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The US Business Cycle since 1950: A Post Keynesian Explanation

Listed author(s):
  • John Harvey


    (Department of Economics, Texas Christian University)

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    Despite its professed emphasis on the real world, the Post Keynesian literature lacks a history of business cycle fluctuations in a particular economy. This is an extremely important oversight. Not only might such a study be useful to researchers, but students are anxious to acquire practical as well as theoretical knowledge and to see historical applications of theory. This paper fills that gap by offering both theory and evidence regarding US cycles since 1950 through the Great Recession. The theory is derived from Keynes’ General Theory, while the evidence is comprised of a simple statistical analysis along with a narrative covering each expansion and recession. It will be argued that, despite Mainstream descriptions of capitalism as a relatively stable system occasionally interrupted by exogenous shocks, business cycles are systemic and a manifestation of the instability inherent to the capitalist system. The complete story cannot be told without reference to fiscal and monetary policy, oil shocks, strikes, and so on–but most of it can.

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    File Function: First version, 2010
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    Paper provided by Texas Christian University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201008.

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    Length: 47 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2010
    Publication status: Forthcoming in Journal of Post Keynesian Economics
    Handle: RePEc:tcu:wpaper:201008
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