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Monetary Policy and Value Judgments : Did we forget Myrdal’s legacy ?


  • Nicolas Barbaroux

    () (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France, Université Jean Monnet, Saint-Etienne, F-42000, France)

  • Michel Bellet

    () (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France, Université Jean Monnet, Saint-Etienne, F-42000, France)


Myrdal’s works are usually analysed with a dual and separated point of view : on the one hand the methodological papers concerning the value problem and based on a strong non neutrality thesis ; on the other part the theoretical analysis concerning monetary theory and policy, with a Wicksellian filiation. In fact both the dimensions are strongly connected by a common way : the application of the Hägerström’s Swedish guillotine between is and ought, but also the construction of a bridge between economic science and political views on social engineering and economic policy. Myrdal wants to address this problem : how economic science can become politically relevant ? This paper analyses two stages of that unique project : the proposition of a "technology of economics" (1930), and the selection process for a "norm for monetary policy" (1939). It shows that Myrdal distorts an initial end and means scheme by proposing some intermediary concepts between positive and normative fields. From a theoretical and statistical framework and an explicit value judgment these concepts enable to elaborate an iterative tree of selection of a speci-c monetary policy. If the Myrdal’s project encounters difficulties in conciliating a non-cognitivist thesis with economic prescriptions and in proposing a tractable method, it remains an important benchmark for the analysis of the links between positive and normative views concerning monetary policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Barbaroux & Michel Bellet, 2014. "Monetary Policy and Value Judgments : Did we forget Myrdal’s legacy ?," Working Papers 1408, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1408

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lars E O Svensson, 2005. "Monetary Policy with Judgment: Forecast Targeting," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(1), May.
    2. Antoinette Baujard, 2013. "Value judgments and economics expertise," Working Papers 1314, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    3. Jonung, Lars, 1979. "Knut wicksell's norm of price stabilization and Swedish monetary policy in the 1930's," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 459-496, October.
    4. Pier Francesco Asso & George A. Kahn & Robert Leeson, 2007. "The Taylor rule and the transformation of monetary policy," Research Working Paper RWP 07-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    5. Cherrier, Beatrice, 2009. "Gunnar Myrdal And The Scientific Way To Social Democracy, 1914–1968," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(01), pages 33-55, March.
    6. Lars Pålsson Syll, 1998. "Myrdal's Immanent Critique of Utility Theory," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 30(3), pages 413-426, Fall.
    7. Nicolas Barbaroux, 2013. "Monetary Policy in Theory and Practice: Facing Internal vs External Stability Dilemma," Post-Print halshs-00667705, HAL.
    8. Svensson, Lars E. O., 2005. "Monetary policy with judgment: forecast targeting," Working Paper Series 476, European Central Bank.
    9. Hans-Michael Trautwein, 2011. "From Austrian Economics To The Swedish Welfare State: Wicksellian Views On Money And Income Distribution," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 61, pages 51-90.
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    More about this item


    value judgment; monetary policy; positive analysis; normative analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General

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