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Stabilization Policy as Bifurcation Selection: Would Keynesian Policy Work if the World Really were Keynesian?


  • William A. Barnett

    (Washington University in St. Louis)

  • Yijun He

    (Washington University in St. Louis)

  • .


This paper is a follow on to our earlier papers exploring the dynamic properties of the UK continuous time macroeconometric model. This paper is focussed on policy implications. We take the position that the term "stabilization policy" implies that the economy would be unstable without policy, and hence stabilization policy only can be understood as bifurcation to stability, conditionally upon the assumption that the economy would be unstable without that policy bifurcation. We apply the methodology of mathematical bifurcation to investigate this point of view. We conclude that bifurcation selection to stability is more complicated than commonly believed to be the case in much Keynesian economics. However, this conclusion is consistent with common views in the mathematical literature on bifurcation of high dimensional systems.

Suggested Citation

  • William A. Barnett & Yijun He & ., 1999. "Stabilization Policy as Bifurcation Selection: Would Keynesian Policy Work if the World Really were Keynesian?," Macroeconomics 9906008, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9906008 Note: Type of Document - pdf and ps; prepared on UNIX Sparc TeX;

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nieuwenhuis, Herman J. & Schoonbeek, Lambert, 1997. "Stability and the structure of continuous-time economic models," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 311-340, July.
    2. Barnett, William A. & Gallant, A. Ronald & Hinich, Melvin J. & Jungeilges, Jochen A. & Kaplan, Daniel T. & Jensen, Mark J., 1997. "A single-blind controlled competition among tests for nonlinearity and chaos," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 157-192.
    3. Barnett William A. & He Yijun, 1999. "Stability Analysis of Continuous-Time Macroeconometric Systems," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 1-22, January.
    4. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1985. "On Endogenous Competitive Business Cycles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 995-1045, September.
    5. Herbert E. Scarf, 1959. "Some Examples of Global Instability of the Competitive Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 79, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    6. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie, 1997. "Comparing Four Models of Aggregate Fluctuations due to Self-Fulfilling Expectations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 96-147, January.
    7. Goenka, Aditya & Kelly, David L. & Spear, Stephen E., 1998. "Endogenous Strategic Business Cycles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 97-125, July.
    8. Jean-Michel Grandmont, 1998. "Expectations Formation and Stability of Large Socioeconomic Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 741-782, July.
    9. Engelbert Dockner & Gustav Feichtinger, 1991. "On the optimality of limit cycles in dynamic economic systems," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 53(1), pages 31-50, February.
    10. Benhabib, Jess & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1979. "The hopf bifurcation and the existence and stability of closed orbits in multisector models of optimal economic growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 421-444, December.
    11. Bergstrom, A. R. & Nowman, K. B. & Wymer, C. R., 1992. "Gaussian estimation of a second order continuous time macroeconometric model of the UK," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 313-351, October.
    12. Bergstrom, A. R. & Nowman, K. B. & Wandasiewicz, S., 1994. "Monetary and fiscal policy in a second-order continuous time macroeconometric model of the United Kingdom," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(3-4), pages 731-761.
    13. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barnett William A & Dalkir Mehmet S, 2007. "Gains from Synchronization," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 28-55, March.
    2. Barnett, William A. & Duzhak, Evgeniya Aleksandrovna, 2008. "Non-robust dynamic inferences from macroeconometric models: Bifurcation stratification of confidence regions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 387(15), pages 3817-3825.
    3. Peter N. Ireland, 2007. "Commentary on "Monetary policy as equilibrium selection"," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 343-348.
    4. He, Yijun & Barnett, William A., 2006. "Singularity bifurcations," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 5-22, March.
    5. William Barnett & Barry E. Jones & Milka Kirova & Travis D. Nesmith & Meenakshi Pasupathy1, 2004. "The Nonlinear Skeletons in the Closet," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 200403, University of Kansas, Department of Economics, revised May 2004.
    6. William A. Barnett & Yijun He, 2002. "Bifurcations in Macroeconomic Models," Macroeconomics 0210006, EconWPA.

    More about this item


    bifurcation stabilization chaos nonlinearity;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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