Economic Policy for the 21st Century
Nearly all Levy Institute research focuses not only on economic analysis, but also on the creation of possible strategies through which policymakers may solve the issue at hand. This program includes research on those macroeconomic policy areas most closely associated with public sector activities: monetary policy and financial institutions, federal budget policy, and the labor market. Examples of studies on monetary policy and financial institutions include explorations of the repercussions the euro’s introduction has had on monetary and fiscal policies and monetary institutions within the European Community; the effectiveness of monetary policy; and Minskyan analyses of the current economic problems in the United States, Japan, and Brazil. Examinations of federal budget policies cover such topics as the effects of budget surpluses on the economy, the need for fiscal expansion to combat economic torpor, and analyses of the Social Security and health care systems.
e-pamphlets | August 2021Modern Money Theory (MMT) has been frequently mentioned in recent media—first as “crazy talk” that if followed would bankrupt the nation and then, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, as a way to finance an emergency response. In recent months, however, Washington seems to have returned to the old view that government spending must be “paid for” with new taxes. This raises the question: Has MMT really made headway with policymakers? This e-pamphlet examines the extraordinary interview given recently by Representative John Yarmuth’s (D, KY-03), Chair of the House Budget Committee, in which he explicitly adopts an MMT approach to budgeting. Chairman Yarmuth also lays out a path for realizing the major elements of President Biden’s proposals. Finally, Wray summarizes a recent presentation he gave to the Congressional Budget Office’s Macroeconomic Analysis section that urged reconsideration of the way that fiscal policy impacts are assessed.Download:Associated Program(s):Monetary Policy and Financial Structure Economic Policy for the 21st Century The State of the US and World EconomiesAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):Region(s):United States
Working Paper No. 990 | July 2021
Analyzing the Flypaper EffectsUsing panel data models, we analyze the flypaper effects—whether intergovernmental fiscal transfers or states’ own income determine expenditure commitments—on ecological fiscal spending in India. The econometric results show that the unconditional fiscal transfers, rather than the states’ own income, determine ecological expenditure in the forestry sector at subnational levels in India. The results hold when the models are controlled for ecological outcomes and demographic variables.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Amandeep Kaur Ranjan Kumar Mohanty Lekha S. Chakraborty Divy RanganRelated Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 155 | June 2021
Yes, If He Abandons Fiscal “Pay Fors"President Biden’s proposals for investing in social and physical infrastructure signal a return to a budget-neutral policymaking framework that has largely been set aside since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis. According Yeva Nersisyan and L. Randall Wray, this focus on ensuring revenues keep pace with spending increases can undermine the goals internal to both the public investment and tax components of the administration’s plans: the “pay for” approach limits our spending on progressive policy to what we can raise through taxes, and we will only tax the amount we need to spend.
Nersisyan and Wray propose an alternative approach to budgeting for large-scale public expenditure programs. In their view, policymakers should evaluate spending and tax proposals on their own terms, according to the goals each is intended to meet. If the purpose of taxing corporations and wealthy individuals is to reduce inequality, then the tax changes should be formulated to accomplish that—not to “raise funds” to finance proposed spending. And while it is possible that general tax hikes might be needed to prevent public investment programs from fueling inflation, they argue that the kinds of taxes proposed by the administration would do little to relieve inflationary pressures should they arise. Under current economic circumstances, however, the president’s proposed infrastructure spending should not require budgetary offsets or other measures to control inflation in their estimation.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Region(s):United States
Policy Note 2021/3 | June 2021Edward Lane and L. Randall Wray explain how federal taxes on corporate profits are not well suited to either containing inflationary pressures or reducing inequality. They are not only a poor complement to President Biden’s proposed infrastructure plans, but are inefficient and ineffective taxes more broadly, according to Lane and Wray. The authors follow Hyman Minsky in recommending the elimination of corporate taxes, and they outline a replacement centered on the taxation of unrealized capital gains.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
One-Pager No. 67 | June 2021President Biden has proposed pairing his American Jobs Plan with an increase in federal corporate income taxes. Leaving aside the issue of whether any tax increases are needed to “pay for” the plan, Edward Lane and L. Randall Wray assess the proposed corporate profits tax hike in terms of its ability to meet two objectives: (1) fighting potential inflation that might result from the new Jobs Plan (and all the other relief and stimulus plans enacted), and (2) taxing the rich to reduce inequality. They argue the federal corporate income tax is far less effective at combating inflation and inequality than what many might think, and propose replacing corporate taxation with taxes on individuals that would ensure the burden is mostly imposed on high earners.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 985 | February 2021
No! And Yes.Modern Money Theory (MMT) economists have used Japan as an example of a country that demonstrates that high deficits and debt do not lead to insolvency, high interest rates, or inflation. MMT insists that governments that issue their own sovereign currency cannot be forced into insolvency, that they can make all payments as they come due, and that they do not really spend tax revenue or borrow in their own currency—with Japan serving as an example of a country that does not face financial budget constraints as normally defined. In this paper we evaluate whether Japan is the poster child of MMT and argue that policy-wise Japan is not following MMT recommendations; in fact, it is generally adopting policies that are precisely the opposite of those proposed by MMT, consistently adopting the path of stop-go fiscal measures and engaging in inadequate and temporary fiscal stimuli in the face of recessions, followed by austerity whenever the economy has seemed to recover.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 979 | November 2020As the nation is experiencing the need for ever-increasing government expenditures to address COVID-19 disruptions, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, and many other worthy causes, conventional thinking calls for restoring at least a portion corporate taxes eliminated by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, especially from progressive circles. In this working paper, Edward Lane and L. Randall Wray examine who really pays the corporate income tax and argue that it does not serve the purposes most people believe.
The authors provide an overview of the true purposes and incidence of corporate taxation and argue that it is inefficient and largely borne by consumers and employees, not shareholders. While the authors would prefer the elimination of the corporate profits tax, they understand the conventional thinking that taxes are necessary to help finance government expenditures—even if they disagree. Accordingly, the authors present alternatives to the corporate tax that shift the burden from consumers and employees to those who benefit the most from corporate success.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 964 | July 2020
Analyzing the Fiscal Forecasting Errors of 28 States in IndiaBudget credibility, or the ability of governments to accurately forecast macro-fiscal variables, is crucial for effective public finance management. Fiscal marksmanship analysis captures the extent of errors in the budgetary forecasting. The fiscal rules can determine fiscal marksmanship, as effective fiscal consolidation procedures affect the fiscal behavior of the states in conducting the budgetary forecasts. Against this backdrop, applying Theil’s technique, we analyze the fiscal forecasting errors for 28 states (except Telangana) in India for the period 2011–16. There is a heterogeneity in the magnitude of errors across subnational governments in India. The forecast errors in revenue receipts have been greater than revenue expenditure. Within revenue receipts, the errors are more significantly pronounced in the grants component. Within expenditure budgets, the errors in capital spending are found to be greater than revenue spending in all the states. Partitioning the sources of errors, we identified that the errors were more broadly random than due to systematic bias, except for a few crucial macro-fiscal variables where improving the forecasting techniques can provide better estimates.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 961 | July 2020Modern money theory (MMT) synthesizes several traditions from heterodox economics. Its focus is on describing monetary and fiscal operations in nations that issue a sovereign currency. As such, it applies Georg Friedrich Knapp’s state money approach (chartalism), also adopted by John Maynard Keynes in his Treatise on Money. MMT emphasizes the difference between a sovereign currency issuer and a sovereign currency user with respect to issues such as fiscal and monetary policy space, ability to make all payments as they come due, credit worthiness, and insolvency. Following A. Mitchell Innes, however, MMT acknowledges some similarities between sovereign and nonsovereign issues of liabilities, and hence integrates a credit theory of money (or, “endogenous money theory,” as it is usually termed by post-Keynesians) with state money theory. MMT uses this integration in policy analysis to address issues such as exchange rate regimes, full employment policy, financial and economic stability, and the current challenges facing modern economies: rising inequality, climate change, aging of the population, tendency toward secular stagnation, and uneven development. This paper will focus on the development of the “Kansas City” approach to MMT at the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC) and the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 960 | July 2020Fiscal policy is useful as a government instrument for supporting the economy, contributing to an increase in employment, and reducing inequality through more egalitarian income distribution. Over the past 30 years, developing countries have failed to increase their real wages due to the lack of domestic value-added in the era of globalization, where global supply chains are the driving factor for attracting foreign direct investment. Under such circumstances, the role of fiscal policy has become an important factor in creating the necessary conditions for boosting the economy. With the end of commodity-export-led growth, Mexico experienced a moderate reduction of 5 percent in poverty between 2014 and 2018 due to the structural adjustment of social policies and its economic and trade relationship with the United States; during the same period there has been no change in poverty in Argentina, and Brazil has suffered a rise in poverty. Following the global financial crisis, greater attention has been paid to fiscal policy in developed and developing countries—specifically Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico (ABM)—in order to attain macroeconomic stability. One of the consequences of the financial crisis is rising income inequality and its negative effects on economic growth. Over the past decade, fiscal policy has been adopted for the economic recovery. However, the recovery has been accompanied by a decrease in real wages of the middle class. The purpose of the present research is to critically examine the results of fiscal policy in ABM and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Bendreff DesilusRelated Topic(s):Fiscal policy Full employment Government policy and regulation Inequality Productivity Sustainability WagesRegion(s):Latin America
Policy Note 2020/3 | April 2020Research Scholar Martha Tepepa explains how the US response to the COVID-19 crisis will be hindered by its approach to immigration policy. The administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration campaign creates a public health risk in the context of this pandemic, and the recent implementation of the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” final rule penalizing noncitizen recipients of some social services will further restrict access to treatment and encumber the fight against the coronavirus.Download:Associated Program(s):Gender Equality and the Economy Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Structure Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
One-Pager No. 63 | April 2020As governments around the world explore ambitious approaches to fiscal and monetary policy in their responses to the COVID-19 crisis, Modern Money Theory (MMT) has been thrust into the spotlight once again. Unfortunately, many of those invoking the theory have misrepresented its central tenets, according Yeva Nersisyan and L. Randall Wray.
