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Keynesian Models of Deflation and Depression Revisited: Inside Debt and Price Flexibility

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  • Thomas I. Palley

Abstract

This paper extends Tobin’s (1975) Keynesian analysis of deflation to include a range of additional channels through which deflation exacerbates Keynesian unemployment. The paper provides further theoretical reasons why downward price level adjustment may not solve the Keynesian problem. These arguments challenge the received wisdom that Keynes’ General Theory is a special case resting on downwardly rigid prices and nominal wages. This conventional wisdom has led many economists to recommend policies promoting downward flexibility. These policies have created an environment in which deflation is more likely, giving new relevance to Keynesian analysis of deflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas I. Palley, 2008. "Keynesian Models of Deflation and Depression Revisited: Inside Debt and Price Flexibility," Working Papers wp169, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp169
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    File URL: https://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_151-200/WP169.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tobin, James, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 195-202, May.
    2. De Long, James Bradford & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Is Increased Price Flexibility Stabilizing?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1031-1044, December.
    3. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
    4. Tobin, James, 1982. "Money and Finance in the Macroeconomic Process," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 14(2), pages 171-204, May.
    5. William C. Brainard & James Tobin, 1968. "Pitfalls in Financial Model-Building," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 244, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    6. Barro, Robert J & Grossman, Herschel I, 1971. "A General Disequilibrium Model of Income and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 82-93, March.
    7. Palley, Thomas I., 1999. "General disequilibrium analysis with inside debt," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 785-803.
    8. Caskey, John & Fazzari, Steven M, 1987. "Aggregate Demand Contractions with Nominal Debt Commitments: Is Wage Flexibility Stabilizing?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(4), pages 583-597, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas I. Palley, 2014. "Milton Friedmans economics and political economy: an old Keynesian critique," IMK Working Paper 134-2014, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    2. Murakami, Hiroki, 2014. "Keynesian systems with rigidity and flexibility of prices and inflation–deflation expectations," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 68-85.
    3. Murakami, Hiroki, 2015. "Wage flexibility and economic stability in a non-Walrasian model of economic growth," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 25-41.
    4. Fazzari, Steven M. & Ferri, Piero & Greenberg, Edward, 2010. "Investment and the Taylor rule in a dynamic Keynesian model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2010-2022, October.
    5. Sherrill Shaffer, 2008. "Earnings Valuation And Sources Of Growth," CAMA Working Papers 2008-32, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    6. Steven Fazzari & Piero Ferri & AnnaMaria Variato, 2018. "Demand-led growth and accommodating supply," FMM Working Paper 15-2018, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    7. Steven M. Fazzari & Pietro E. Ferri & Edward G. Greenberg & Anna Maria Variato, 2013. "Aggregate demand, instability, and growth," Review of Keynesian Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 1-21, January.
    8. Alfonso Palacio Vera, 2008. "The "New consensus"and the Post-Keynesian approach to the analysis of liquidity traps," Documentos de trabajo de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales 08-03, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    deflation; liquidity trap; Fisher debt effect; price flexibility;

    JEL classification:

    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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