05 October 2016

The equivalence of Marshallian economics and General Equilibrium

Attacks on New Classical Economics, Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) or Real Business Cycle theory usually focus on their poor record in forecasting or on issues like identification and parameterization. Here, we take a different tack, choosing instead to study the root of New Classical Economics which is General Equilibrium (GE) theory.

We show that (a) Marshallian demand analysis is not any less general than GE theory, and (b) that the unstated assumption of GE theory is that aggregate demand is constant. Together, these two results amount to saying that, shorn of the complicated math, GE theory is equivalent to Marshallian demand analysis. It also explains why the two arrive at identical results on subjects like involuntary unemployment.

Read more at The mathematical equivalence of Marshallian analysis and General Equilibrium theory

Category: Economics

01 August 2016

The US private investment rate is falling

The ratio of US net private domestic investment to gross domestic product seems to be a pretty good indicator of approaching recessions. And it is falling at the moment, as the graph below shows, from a level that is already low.

Category: Economics

22 July 2016

The riddle of involuntary unemployment

For decades most economists, except for a minuscule minority, have believed that it is impossible to explain large-scale unemployment except through the device of sticky wages.

Here we show that the failure of macroeconomics to explain involuntary unemployment lies in the assumptions of microeconomics. We prove that Keynes was indeed right in asserting that there is such a thing as involuntary unemployment and that it cannot be explained by rigid wages.

Read more at Why is there involuntary unemployment?

Category: Economics

09 July 2016

The fall in US money growth reverses after two years

For two years since January 2014 the YoY growth rate of Corrected Money Supply had been falling steadily. It plunged from a high of 23.8% in December 2013 to 1.8% on 1 February 2016 and showed every sign of proceeding to fall into negative territory.

However, since then the growth rate has risen steadily for three months, and on 1 May 2016 stood at 5.1%.

If it continues at this level or a little higher, the Fed can afford to raise interest rates without serious consequences. Higher rates would slowly puncture the asset bubble which had been building for half a decade since 2009 and divert money to the real economy.

Category: Economics

16 April 2016

What explains changes in the labour participation rate?

Tens of papers or blog posts have been written in an attempt to explain why the labour participation rate in the US has been low after the recession. Among other factors, the aging of the workforce and disability have been advanced as explanations. However, an obvious reason seems to have been overlooked: low wage rates.

The graph below shows YoY changes in the civilian labour participation rate vs YoY changes in the real median household income between 1984 and 2014, the period for which data on the real median household income are available. It is clear that the two graphs follow roughly the same path.

In microeconomics the concept of economic profit is widely used. To entice a car company to enter the motorcycle market the mere existence of accounting profit in the new market is not sufficient. Profits in the motorcycle market, after considering all costs, must be higher than in the car market. Opportunity costs must be taken into account before making a decision.

It is the same in the labour market. At first sight it may seem odd that an individual should choose to earn no wages rather than some wages, however low. But when a household is regarded as the basic economic unit it makes sense. For instance, if childcare costs are higher than the wage for a new job, it makes economic sense for one parent to forego the job and take care of a child or children.

Category: Economics

Philip George
Debunker of Keynesian, monetarist and Austrian economics

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