MMT provides an analysis of fiscal and monetary policy applicable to national governments with sovereign, nonconvertible currencies. In the context of articulating the elements of that analysis, Nersisyan and Wray draw out one of the lessons to be learned from the pandemic and its policy responses: that the government’s ability to run deficits is not limited to times of crisis; that we must build up our supplies, infrastructure, and institutions in normal times, and not wait for the next crisis to live up to our means.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 950 | April 2020The United States government recently passed legislation and stabilization packages to respond to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak by providing paid sick leave, tax credits, and free virus testing; expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits; and increasing Medicaid funding. However, the response to the global pandemic might be hindered by the lassitude of the state and the administration’s conception of social policy that leaves the most vulnerable unprotected. The administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration campaign poses public health challenges, especially in the prevention of communicable diseases. In addition to the systemic obstacles noncitizens face in their access to healthcare, recent changes to immigration law that penalize recipients of some social services on grounds that they are a public charge will further restrict their access to treatment and hinder the fight against the pandemic.Download:Associated Program(s):Gender Equality and the Economy Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Structure Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 945 | January 2020The present paper emphasizes the role of demand, income distribution, endogenous productivity reactions, and other structural changes in the slowdown of the growth rate of output and productivity that has been observed in the United States over the last four decades. In particular, it is explained that weak net export demand, fiscal conservatism, and the increase in income inequality have put downward pressure on demand. Up until the crisis, this pressure was partially compensated for through debt-financed expenditure on behalf of the private sector, especially middle- and lower-income households. This debt overhang is now another obstacle in the way of demand recovery. In turn, as emphasized by the Kaldor-Verdoorn law and the induced technical change approach, the decrease in demand and the stagnation of wages can lead to an endogenous slowdown in productivity growth. Moreover, it is argued that the increasingly oligopolistic and financialized structure of the US economy also contributes to the slowdown. Finally, the paper argues that there is nothing secular about the current stagnation; addressing the aforementioned factors can allow for growth to resume, as has happened in the past.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):Region(s):United States
Public Policy Brief No. 148 | January 2020In this policy brief, Yeva Nersisyan and Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray argue that assessing the “affordability” of the Green New Deal is a question of whether there are suitable and sufficient real resources than can be mobilized to implement this ambitious approach to climate policy. Only after a careful resource accounting can we address the question of whether taxes and other means might be needed to reduce private spending to avoid inflation as the Green New Deal is phased in.
Nersisyan and Wray provide a first attempt at resource budgeting for the Green New Deal, weighing available resources—including potential excess capacity and resources that can be shifted away from existing production—against what will be needed to implement the major elements of this plan to fight climate change and ensure a just transition to a more sustainable economic model.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):Region(s):United States
Book Series | January 2020
Heterodox Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyA Great Leap Forward: Heterodox Economic Policy for the 21st Century investigates economic policy from a heterodox and progressive perspective. Author Randall Wray uses relatively short chapters arranged around several macroeconomic policy themes to present an integrated survey of progressive policy on topics of interest today that are likely to remain topics of interest for many years.
Published by: Elsevier Press
Testimony | November 2019
Reexamining the Economic Costs of DebtOn November 20, 2019, Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray testified before the House Committee on the Budget on the topic of reexamining the economic costs of debt:
"In recent months a new approach to national government budgets, deficits, and debts—Modern Money Theory (MMT)—has been the subject of discussion and controversy. [. . .]
In this testimony I do not want to rehash the theoretical foundations of MMT. Instead I will highlight empirical facts with the goal of explaining the causes and consequences of the intransigent federal budget deficits and the growing national government debt. I hope that developing an understanding of the dynamics involved will make the topic of deficits and debt less daunting. I will conclude by summarizing the MMT views on this topic, hoping to set the record straight."
