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Full Employment: The Road Not Taken

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  • Pavlina R. Tcherneva

Abstract

It is common knowledge that John Maynard Keynes advocated bold government action to deal with recessions and unemployment. What is not commonly known is that modern "Keynesian policies" bear little, if any, resemblance to the policy measures Keynes himself believed would guarantee true full employment over the long run. This paper corrects this misconception and outlines "the road not taken"; that is, the long-term program for full employment found in Keynes's writings and elaborated on by others in works that are missing from mainstream textbooks and policy initiatives. The analysis herein focuses on why the private sector ordinarily fails to produce full employment, even during strong expansions and in the presence of strong government action. It articulates the reasons why the job of the policymaker is, not to "nudge" private firms to create jobs for all, but to do so itself directly as a matter of last resort. This paper discusses various designs of direct job creation policies that answer Keynes's call for long-run full employment policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Pavlina R. Tcherneva, 2014. "Full Employment: The Road Not Taken," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_789, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_789
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stefan Eriksson & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2014. "Do Employers Use Unemployment as a Sorting Criterion When Hiring? Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1014-1039.
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    Cited by:

    1. C. J. Polychroniou, 2014. "Dead Economic Dogmas Trump Recovery: The Continuing Crisis in the Eurozone Periphery," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_133, Levy Economics Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment as a Monetary Phenomenon; Long-run Full Employment; John Maynard Keynes; Social Economy; Aggregate Demand Management;

    JEL classification:

    • B3 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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