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Money, fiscal policy, and interest rates: A critique of Modern Monetary Theory

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  • Thomas I. Palley

Abstract

This paper excavates the set of ideas known as modern monetary theory (MMT). The principal conclusion is that the macroeconomics of MMT is a restatement of elementary well-understood Keynesian macroeconomics. There is nothing new in MMT's construction of monetary macroeconomics that warrants the distinct nomenclature of MMT. Moreover, MMT over-simplifies the challenges of attaining non-inflationary full employment by ignoring the dilemmas posed by Phillips curve analysis; the dilemmas associated with maintaining real and financial sector stability; and the dilemmas confronting open economies. Its policy recommendations also rest on over-simplistic analysis that takes little account of political economy difficulties, and its interest rate policy recommendation would likely generate instability. At this time of high unemployment, when too many policymakers are being drawn toward mistaken fiscal austerity, MMT's polemic on behalf of expansionary fiscal policy is useful. However, that does not justify turning a blind eye to MMT's oversimplifications of macroeconomic theory and policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas I. Palley, 2013. "Money, fiscal policy, and interest rates: A critique of Modern Monetary Theory," IMK Working Paper 109-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:imk:wpaper:109-2013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Louis-Philippe Rochon & Matias Vernengo & Louis-Philippe Rochon & Matias Vernengo, 2003. "State money and the real world: or chartalism and its discontents," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 57-67.
    2. William Poole, 1969. "Optimal choice of monetary policy instruments in a simple stochastic macro model," Special Studies Papers 2, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Alan T. Peacock & Jack Wiseman, 1961. "The Growth of Public Expenditure in the United Kingdom," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number peac61-1.
    4. Tobin, James, 1982. "Money and Finance in the Macroeconomic Process," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 14(2), pages 171-204, May.
    5. Knapp, Georg Friedrich, 1924. "The State Theory of Money," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number knapp1924.
    6. William Poole, 1970. "Optimal Choice of Monetary Policy Instruments in a Simple Stochastic Macro Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 197-216.
    7. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
    8. Blinder, Alan S. & Solow, Robert M., 1973. "Does fiscal policy matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 319-337.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cecilia Maigua & Gekara Mouni, 2016. "Influence of Interest Rates Determinants on the Performance of Commercial Banks in Kenya," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 6(2), pages 121-133, April.
    2. Eric Tymoigne & L. Randall Wray, 2013. "Modern Money Theory 101: A Reply to Critics," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_778, Levy Economics Institute.
    3. Eckhard Hein, 2016. "Autonomous government expenditure growth, deficits, debt and distribution in a neo-Kaleckian growth model," Working Papers 2016-02, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Economia e Giurisprudenza.
    4. Cavalieri, Duccio, 2014. "Towards an integrated theory of value, capital and money," MPRA Paper 58198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Cavalieri, Duccio, 2015. "Structural interdependence in monetary economics: theoretical assessment and policy implications," MPRA Paper 65526, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Pedro Leao, 2015. "Is a Very High Public Debt a Problem?," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_843, Levy Economics Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    modern monetary theory; money financed budget deficits; fiscal policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy

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