Update 1/7/2020: In an appendix, L. Randall Wray responds to a Question for the Record submitted by Rep. Ilhan OmarDownload:Associated Program(s):Author(s):L. Randall Wray Yeva NersisyanRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 936 | September 2019
The Modern Money Theory ApproachThis paper will present the Modern Money Theory approach to government finance. In short, a national government that chooses its own money of account, imposes a tax in that money of account, and issues currency in that money of account cannot face a financial constraint. It can make all payments as they come due. It cannot be forced into insolvency. While this was well understood in the early postwar period, it was gradually “forgotten” as the neoclassical theory of the household budget constraint was applied to government finance. Matters were made worse by the development of “generational accounting” that calculated hundreds of trillions of dollars of government red ink through eternity due to “entitlements.” As austerity measures were increasingly adopted at the national level, fiscal responsibility was shifted to state and local governments through “devolution.” A “stakeholder” approach to government finance helped fuel white flight to suburbs and produced “doughnut holes” in the cities. To reverse these trends, we need to redevelop our understanding of the fiscal space open to the currency issuer—expanding its responsibility not only for national social spending but also for helping to fund state and local government spending. This is no longer just an academic debate, given the challenges posed by climate change, growing inequality, secular stagnation, and the rise of Trumpism.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 935 | August 2019
A Liquidity Preference Theoretical PerspectiveThis paper investigates the peculiar macroeconomic policy challenges faced by emerging economies in today’s monetary (non)order and globalized finance. It reviews the evolution of the international monetary and financial architecture against the background of Keynes’s original Bretton Woods vision, highlighting the US dollar’s hegemonic status. Keynes’s liquidity preference theory informs the analysis of the loss of policy space and widespread instabilities in emerging economies that are the consequence of financial hyperglobalization. While any benefits promised by mainstream promoters remain elusive, heightened vulnerabilities have emerged in the aftermath of the global crisis.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 931 | May 2019This paper follows the methodology developed by J. M. Keynes in his How to Pay for the War pamphlet to estimate the “costs” of the Green New Deal (GND) in terms of resource requirements. Instead of simply adding up estimates of the government spending that would be required, we assess resource availability that can be devoted to implementing GND projects. This includes mobilizing unutilized and underutilized resources, as well as shifting resources from current destructive and inefficient uses to GND projects. We argue that financial affordability cannot be an issue for the sovereign US government. Rather, the problem will be inflation if sufficient resources cannot be diverted to the GND. And if inflation is likely, we need to put in place anti-inflationary measures, such as well-targeted taxes, wage and price controls, rationing, and voluntary saving. Following Keynes, we recommend deferred consumption as our first choice should inflation pressures arise. We conclude that it is likely that the GND can be phased in without inflation, but if price pressures do appear, deferring a small amount of consumption will be sufficient to attenuate them.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):Region(s):United States
Working Paper No. 926 | April 2019
Lessons for Monetary UnionsThe debate about the use of fiscal instruments for macroeconomic stabilization has regained prominence in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and the experience of a monetary union equipped with fiscal shock absorbers, such as the United States, has often been a reference. This paper enhances our knowledge about the degree of macroeconomic stabilization achieved in the United States through the federal budget, providing a detailed breakdown of the different channels. In particular, we investigate the relative importance and stabilization impact of the federal system of unemployment benefits and of its extension as a response to the Great Recession. The analysis shows that in the United States, corporate income taxes collected at the federal level are the single most efficient instrument for providing stabilization, given that even with a smaller size than other instruments they can provide important effects, mainly against common shocks. On the other hand, Social Security benefits and personal income taxes have a greater role in stabilizing asymmetric shocks. A federal system of unemployment insurance, then, can play an important stabilization role, in particular when enhanced by a discretionary program of extended benefits in the event of a large shock, like the Great Recession.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Plamen Nikolov Paolo PasimeniRelated Topic(s):
In the Media | March 2019
By Katia DmitrievaBloomberg Quick Take with the Washington Post, March 13, 2019. All rights reserved.
Outlining the basics of Modern Monetary Theory, Bloomberg's Katia Dmitrieva cites the work of Levy Research Associate Pavlina Tcherneva as a leading voice in the field.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/for-overspending-governments-an-alternative-view-on-borrowing-versus-raising-taxes/2019/03/12/13945b5a-44dc-11e9-94ab-d2dda3c0df52_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ee3a91c52dc5
Book Series | February 2019This groundbreaking new core textbook encourages students to take a more critical approach to the prevalent assumptions around the subject of macroeconomics, by comparing and contrasting heterodox and orthodox approaches to theory and policy. The first such textbook to develop a heterodox model from the ground up, it is based on the principles of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) as derived from the theories of Keynes, Kalecki, Veblen, Marx, and Minsky, amongst others. The internationally-respected author team offer appropriate fiscal and monetary policy recommendations, explaining how the poor economic performance of most of the wealthy capitalist countries over recent decades could have been avoided, and delivering a well-reasoned practical and philosophical argument for the heterodox MMT approach being advocated.
Published by: Red Globe Press
Working Paper No. 909 | July 2018
Applying Minsky’s Theory of Financial Fragility to International MarketsThis inquiry argues that the successful completion of the transition process in the post-Soviet economies is constrained by the prevailing social structure and low levels of technological progress, both of which require institutional reforms aimed at increasing growth in national income, productivity, and the degree of export competitiveness. Domestic policy implementation has not shown significant improvements on these fronts, given its short-term orientation, but instead resulted in stagnating growth rates, continuously accumulating levels of external debt, and decreasing living standards. The key to a successful completion of the transition process is therefore a combination of policies targeted at the dynamic transformation of production structures within an environment of financial stability and favorable macroeconomic conditions.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Liudmila MalyshavaRelated Topic(s):Region(s):Russia and Eastern Europe
In the Media | June 2018
By Katrina vanden HeuvelWashington Post, June 19, 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Katrina vanden Heuvel discusses student debt forgiveness and the recent Levy Research Project Report, "The Macroeconomic Effects of Student Debt Cancellation."
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/americans-are-drowning-in-student-loan-debt-the-us-should-forgive-all-of-it/2018/06/19/82565218-7314-11e8-9780-b1dd6a09b549_story.html?utm_term=.1a2216214882
Working Paper No. 902 | April 2018
Design, Jobs, and ImplementationThe job guarantee (JG) is a public option for jobs. It is a permanent, federally funded, and locally administered program that supplies voluntary employment opportunities on demand for all who are ready and willing to work at a living wage. While it is first and foremost a jobs program, it has the potential to be transformative by advancing the public purpose and improving working conditions, people’s everyday lives, and the economy as a whole.
This working paper provides a blueprint for operationalizing the proposal. It addresses frequently asked questions and common concerns. It begins by outlining some of the core propositions in the existing literature that have motivated the JG proposal. These propositions suggest specific design and implementation features. (Some questions are answered in greater detail in appendix III). The paper presents the core objectives and expected benefits of the program, and suggests an institutional structure, funding mechanism, and project design and administration.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Press Releases | February 2018
Research Project Reports | February 2018Among the more ambitious policies that have been proposed to address the problem of escalating student loan debt are various forms of debt cancellation. In this report, Scott Fullwiler, Research Associate Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, and Marshall Steinbaum examine the likely macroeconomic impacts of a one-time, federally funded cancellation of all outstanding student debt.
The report analyzes households’ mounting reliance on debt to finance higher education, including the distributive implications of student debt and debt cancellation; describes the financial mechanics required to carry out the cancellation of debt held by the Department of Education (which makes up the vast majority of student loans outstanding) as well as privately owned student debt; and uses two macroeconometric models to provide a plausible range for the likely impacts of student debt cancellation on key economic variables over a 10-year horizon.
The authors find that cancellation would have a meaningful stimulus effect, characterized by greater economic activity as measured by GDP and employment, with only moderate effects on the federal budget deficit, interest rates, and inflation (while state budgets improve). These results suggest that policies like student debt cancellation can be a viable part of a needed reorientation of US higher education policy.
Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Scott Fullwiler Stephanie A. Kelton Catherine Ruetschlin Marshall SteinbaumRelated Topic(s):Region(s):United States
Working Paper No. 898 | October 2017The paper attempts to measure the incidence of corporate income tax in India under a general equilibrium setting. Using seemingly uncorrelated regression coefficients and dynamic panel estimates, we tried to analyze both the relative burden of corporate tax borne by capital and labor and the efficiency effects of corporate income tax. The data for the study is compiled from corporate firms listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) for the period 2000–15. Our empirical estimates suggest that in India capital bears more of the burden of corporate taxes than labor. Though it is contrary to the Harberger (1962) hypothesis that the burden of corporate tax is shifted to labor rather than capital, it confirms the existing empirical results in the context of India.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Lekha S. Chakraborty Samiksha AgarwalRelated Topic(s):Region(s):Asia
Working Paper No. 895 | August 2017This paper examines two key aspects of unemployment—its propagation mechanism and socioeconomic costs. It identifies a key feature of this macroeconomic phenomenon: it behaves like a disease. A detailed assessment of the transmission mechanism and the existing pecuniary and nonpecuniary costs of unemployment suggests a fundamental shift in the policy responses to tackling joblessness. To stem the contagion effect and its outsized social and economic impact, fiscal policy can be designed around two criteria for successful disease intervention—preparedness and prevention. The paper examines how a job guarantee proposal uniquely meets those two requirements. It is a policy response whose merits include much more than its macroeconomic stabilization features, as discussed in the literature. It is, in a sense, a method of inoculation against the vile effects of unemployment. The paper discusses several preventative features of the program.
Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):Employer of Last Resort (ELR) policy Employment guarantee Job guarantee Labor markets Macroeconomic policy UnemploymentRegion(s):United States
Policy Note 2017/3 | July 2017
Because Healthcare Is Not InsurableThe growing political momentum for a universal single-payer healthcare program in the United States is due in part to Republican attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). However, according to Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray, it is Obamacare’s successes and its failures that have boosted support for a single-payer system. Even after Obamacare, the US healthcare system still has significant gaps in coverage—all while facing the highest healthcare bill in the world. In this policy note, Wray argues that the underlying challenge for a system based on private, for-profit insurance is that basic healthcare is not an insurable expense. It is time to abandon the current, overly complex and expensive payments system and reconsider single payer for all. Social Security and Medicare provide a model for reform.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 891 | May 2017
The stock-flow consistent (SFC) modeling approach, grounded in the pioneering work of Wynne Godley and James Tobin in the 1970s, has been adopted by a growing number of researchers in macroeconomics, especially after the publication of Godley and Lavoie (2007), which provided a general framework for the analysis of whole economic systems, and the recognition that macroeconomic models integrating real markets with flow-of-funds analysis had been particularly successful in predicting the Great Recession of 2007–9. We introduce the general features of the SFC approach for a closed economy, showing how the core model has been extended to address issues such as financialization and income distribution. We next discuss the implications of the approach for models of open economies and compare the methodologies adopted in developing SFC empirical models for whole countries. We review the contributions where the SFC approach is being adopted as the macroeconomic closure of microeconomic agent-based models, and how the SFC approach is at the core of new research in ecological macroeconomics. Finally, we discuss the appropriateness of the name “stock-flow consistent” for the class of models we survey.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):Region(s):United States
Working Paper No. 883 | February 2017
An Empirical Analysis of G20 Countries
This paper analyzes the effectiveness of public expenditures on economic growth within the analytical framework of comprehensive Neo-Schumpeterian economics. Using a fixed-effects model for G20 countries, the paper investigates the links between the specific categories of public expenditures and economic growth, captured in human capital formation, defense, infrastructure development, and technological innovation. The results reveal that the impact of innovation-related spending on economic growth is much higher than that of the other macro variables. Data for the study was drawn from the International Monetary Fund’s Government Finance Statistics database, infrastructure reports for the G20 countries, and the World Development Indicators issued by the World Bank.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Horst Hanusch Lekha S. Chakraborty Swati KhuranaRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 878 | December 2016
A Post-Keynesian/Evolutionist Critique
This paper provides a critical analysis of expansionary austerity theory (EAT). The focus is on the theoretical weaknesses of EAT—the extreme circumstances and fragile assumptions under which expansionary consolidations might actually take place. The paper presents a simple theoretical model that takes inspiration from both the post-Keynesian and evolutionary/institutionalist traditions. First, it demonstrates that well-designed austerity measures hardly trigger short-run economic expansions in the context of expected long-lasting consolidation plans (i.e., when adjustment plans deal with remarkably high debt-to-GDP ratios), when the so-called “financial channel” is not operative (i.e., in the context of monetarily sovereign economies), or when the degree of export responsiveness to internal devaluation is low. Even in the context of non–monetarily sovereign countries (e.g., members of the eurozone), austerity’s effectiveness crucially depends on its highly disputable capacity to immediately stabilize fiscal variables.
The paper then analyzes some possible long-run economic dynamics, emphasizing the high degree of instability that characterizes austerity-based adjustments plans. Path-dependency and cumulativeness make the short-run impulse effects of fiscal consolidation of paramount importance to (hopefully) obtaining any appreciable medium-to-long-run benefit. Should these effects be contractionary at the onset, the short-run costs of austerity measures can breed an endless spiral of recession and ballooning debt in the long run. If so, in the case of non–monetarily sovereign countries debt forgiveness may emerge as the ultimate solution to restore economic soundness. Alternatively, institutional innovations like those adopted since mid-2012 by the European Central Bank are required to stabilize the economy, even though they are unlikely to restore rapid growth in the absence of more active fiscal stimuli.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Alberto BottaRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 876 | October 2016
The Fed’s Unjustified Rationale
In December 2015, the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) initiated the process of “normalization,” with the objective of gradually raising the federal funds rate back to “normal”—i.e., levels that are “neither expansionary nor contrary” and are consistent with the established 2 percent longer-run goal for the annual Personal Consumption Expenditures index and the estimated natural rate of unemployment. This paper argues that the urgency and rationale behind the rate hikes are not theoretically sound or empirically justified. Despite policymakers’ celebration of “substantial” labor market progress, we are still short some 20 million jobs. Further, there is no reason to believe that the current exceptionally low inflation rates are transitory. Quite the contrary: without significant fiscal efforts to restore the bargaining power of labor, inflation rates are expected to remain below the Federal Open Market Committee’s long-term goal for years to come. Also, there is little empirical evidence or theoretical support for the FRB’s suggestion that higher interest rates are necessary to counter “excessive” risk-taking or provide a more stable financial environment.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Flavia DantasRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 875 | September 2016
A Global Cap to Build an Effective Postcrisis Banking Supervision Framework
The global financial crisis shattered the conventional wisdom about how financial markets work and how to regulate them. Authorities intervened to stop the panic—short-term pragmatism that spoke volumes about the robustness of mainstream economics. However, their very success in taming the collapse reduced efforts to radically change the “big bank” business model and lessened the possibility of serious banking reform—meaning that a strong and possibly even bigger financial crisis is inevitable in the future. We think an overall alternative is needed and at hand: Minsky’s theories on investment, financial stability, the growing weight of the financial sector, and the role of the state. Building on this legacy, it is possible to analyze which aspects of the post-2008 reforms actually work. In this respect, we argue that the only effective solution is to impose a global cap on the absolute size of banks.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Giuseppe Mastromatteo Lorenzo EspositoRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 874 | September 2016
Is There a Case for Gender-sensitive Horizontal Fiscal Equalization?
This paper seeks to evaluate whether a gender-sensitive formula for the inter se devolution of union taxes to the states makes the process more progressive. We have used the state-specific child sex ratio (the number of females per thousand males in the age group 0–6 years) as one of the criteria for the tax devolution. The composite devolution formula as constructed provides maximum rewards to the state with the most favorable child-sex ratio, and the rewards progressively decline along with the declining sex ratio. In this formulation, the state with the most unfavorable child-sex ratio is penalized the most in terms of its share in the horizontal devolution. It is observed that the inclusion of gender criteria makes the intergovernmental fiscal transfers formula more equitable across states. This is not surprising given the monotonic decline in the sex ratio in some of the most high-income states in India.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Abhishek Anand Lekha S. ChakrabortyRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 872 | August 2016
Do Fiscal Rules Impose Hard Budget Constraints?
The primary objective of rule-based fiscal legislation at the subnational level in India is to achieve debt sustainability by placing a ceiling on borrowing and the use of borrowed resources for public capital investment by phasing out deficits in the budget revenue account. This paper examines whether the application of fiscal rules has contributed to an increase in fiscal space for public capital investment spending in major Indian states. Our analysis shows that, controlling for other factors, there is a negative relationship between fiscal rules and public capital investment spending at the state level under the rule-based fiscal regime.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):Region(s):Asia
Working Paper No. 868 | June 2016
The ECB’s Belated Conversion?
