Employment theory in the History of Economic thought: an overview
The theory of employment is clearly a central question in economic thought. Economists of all traditions and schools have always admitted short run fluctuations in aggregate employment levels associated with the business cycle and explained them with a variety of factors. Yet the central question is, of course, fluctuations around which long run level of employment? Focussing mainly on long run aspects of employment theory, this paper aims at providing an overview of different theoretical approaches that have been prominent in various phases in the history of economics up to the present. It necessarily summarizes and, hence, simplifies approaches and debates, but may be useful in suggesting that textbook accounts of past authors (including Keynes) and approaches may be wrong, or at least very controversial. It may thus stimulate a renewed interest in past authors and suggest the possibility of a different angle in reading past and present controversies.
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