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Potential Output in Theory and Practice: A Revision and Update of Okun`s Original Method

Author

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  • Claudia Fontanari,

    (Roma Tre University.)

  • Antonella Palumbo

    (Roma Tre University.)

  • Chiara Salvatori

    (Roma Tre University.)

Abstract

This paper challenges the mainstream view of potential output, and enquires into the supposed effects of Great Recession on potential growth. We identify in the demand-led growth perspective a more promising theoretical framework both to define the notion and to gauge the long-term effects of a demand slow down. Based on the poor reliability of standard estimates of potential output, we also propose an alternative calculation. This is based on an update of Arthur M. Okun`s original method for estimating potential output, which, differently from the estimation methods currently in use, does not rely on the notion of NAIRU, thus being immune to its theoretical and empirical shortcomings. Our calculation, based on a re-estimation of Okun`s Law on US quarterly data, shows both how far an economy generally operates from its production possibilities, and how much potential growth is affected by the actual growth of demand over time. These wide margins for expansion of actual and potential output growth imply that a determined policy of demand expansion would create, given time, the very capacity that justifies it.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Fontanari, & Antonella Palumbo & Chiara Salvatori, 2019. "Potential Output in Theory and Practice: A Revision and Update of Okun`s Original Method," Working Papers Series 93, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
  • Handle: RePEc:thk:wpaper:93
    DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.3419280
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    3. John Komlos, 2019. "Estimating Labor Market Slack, U.S. 1994-2019," CESifo Working Paper Series 7941, CESifo.
    4. Botta, Alberto & Tippet, Ben, 2020. "The roots of a divided eurozone: rigid labour markets or asymmetric technology-macroeconomic regimes?," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 30958, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
    5. Antonio Di Majo, 2020. "Democrazia di Bilancio e Governo delle Finanze pubbliche nella storia del Budgeting pubblico," Working papers 86, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    6. Mindaugas Butkus & Kristina Matuzeviciute & Dovile Rupliene & Janina Seputiene, 2020. "Does Unemployment Responsiveness to Output Change Depend on Age, Gender, Education, and the Phase of the Business Cycle?," Economies, MDPI, vol. 8(4), pages 1-29, November.
    7. Roberto Ciccone & Antonella Stirati, 2019. "Blanchard e Summers: rivoluzione o conservazione? (Blanchard and Summers: revolution or conservation?)," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 72(287), pages 207-218.
    8. Christian Breuer, 2021. "Structural Indicators and the Fiscal Uncertainty Principle," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 56(4), pages 182-183, July.
    9. Antonio Di Majo, 2020. "Budgeting pubblico, democrazia di bilancio, governo delle finanze pubbliche: la storia di una complessa interazione (Public budgeting, budet democracy, and public finances governance: History of a com," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 73(291), pages 237-259.
    10. Stefano Di Bucchianico, 2021. "Negative Interest Rate Policy to Fight Secular Stagnation: Unfeasible, Ineffective, Irrelevant, or Inadequate?," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 687-710, October.
    11. Louis-Philippe Rochon & Mario Seccareccia, 2021. "A Primer on Monetary Policy and Income Distribution: A Heterodox Perspective," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(76), pages 5-25, May.
    12. Philipp Heimberger, 2020. "Potential Output, EU Fiscal Surveillance and the COVID-19 Shock," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 55(3), pages 167-174, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    potential output; Okun`s law; unemployment; demand-led growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • E11 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Marxian; Sraffian; Kaleckian
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian; Modern Monetary Theory
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes

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