This paper investigates the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monetary policies. It identifies an antigrowth bias in the bank’s monetary policy approach: the ECB is quick to hike, but slow to ease. Similarly, while other players and institutional deficiencies share responsibility for the euro’s failure, the bank has generally done “too little, too late” with regard to managing the euro crisis, preventing protracted stagnation, and containing deflation threats. The bank remains attached to the euro area’s official competitive wage–repression strategy, which is in conflict with the ECB’s price stability mandate and undermines its more recent, unconventional monetary policy initiatives designed to restore price stability. The ECB needs a “Euro Treasury” partner to overcome the euro regime’s most serious flaw: the divorce between central bank and treasury institutions.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 867 | May 2016
This paper examines the issue of the Greek public debt from different perspectives. We provide a historical discussion of the accumulation of Greece’s public debt since the 1960s and the role of public debt in the recent crisis. We show that the austerity imposed since 2010 has been unsuccessful in stabilizing the debt while at the same time taking a heavy toll on the Greek economy and society. The experience of the last six years shows that the country’s public debt is clearly unsustainable, and therefore a bold restructuring is needed. An insistence on the current policies is not justifiable either on pragmatic or on moral or any other grounds. The experience of Germany in the early post–World War II period provides some useful hints for the way forward. A solution to the Greek public debt problem is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the solution of the Greek and wider European crisis. A broader agenda that deals with the malaises of the Greek economy and the structural imbalances of the eurozone is of vital importance.Download:Associated Program(s):The State of the US and World Economies Monetary Policy and Financial Structure Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):Region(s):Europe
Working Paper No. 866 | May 2016
Proposals for the Eurozone Crisis
After reviewing the main determinants of the current eurozone crisis, this paper discusses the feasibility of introducing fiscal currencies as a way to restore fiscal space in peripheral countries, like Greece, that have so far adopted austerity measures in order to abide by their commitments to eurozone institutions and the International Monetary Fund. We show that the introduction of fiscal currencies would speed up the recovery, without violating the rules of eurozone treaties. At the same time, these processes could help transition the euro from its current status as the single currency to the status of “common clearing currency,” along the lines proposed by John Maynard Keynes at Bretton Woods as a system of international monetary payments. Eurozone countries could therefore move from “Plan B,” aimed at addressing member-state domestic problems, to a “Plan A” for a better European monetary system.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):Region(s):Europe
Working Paper No. 864 | April 2016
In this paper we analyze options for the European Central Bank (ECB) to achieve its single mandate of price stability. Viable options for price stability are described, analyzed, and tabulated with regard to both short- and long-term stability and volatility. We introduce an additional tool for promoting price stability and conclude that public purpose is best served by the selection of an alternative buffer stock policy that is directly managed by the ECB.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Warren Mosler Damiano B. SilipoRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 861 | March 2016
Money, in this paper, is defined as a power relationship of a specific kind, a stratified social debt relationship, measured in a unit of account determined by some authority. A brief historical examination reveals its evolving nature in the process of social provisioning. Money not only predates markets and real exchange as understood in mainstream economics but also emerges as a social mechanism of distribution, usually by some authority of power (be it an ancient religious authority, a king, a colonial power, a modern nation state, or a monetary union). Money, it can be said, is a “creature of the state” that has played a key role in the transfer of real resources between parties and the distribution of economic surplus.
In modern capitalist economies, the currency is also a simple public monopoly. As long as money has existed, someone has tried to tamper with its value. A history of counterfeiting, as well as that of independence from colonial and economic rule, is another way of telling the history of “money as a creature of the state.” This historical understanding of the origins and nature of money illuminates the economic possibilities under different institutional monetary arrangements in the modern world. We consider the so-called modern “sovereign” and “nonsovereign” monetary regimes (including freely floating currencies, currency pegs, currency boards, dollarized nations, and monetary unions) to examine the available policy space in each case for pursuing domestic policy objectives.
This working paper is also available in Spanish and Catalan.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 859 | February 2016
A Technical Articulation for Asia-Pacific
Against the backdrop of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, this paper analyzes the measurement issues in gender-based indices constructed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and suggests alternatives for choice of variables, functional form, and weights. While the UNDP Gender Inequality Index (GII) conceptually reflects the loss in achievement due to inequality between men and women in three dimensions—health, empowerment, and labor force participation—we argue that the assumptions and the choice of variables to capture these dimensions remain inadequate and erroneous, resulting in only the partial capture of gender inequalities. Since the dimensions used for the GII are different from those in the UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI), we cannot say that a higher value in the GII represents a loss in the HDI due to gender inequalities. The technical obscurity remains how to interpret GII by combining women-specific indicators with indicators that are disaggregated for both men and women. The GII is a partial construct, as it does not capture many significant dimensions of gender inequality. Though this requires a data revolution, we tried to reconstruct the GII in the context of Asia-Pacific using three scenarios: (1) improving the set of variables incorporating unpaid care work, pay gaps, intrahousehold decision making, exposure to knowledge networks, and feminization of governance at local levels; (2) constructing a decomposed index to specify the direction of gender gaps; and (3) compiling an alternative index using Principal Components Index for assigning weights. The choice of countries under the three scenarios is constrained by data paucity. The results reveal that the UNDP GII overestimates the gap between the two genders, and that using women-specific indicators leads to a fallacious estimation of gender inequality. The estimates are illustrative. The implication of the results broadly suggests a return to the UNDP Gender Development Index for capturing gender development, with an improvised set of choices and variables.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Bhavya Aggarwal Lekha S. ChakrabortyRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 857 | December 2015
This paper describes the transformations in federal classification of ethno-racial information since the civil rights era of the 1960s. These changes were introduced in the censuses of 1980 and 2000, and we anticipate another major change in the 2020 Census. The most important changes in 1980 introduced the Hispanic Origin and Ancestry questions and the elimination of two questions on parental birthplace. The latter decision has made it impossible to adequately track the progress of the new second generation. The change in 2000 allowed respondents to declare origins in more than one race; the anticipated change for 2020 will create a single question covering race and Hispanic Origin—or, stated more broadly, race and ethnic origin. We show that the 1980 changes created problems in race and ethnic classification that required a “fix,” and the transformation anticipated for 2020 will be that fix. Creating the unified question in the manner the Census Bureau is testing will accomplish by far the hardest part of what we believe should be done. However, we suggest two additional changes of a much simpler nature: restoring the parental birthplace questions (to the annual American Community Survey) and possibly eliminating the Ancestry question (the information it gathered will apparently now be obtained in the single race-and-ethnicity question). The paper is historical in focus. It surveys how the classification system prior to 1980 dealt with the tension between ethno-racial continuity and assimilation (differently for each major type of group); how the political pressures producing the changes of 1980 and 2000 changed the treatment of that tension; and, finally, the building pressure for a further change.Download:Associated Program(s):Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Structure Economic Policy for the 21st Century Explorations in Theory and Empirical AnalysisAuthor(s):Joel Perlmann Patrick NevadaRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 856 | December 2015
Evidence from Europe, 2006–13
We examine the relationship between changes in a country’s public sector fiscal position and inequality at the top and bottom of the income distribution during the age of austerity (2006–13). We use a parametric Lorenz curve model and Gini-like indices of inequality as our measures to assess distributional changes. Based on the EU’s Statistics on Income and Living Conditions SLIC and International Monetary Fund data for 12 European countries, we find that more severe adjustments to the cyclically adjusted primary balance (i.e., more austerity) are associated with a more unequal distribution of income driven by rising inequality at the top. The data also weakly suggest a decrease in inequality at the bottom. The distributional impact of austerity measures reflects the reliance on regressive policies, and likely produces increased incentives for rent seeking while reducing incentives for workers to increase productivity.Download:Associated Program(s):The State of the US and World Economies The Distribution of Income and Wealth Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):Markus P.A. Schneider Stephen Kinsella Antoine GodinRelated Topic(s):Region(s):Europe
Working Paper No. 854 | November 2015
Graph Theory and Macroeconomic Regimes in Stock-flow Consistent Modeling
Standard presentations of stock-flow consistent modeling use specific Post Keynesian closures, even though a given stock-flow accounting structure supports various different economic dynamics. In this paper we separate the dynamic closure from the accounting constraints and cast the latter in the language of graph theory. The graph formulation provides (1) a representation of an economy as a collection of cash flows on a network and (2) a collection of algebraic techniques to identify independent versus dependent cash-flow variables and solve the accounting constraints. The separation into independent and dependent variables is not unique, and we argue that each such separation can be interpreted as an institutional structure or policy regime. Questions about macroeconomic regime change can thus be addressed within this framework.
