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Reconstructing Macroeconomic Theory to Manage Economic Policy

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  • Joseph E. Stiglitz

Abstract

Macroeconomics has not done well in recent years: The standard models didn't predict the Great Recession; and even said it couldn't happen. After the bubble burst, the models did not predict the full consequences. The paper traces the failures to the attempts, beginning in the 1970s, to reconcile macro and microeconomics, by making the former adopt the standard competitive micro-models that were under attack even then, from theories of imperfect and asymmetric information, game theory, and behavioral economics. The paper argues that any theory of deep downturns has to answer these questions: What is the source of the disturbances? Why do seemingly small shocks have such large effects? Why do deep downturns last so long? Why is there such persistence, when we have the same human, physical, and natural resources today as we had before the crisis? The paper presents a variety of hypotheses which provide answers to these questions, and argues that models based on these alternative assumptions have markedly different policy implications, including large multipliers. It explains why the apparent liquidity trap today is markedly different from that envisioned by Keynes in the Great Depression, and why the Zero Lower Bound is not the central impediment to the effectiveness of monetary policy in restoring the economy to full employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2014. "Reconstructing Macroeconomic Theory to Manage Economic Policy," NBER Working Papers 20517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20517
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stiglitz dresse l'état des lieux de la macroéconomie
      by ? in D'un champ l'autre on 2014-10-03 23:43:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Dosi & Mauro Napoletano & Andrea Roventini & Tania Treibich, 2016. "The Short- and Long-Run Damages of Fiscal Austerity: Keynes beyond Schumpeter," International Economic Association Series, in: Joseph E. Stiglitz & Martin Guzman (ed.), Contemporary Issues in Macroeconomics, chapter 8, pages 79-100, Palgrave Macmillan.
    2. Anna & Leonardo Weller, 2018. "Was Cold War A Constraint To Income Inequality?," Anais do XLIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 44th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 94, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    3. Giovanni Dosi & Mauro Napoletano & Andrea Roventini & Tania Treibich, 2017. "Micro and macro policies in the Keynes+Schumpeter evolutionary models," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 63-90, January.
    4. Mark Setterfield, 2015. "Time variation in the size of the multiplier: a Kalecki-Harrod approach," Working Papers 1522, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2017.
    5. Vassilis Droucopoulos, 2018. "Economic Theory ten years after the crisis: Just tweaking around the edges? and/or A bit of repair at the seams?," Working Papers 2001, Greek Scientific Association of Political Economy - GAPE, revised Dec 2018.
    6. Albuquerque Sant'Anna, André, 2015. "A spectre has haunted the west: did socialism discipline income inequality?," MPRA Paper 64756, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Emre Örün, 2020. "Theoritical Seekings in Macroeconomics," Istanbul Journal of Economics-Istanbul Iktisat Dergisi, Istanbul University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 70(2), pages 451-477, December.
    8. Μαρία Μαρκάκη & Αθηνά Μπελεγρή-Ρομπόλη, 2018. "Στόχος Της Παρούσας Μελέτης Είναι Η Αναλυτική Διερεύνηση Της Παραγωγικής Διάρθρωσης Της Περιφέρειας Κρήτης. Ειδικότερα, Αναλύεται Ο Βαθμός Αλληλεξάρτησης Των Κλάδων Οικονομικής Δραστηριότητας, Όπως Πρ," Working Papers 2002, Greek Scientific Association of Political Economy - GAPE, revised Mar 2019.
    9. David Dequech, 2016. "Some Institutions (Social Norms And Conventions) Of Contemporary Mainstream Economics, Macroeconomics, And Financial Economics," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 006, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    10. Nissanke, Machiko, 2019. "Exploring macroeconomic frameworks conducive to structural transformation of sub-Saharan African economies," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 103-116.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian; Modern Monetary Theory
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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