's economic growth: a two-hundred-year-long story," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 431, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    4. Stefano Neri & Giuseppe Ferrero, 2017. "Monetary policy in a low interest rate environment," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 392, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Di Bucchianico, Stefano, 2020. "Discussing Secular Stagnation: A case for freeing good ideas from theoretical constraints?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 288-297.
    6. Richters, Oliver & Siemoneit, Andreas, 2017. "Fear of stagnation? A review on growth imperatives," VÖÖ Discussion Papers 6/2017, Vereinigung für Ökologische Ökonomie e.V. (VÖÖ).
    7. Stefano Di Bucchianico, 2019. "A critical analysis of the secular stagnation theory," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0245, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    8. van den End, Jan Willem & Hoeberichts, Marco, 2018. "Low real rates as driver of secular stagnation: Empirical assessment," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 29-40.
    9. Giovanna Ciaffi & Matteo Deleidi & Stefano Di Bucchianico, 2022. "Stagnation despite ongoing innovation: Is R&D expenditure composition a missing link? An empirical analysis for the US (1948-2019)," Department of Economics University of Siena 877, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    10. Stefano Di Bucchianico, 2021. "Negative Interest Rate Policy to Fight Secular Stagnation: Unfeasible, Ineffective, Irrelevant, or Inadequate?," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 687-710, October.
    11. Barry Eichengreen, 2015. "Wall of Worries: Reflections on the Secular Stagnation Debate," IMES Discussion Paper Series 15-E-05, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
    12. Daniele, Vittorio, 2015. "Una stagnazione secolare? Italia, Giappone, Stati Uniti, 1950-2015 [Towards a secular stagnation? Italy, Japan, United States, 1950-2015]," MPRA Paper 69997, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Ignazio Visco, 2019. "Stabilità e sviluppo in un'economia globale (Stability and development in a global economy)," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 72(285), pages 3-13.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    secular stagnation; technological change; income inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

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