We illustrate the graph tools through application of the simple stock-flow consistent model, or “SIM model,” found in Godley and Lavoie (2007). In this model there are eight different possible dynamic closures of the same underlying accounting structure. We classify the possible closures and discuss three of them in detail: the “standard” Godley–Lavoie closure, where government spending is the key policy lever; an “austerity” regime, where government spending adjusts to taxes that depend on private sector decisions; and a “colonial” regime, which is driven by taxation.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Miguel Carrión Álvarez Dirk EhntsRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 850 | October 2015
We describe the medium-run macroeconomic effects and long-run development consequences of a financial Dutch disease that may take place in a small developing country with abundant natural resources. The first move is in financial markets. An initial surge in foreign direct investment targeting natural resources sets in motion a perverse cycle between exchange rate appreciation and mounting short- and medium-term capital flows. Such a spiral easily leads to exchange rate volatility, capital reversals, and sharp macroeconomic instability. In the long run, macroeconomic instability and overdependence on natural resource exports dampen the development of nontraditional tradable goods sectors and curtail labor productivity dynamics. We advise the introduction of constraints to short- and medium-term capital flows to tame exchange rate/capital flows boom-and-bust cycles. We support the implementation of a developmentalist monetary policy targeting competitive nominal and real exchange rates in order to encourage product and export diversification.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Alberto BottaRelated Topic(s):Developmentalist monetary policy Exchange rate volatility Financial Dutch disease Macroeconomic instabilityRegion(s):Europe
Working Paper No. 843 | July 2015
This paper has two main objectives. The first is to propose a policy architecture that can prevent a very high public debt from resulting in a high tax burden, a government default, or inflation. The second objective is to show that government deficits do not face a financing problem. After these deficits are initially financed through the net creation of base money, the private sector necessarily realizes savings, in the form of either government bond purchases or, if a default is feared, “acquisitions” of new money.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Pedro LeaoRelated Topic(s):
El Salmon Contracorriente, 5 Marzo 2015. Reservados todos los derechos.
Randall Wray abrió el acto explicando al público una de las bases de su enfoque teórico: la apertura del discurso económico hacia una perspectiva distinta a la que se imparte en la universidad. El profesor estadounidense planteó que para criticar el actual modelo económico es necesario conocer la teoría y se desmarcó de la idea predominante al afirmar que “existen cosas primordiales que son más importantes que el déficit público”, antes de profundizar en la propuesta de Trabajo Garantizado, que calificó de “sentido común”....
Leer más: http://www.elsalmoncontracorriente.es/?Teoria-monetaria-moderna-y-trabajo
El Correro, 4 Marzo 2015. Reservados todos los derechos.
Izquierda Unida quiere que el trabajo esté "garantizado" en Espaã como elemento de inserción social imprescindible y, para ello, propone implantarlo de forma gradual y por etapas con la creación de un millón de empleos el primer aõ con menos del 1% del PIB....
Leer más: http://www.elcorreo.com/bizkaia/politica/201503/04/alberto-garzon-plantea-plan-20150304155358-rc.html
Público, 04 de marzo 2015. Reservados todos los derechos.
MADRID — El portavoz económico de la Izquierda Plural (IU-ICV-CHA) y próximo candidato de Izquierda Unida a la Presidencia del Gobierno, Alberto Garzón, ha presentado este miércoles una propuesta para crear un millón de empleos por una inversión neta de 9.600 millones de euros en su primer año de aplicación. Este programa de trabajo garantizado, que será una de las piezas angulares de su programa electoral en el ámbito laboral, se inspira en la teoría monetaria moderna y en el libro del profesor L. Randall Wray sobre este asunto, que aporta un discurso alternativo a las teorías convencionales sobre cómo debe gastar e invertir el Estado para mejorar el bienestar social y garantizar el derecho al trabajo que tienen los ciudadanos.
Leer más: http://m.publico.es/Pol%C3%ADtica/1903984/iu-plantea-un-plan-de-9-600-millones-para-crear-un-millon-de-empleos-en-un-ano
By Campbell R. Harvey and Éric TymoigneThe Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Despite the mystery, the whiff of scandal, and general public unfamiliarity with the concept, somebody out there is buying, and selling, not just bitcoin but dozens of other cryptocurrencies as well. The total market capitalization for these unregulated electronic forms of payment was roughly $4.04 billion as of mid-February, according to coinmarketcap.com, a website that tracks trading in alternative currencies. More than 500 altcoins, as they are also known, were represented on the site recently.
Read more: http://www.wsj.com/articles/do-cryptocurrencies-such-as-bitcoin-have-a-future-1425269375
In the Media | April 2013El Financiero, April 18, 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Nueva York. – Las políticas ultraexpansivas de la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos inevitablemente resultarán en la inestabilidad de los mercados financieros por años pero tales riesgos son necesarios para impulsar el empleo y la inflación, dijo el jueves un banquero central estadounidense.
Relacionando a la Fed con una excursión en el estado de Minnesota en medio del invierno, el presidente de la Fed de Minneapolis Narayana Kocherlakota dijo que las tasas de interés reales bajas son tan necesarias como vestir una cálida parka, y probablemente sean necesarias "por varios años más".
Reforzando su argumento expansionista, de que hay que aliviar aún más el crédito, el funcionario dijo que el débil panorama económico sugiere que las tasas deberían ser todavía más bajas pese a la resultante inflación de los precios de los activos, los retornos volátiles y la mayor actividad de fusiones corporativas.
"Por muchos años más", dijo, el comité monetario de la Fed "solo podrá lograr sus objetivos establecidos por el Congreso si sigue políticas que resulten en señales de inestabilidad de los mercados financieros", dijo Kocherlakota en comentarios preparados para una conferencia Hyman P. Minsky.
Press Releases | January 2013
Working Paper No. 687 | September 2011
A Study of Rice Farms in the Bicol Region, Philippines
This paper presents an empirical investigation of the relationship between the spread, spatially and temporally, of market institutions and improvements in the productivity and efficiency of farmers. The data used in this study were collected over two decades in a sample of rice farms in the Bicol Region of the Philippines. Our estimates reveal a significant inverse relationship between distance from the market and farm productivity and efficiency in 1983. While there are substantial improvements in yields, unit costs, and efficiency in the two decades that followed, the gains are larger in the more remote and sparsely populated villages. This finding suggests that the relationship between remoteness and farm outcomes has weakened over time. We also find that the development of markets in the peripheral villages and the improved connectivity between the peripheral villages and market centers are facilitated by population growth, infrastructural investments (specifically, irrigation and roads), and the availability of agricultural extension programs.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 627 | October 2010
For the past decade, the US economy has been driven not by industrial investment but by a real estate bubble. Although the United States may seem to be the leading example of industrial capitalism, its economy is no longer based mainly on investing in capital goods to employ labor to produce output to sell at a profit. The largest sector remains real estate, whose cash flow (EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) accounts for over a quarter of national income. Financially, mortgages account for 70 percent of the US economy’s interest payments, reflecting the fact that real estate is the financial system’s major customer.
As the economy’s largest asset category, real estate generates most of the economy’s capital gains. The gains are the aim of real investors, as the real estate sector normally operates without declaring any profit. Investors agree to pay their net rental income to their mortgage banker, hoping to sell the property at a capital gain (mainly a land-price gain).
The tax system encourages this debt pyramiding. Interest and depreciation absorb most of the cash flow, leaving no income tax due for most of the post-1945 period. States and localities have shifted their tax base off property onto labor via income and sales taxes. Most important, capital gains are taxed at a much lower rate than are current earnings. Investors do not have to pay any capital gains tax at all as long as they invest their gains in the purchase of new property.
