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Keynes and the Birth of Modern Macroeconomics

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Abstract

The usual description of Keynes's macroeconomics as relying on the postulate of money wage stickiness to explain unemployment, and advocating fiscal policy as its cure, is largely mythical. Rather he was concerned with exploring the theoretical idea that an economy co- ordinated by monetary exchange is prone to market failures that create unemployment. The origins of this idea in what Keynes called "classical" economics can be traced back at least as far as John Stuart Mill, though he himself preferred to claim the much less orthodox Malthus as his antecedent. Be that as it may, Keynes's own emphasis on income and employment variations as both the result of and the "solution" to specifically inter-temporal failures was highly original. The idea that monetary exchange might involve co-ordinatioin failures of any sort has now largely disappeared from macroeconomics, under the influence of New-classical economics.

Suggested Citation

  • David Laidler, 2005. "Keynes and the Birth of Modern Macroeconomics," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20052, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwo:epuwoc:20052
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    Keywords

    macroeconomics; Keynesian economics; markets; money; interest rates; unemployment; multiplier;

    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals

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