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Saving does not finance Investment: Accounting as an indispensableguide to economic theory

  • Fabian Lindner

The paper analyses the accounting relationships between the financial and the real economy. It will be shown that accounting can clarify the nature of economic phenomena and be an important building block for economic theory. The paper will argue that there is much confusion about key macroeconomic concepts like saving, investment and finance. This confusion is best summarised in the statement "saving finances investment". After clearly defining the accounting relationships between lending, financial saving and physical investment it will be shown that this is a nonsense statement. The theory behind it - the loanable funds theory - will be analysed and critiqued. It will be shown that the loanable funds theory confuses the concepts of income and production, lending and saving, and financial saving and non-financial saving. It will further be shown that this has not only theoretical but also important policy implications.

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File URL: http://www.boeckler.de/pdf/p_imk_wp_100_2012.pdf
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Paper provided by IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute in its series IMK Working Paper with number 100-2012.

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Length: 37pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imk:wpaper:100-2012
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  1. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  2. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1996. "The Financial Accelerator and the Flight to Quality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 1-15, February.
  3. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2010. "Rescuing Europe," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(SPECIALIS), pages 1-22, 08.
  4. M. G. Hayes, 2010. "The loanable funds fallacy: saving, finance and equilibrium," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(4), pages 807-820.
  5. Hansjorg Klausinger, 1999. "German Anticipations of the Keynesian Revolution?: The Case of Lautenbach, Neisser and Ropke," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 378-403.
  6. Bibow, Jorg, 2001. "The Loanable Funds Fallacy: Exercises in the Analysis of Disequilibrium," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(5), pages 591-616, September.
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