This tax favoritism toward real estate—and behind it, toward bankers as mortgage lenders—has spurred a shift in US investment away from industry and toward speculation, mainly in real estate but also in the stock and bond markets. A postindustrial economy is thus largely a financialized economy that carries its debt burden by borrowing against capital gains to pay the interest and taxes falling due.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 596 | May 2010The process of constructing impulse-response functions (IRFs) and forecast-error variance decompositions (FEVDs) for a structural vector autoregression (SVAR) usually involves a factorization of an estimate of the error-term variance-covariance matrix V. Examining residuals from a monetary VAR, this paper finds evidence suggesting that all of the variances in V are infinite. Specifically, this study estimates alpha-stable distributions for the reduced-form error terms. The ML estimates of the residuals’ characteristic exponents α range from 1.5504 to 1.7734, with the Gaussian case lying outside 95 percent asymptotic confidence intervals for all six equations of the VAR. Variance-stabilized P-P plots show that the estimated distributions fit the residuals well. Results for subsamples are varied, while GARCH(1,1) filtering yields standardized shocks that are also all likely to be non-Gaussian alpha stable. When one or more error terms have infinite variance, V cannot be factored. Moreover, by Proposition 1, the reduced-form DGP cannot be transformed, using the required nonsingular matrix, into an appropriate system of structural equations with orthogonal, or even finite-variance, shocks. This result holds with arbitrary sets of identifying restrictions, including even the null set. Hence, with one or more infinite-variance error terms, structural interpretation of the reduced-form VAR within the standard SVAR model is impossible.Download:Associated Program(s):Monetary Policy and Financial Structure Economic Policy for the 21st Century Explorations in Theory and Empirical AnalysisAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 110 | March 2010
The United States has the most expensive health care system in the world, yet its system produces inferior outcomes relative to those in other countries. This brief examines the health care reform debate and argues that the basic structure of the health care system is unlikely to change, because “reform” measures actually promote the status quo. The authors believe that the fundamental problem facing the US health care system is the unhealthy lifestyle of many Americans. They prefer to see a reduced role for private insurers and an increased role for government funding, along with greater public discussion of environmental and lifestyle factors. A Medicare buy-in (“public option”) for people under 65 would provide more cost control (by competing with private insurance), help to solve the problem of treatment denial based on preexisting conditions, expand the risk pool of patients, and enhance the global competitiveness of US corporations—thus bringing the US health care system closer to the “ideal” low-cost, universal (single-payer) insurance plan.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):
Working Paper No. 575 | August 2009
Utilizing a 2002 household-level World Bank Survey for rural Turkey, this paper explores the link between concentration of land ownership and rural factor markets. We construct a unique index that measures market malfunctioning based on the neoclassical model linking land and labor endowments through factor markets to household income. We further test whether land ownership concentration affects market malfunctioning. Our empirical investigation supports the claim that factor markets are structurally limited in reducing existing inequalities as a result of land ownership concentration. Our findings show that in the presence of land ownership inequality, malfunctioning rural factor markets result in increased land concentration, increased income inequality, and inefficient resource allocation. This work fills an important empirical gap within the development literature and establishes a positive association between asset inequality and factor market failure.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Fatma Gül UnalRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 571 | August 2009
Self-reported home values are widely used as a measure of housing wealth by researchers; the accuracy of this measure, however, is an open empirical question, and requires some type of market assessment of the values reported. In this study, the authors examine the predictive power of self-reported housing wealth when estimating housing prices, utilizing the portion of the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study covering 1992–2006. They find that homeowners, on average, overestimate the value of their properties by 5–10 percent. More importantly, the authors establish a strong correlation between accuracy and the economic conditions at the time of the property’s purchase. While most individuals overestimate the value of their property, those who buy during more difficult economic times tend to be more accurate; in some cases, they even underestimate the property's value. The authors find a surprisingly strong, likely permanent, and in many cases long-lived effect of the initial conditions surrounding the purchase of properties, and on how individuals value them. This cyclicality of the overestimation of house prices provides some explanation for the difficulties currently faced by many homeowners, who were expecting large appreciations in home value to rescue them in case of interest rate increases—which could jeopardize their ability to live up to their financial commitments.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Hugo Benítez-Silva Selçuk Eren Frank Heiland Sergi Jiménez-MartínRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 564 | May 2009
This paper is concerned with the New Consensus Macroeconomics (NCM) in the case of an open economy. It outlines and explains briefly the main elements of and way of thinking about the macroeconomy from the standpoint of both its theoretical and its policy dimensions. There are a few problems with this particular theoretical framework. We focus here on two important aspects closely related to NCM: the absence of banks and monetary aggregates from this theoretical framework, and the way the notion of the “equilibrium real rate of interest” is utilized by the same framework. The analysis is critical of NCM from a Keynesian perspective.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 563 | May 2009
The Role of Government and Fiscal Policy in Modern Macroeconomics
In the face of the dramatic economic events of recent months and the inability of academics and policymakers to prevent them, the New Consensus Macroeconomics (NCM) model has been the subject of several criticisms. This paper considers one of the main criticisms lodged against the NCM model, namely, the absence of any essential role for the government and fiscal policy. Given the size of the public sector and the increasing role of fiscal policy in modern economies, this simplifying assumption of the NCM model is difficult to defend. This paper maintains that conventional arguments used to support this controversial assumption—including historical reasons, theoretical propositions, and practical issues—do not have solid foundations. There is, in fact, nothing inherently monetary in the stabilization policies found in the model. Thus, fiscal policy could play a role at least as important as monetary policy in the NCM model.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Policy Note 2009/6 | May 2009
A simple consideration of history tells us that each new piece of legislation contains loopholes that benefit a new class of entrepreneurs; some of these loopholes are small, but others are such that one could drive a bullion-laden truck through them. In this new Policy Note, Martin Shubik suggests creating a “war gaming group” to stress-test all major new legislation, with a first prize of $1 million to be awarded to the competing lawyer or team of lawyers who finds the most egregious loophole—a small amount relative to the potential savings.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):
Working Paper No. 551 | December 2008
Evidence of an Inverse Relationship between Farm Size and Yield in Turkey
This paper examines the relationship between farm size and yield per acre in Turkey using heretofore untapped data from a 2002 farm-level survey of 5,003 rural households. After controlling for village, household, and agroclimatic heterogeneity, a strong inverse relationship between farm size and yield is found to be prevalent in all regions of Turkey. The paper also investigates the impact of land fragmentation on productivity and labor input per acre, and finds a positive relationship. These results favor labor-centered theories that point to higher labor input per decare as the source of the inverse size-yield relationship.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Fatma Gül UnalRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 529 | March 2008
Two Dreadful Models of Money Demand with an Endogenous Probability of Crime
This paper attempts to explain one version of an empirical puzzle noted by Mankiw (2003): a Baumol-Tobin inventory-theoretic money demand equation predicts that the average adult American should have held approximately $551.05 in currency and coin in 1995, while data show an average of $100. The models in this paper help explain this discrepancy using two assumptions: (1) the probabilities of being robbed or pick-pocketed, or having a purse snatched, depend on the amount of cash held; and (2) there are costs of being robbed other than loss of cash, such as injury, medical bills, lost time at work, and trauma. Two models are presented: a dynamic, stochastic model with both instantaneous and decaying noncash costs of robbery, and a revised version of the inventory-theoretic model that includes one-period noncash costs. The former model yields an easily interpreted first-order condition for money demand involving various marginal costs and benefits of holding cash. The latter model gives quantitative solutions for money demand that come much closer to matching the 1995 data—$75.98 for one plausible set of parameters. This figure implies that consumers held approximately $96 billion less cash in May 1995 than they would have in a world without crime. The modified Baumol-Tobin model predicts a large increase in household money demand in 2005, mostly due to reduced crime rates.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):
Working Paper No. 524 | December 2007
Forty-Five Years of Experience of Public Works in Morocco
Created in 1961, Promotion Nationale (PN) is an autonomous public entity in charge of mobilizing an underemployed or unemployed workforce for the implementation of labor-intensive projects, calling upon a simple technology likely to provide employment to unskilled workers. It is one of the major programs of social protection in Morocco—the oldest, most important, and best-targeted social program in the country.
