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Das „saldenmechanische Modell“ von Fritz Helmedag und die Empirie
[Fritz Helmedag’s model of the mechanism of net balances and the real data]


  • Quaas, Georg


The mechanism of net balances – called “Saldenmechanik” in German – was the subject of a theory presented by Wolfgang Sützel in the 50ies of the last century. Stützel was “concerned with money flows between economic units and with net changes in the money holdings of these units as a result of such flows.” (Hein 1959) The name of Helmedag’s model refers to this tradition of macroeconomic thinking. From a point of view on the outside, Helemdag’s model of net balances can be characterized by an aggregate level comparable to the macroeconomic IS-model, but instead of specifying consumption and investment functions it is focused on income distribution and taxes – including their influence on national income and employment. Because the mathematical part of the model consists of identities only, it is similar to some equations of the modern system of national accounts (SNA), but without claiming and reaching their accuracy and richness. This feature makes it difficult to confront the model with real data. For this purpose it has to be embed in the SNA by adding some variables and by interpreting others in the light of some structural similarities between equations of the model and some equations of the SNA. Under these conditions, Helmedag’s model can be confronted with real data and its main conclusions can be tested empirically. Ignoring the well known national and personal saving rates, Helmedag’s model utilizes different saving rates: The profit-saving rate is understood as the saving of profits as a percentage of profit income; the wage-saving rate is defined as the saving of wages as a percentage of wage income. Both rates are no part of the SNA as it is commonly understood. Therefore it was necessary to compute these special saving rates empirically on the basis of an additional socio-economic data set. As expected, it proofed right that profit-saving rates are usually higher than wage-saving rates. With these results, the model could interpreted empirically. It became evident that some of the consequences drawn by Helmedag and poured by him into the treasure chamber of inexpensive political recommendations were seriously wrong. Especially the proposition that indirect taxes (value added taxes) have no effect on national income and employment can be regarded as falsified. Hein, John (1959) on W. Stützel: Volkswirtschaftliche Saldenmechanik: Ein Beitrag zur Geldtheorie. In: The American Economic Review, Vol. 49, No. 5 (Dec 1959), pp.1088-1089.

Suggested Citation

  • Quaas, Georg, 2007. "Das „saldenmechanische Modell“ von Fritz Helmedag und die Empirie
    [Fritz Helmedag’s model of the mechanism of net balances and the real data]
    ," MPRA Paper 19645, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:19645

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lucke, Bernd, 2006. "Schlechter Wein in alten Schläuchen: Eine Replik auf Helmedag," Wirtschaftsdienst – Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik (1949 - 2007), ZBW – German National Library of Economics / Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 86(3), pages 204-206.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nägele, Johannes, 2017. "Eine keynesianische Analyse der Beschäftigungswirkung einer Arbeitszeitverkürzung
      [A Keynesian analysis of the employment effects of a working time reduction]
      ," MPRA Paper 82109, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Quaas, Georg, 2007. "Vom Regen in die Traufe – eine Analyse der neusten Version des „Saldenmechanischen Modells“ von Fritz Helmedag
      [Out of the frying pan and into the fire – An analysis of the latest version of the so
      ," MPRA Paper 65341, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2015.

    More about this item


    Mechanism of net balances; “Saldenmechanik”; the effect of the value added tax on national income; theory testing;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth


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