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Keynes and the Birth of Modern Macroeconomics



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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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    2. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice, 1995. "The Use of Public Expenditures for Redistributive Purposes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 45-59, January.
    3. Boadway, R. & Marchand, M., 1990. "The use of public expenditures for distributive purposes," CORE Discussion Papers 1990066, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    4. Myles,Gareth D., 1995. "Public Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521497695, March.
    5. Hellwig, Martin, 2004. "The provision and pricing of excludable public goods : Ramsey-Boiteux versus bundling," Papers 04-02, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    6. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 463-478, August.
    7. Hellwig, Martin F., 2007. "The provision and pricing of excludable public goods: Ramsey-Boiteux pricing versus bundling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 511-540, April.
    8. Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Optimality rules for the provision of collective factors of production," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 149-157, April.
    9. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    10. Agnar Sandmo, 1973. "Public Goods and the Technology of Consumption," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(4), pages 517-528.
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    More about this item


    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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