Vis-à-vis the importance of rural underemployment, especially during dry years, estimated per million working days, PN aims to improve employment opportunities by developing collective working methods, and by generating large-scale investment for the realization of public infrastructure projects and rural equipment. This institution aims at limiting rural migration through the permanent improvement of local incomes and living conditions. It thus constitutes a safety net for a large part of the population, especially in rural areas. Forty-five years after its creation, PN has at its credit an important and single assessment regarding the fight against unemployment with minimal management costs, in spite of certain difficulties and limitations that hinder the organization, particularly in terms of the geographical targeting of rural poverty zones.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Hind Jalal
Working Paper No. 518 | October 2007
Evidence from an Asymmetric VAR Model
This paper analyzes the real (direct) and financial crowding out in India between 1970–71 and 2002–03. Using an asymmetric vector autoregressive (VAR) model, the paper finds no real crowding out between public and private investment; rather, complementarity is observed between the two. The dynamics of financial crowding out is captured through the dual transmission mechanism via the real rate of interest—that is, whether private capital formation is interest-rate sensitive and, in turn, whether the rise in the real rate of interest is induced by a fiscal deficit. The study found empirical evidence for the former but not the latter, supporting the conclusion that there is no financial crowding out in India. The differential impacts of public infrastructure and noninfrastruture innovations on the private corporate sector are carried out separately to analyze the nonhomogeneity aspects of public investment. The results of the Impulse Response Function reinforced that no other macrovariables, including cost and quantity of credit and the output gap, have been as significant as public investment—in particular, public infrastructure investment—in determining private corporate investment in the medium and long terms, which has crucial policy implications.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):
Working Paper No. 517 | October 2007
There is a body of literature that favors universal and unconditional public assurance policies over those that are targeted and means-tested. Two such proposals—the basic income proposal and job guarantees—are discussed here. The paper evaluates the impact of each program on macroeconomic stability, arguing that direct job creation has inherent stabilization features that are lacking in the basic income proposal. A discussion of modern finance and labor market dynamics renders the latter proposal inherently inflationary, and potentially stagflationary. After studying the macroeconomic viability of each program, the paper elaborates on their environmental merits. It is argued that the “green” consequences of the basic income proposal are likely to emerge, not from its modus operandi, but from the tax schemes that have been advanced for its financing. By contrast, the job guarantee proposal can serve as an institutional vehicle for achieving various environmental goals by explicitly targeting environmental rehabilitation, conservation, and sustainability. Finally, in the hope of consensus building, the paper advances a joint policy proposal that is economically viable, environmentally friendly, and socially just.Download:Associated Program(s):Employment Policy and Labor Markets The Distribution of Income and Wealth Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 91 | October 2007
Suggestions for a New Agenda
The failure of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations in July 2006 was the first major collapse of a multilateral trade round since World War II. Research Associate Thomas Palley sees the failure as an event that could mark the close of a 60-year era of trade policy largely centered on increasing market access and reducing tariffs, quotas, and subsidies. Doha’s demise represents an opportunity to challenge the intellectual dominance of the current WTO paradigm, to expose the failings of the neoliberal model of economic development, and to reposition the global trade debate.Download:Associated Program(s):Economic Policy for the 21st Century Employment Policy and Labor Markets The State of the US and World EconomiesAuthor(s):Thomas I. PalleyRegion(s):United States
Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 91A | October 2007
Suggestions for a New AgendaThe failure of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations in July 2006 was the first major collapse of a multilateral trade round since World War II. Research Associate Thomas Palley sees the failure as an event that could mark the close of a 60-year era of trade policy largely centered on increasing market access and reducing tariffs, quotas, and subsidies. Doha’s demise represents an opportunity to challenge the intellectual dominance of the current WTO paradigm, to expose the failings of the neoliberal model of economic development, and to reposition the global trade debate.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Thomas I. Palley
Working Paper No. 516 | September 2007
Employment Guarantee Policies from a Gender Perspective
There is now widespread recognition that in most countries, private-sector investment has not been able to absorb surplus labor. This is all the more the case for poor unskilled people. Public works programs and employment guarantee schemes in South Africa, India, and other countries provide jobs while creating public assets. In addition to physical infrastructure, an area that has immense potential to create much-needed jobs is that of social service delivery and social infrastructure. While unemployment and enforced “idleness” persist, existing time-use survey data reveal that people around the world—especially women and children—spend long hours performing unpaid work. This work includes not only household maintenance and care provisioning for family members and communities, but also time spent that helps fill public infrastructural gaps—for example, in the energy, health, and education sectors. This paper suggests that, by bringing together public job creation, on the one hand, and unpaid work, on the other, well-designed employment guarantee policies can promote job creation, gender equality, and pro-poor development.Download:Associated Program(s):Gender Equality and the Economy Employment Policy and Labor Markets Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 491 | February 2007
This paper examines the claim that the land rental market can be an effective means of redistributing access to, if not ownership of, land to the rural poor, using Paraguay as our model. The land sales market is also examined. The land rental market in Paraguay’s rural areas is found to be very thin, due at least in part to a lack of available credit for inputs. Renting-in substantial amounts of land is found to contribute significantly to household per-capita income.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Working Paper No. 490 | February 2007
This essay assesses the relationship between farm size and productivity. Both parametric and nonparametric methods are used to derive efficiency measures. Smaller farms are found to have higher net farm income per hectare, and to be more technically efficient, than larger farms.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 83A | January 2006
The Case to Replace FDIC Protection with Self-InsuranceThe Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) currently insures bank deposit balances up to $100,000. According to some observers, statutory protection creates moral hazard problems for insurers because it allows banks to engage in risky activities. As an example, moral hazard was a key contributor to huge losses suffered when thrift institutions failed during the 1980s. Author Panos Konstas outlines a plan to reduce the risk of government losses by replacing insured deposits with uninsured deposits and eliminating some of the costs of deposit insurance. His plan proposes a self-insured (SI) depositor system that places an intermediary between the lender (saver) and borrower (bank) in the credit-flow chain. The FDIC would guarantee saver loans and allow the intermediary to borrow at the risk-free interest rate if the intermediary’s bank deposit is statutorily defined outside the realm of FDIC insurance. The risk is therefore transferred to depositors (intermediaries); thus creating incentives for depositors to earn a rate of return at least equal to the cost of borrowing plus a risk premium based on the risk profile of banks.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Panos Konstas
Policy Note 2005/3 | April 2005A massive fiscal stimulus and, until recently, aggressive monetary easing have been successful in raising bond and real estate prices to unprecedented levels, inducing a credit boom that has prevented private consumption from falling. While it might still be too early to say that it worked, the strategy has indeed, for the time being, prevented the United States economy from slipping into a severe depression after the collapse of the stock market at the turn of the millennium.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Korkut A. Ertürk
Public Policy Brief No. 77 | June 2004
The Risks to Consumption and Investment
A rebound of consumption, investment, and consumer confidence in the second half of 2003 has raised hopes that the United States' recovery from the 2001 recession is on a sustainable course. According to this brief by Philip Arestis and Elias Karakitsos, however, the trend in the short-term factors affecting the economy has changed for the better, but long-term factors remain at risk. Slow, rather than rapid, economic growth is better in 2004, the authors say, as rapid growth would result in higher long-term interest rates, which would threaten the property market boom and weaken investment in 2005 and beyond. The authors are sure, however, that the current administration will find it difficult to refrain from additional procyclical fiscal stimulus in light of the upcoming presidential election. The result could lead to a rapidly declining US economic growth rate following the election in November.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Philip Arestis Elias Karakitsos
Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 77A | June 2004
The Risks to Consumption and InvestmentA rebound of consumption, investment, and consumer confidence in the second half of 2003 has raised hopes that the United States' recovery from the 2001 recession is on a sustainable course. According to this brief by Philip Arestis and Elias Karakitsos, however, the trend in the short-term factors affecting the economy has changed for the better, but long-term factors remain at risk. Slow, rather than rapid, economic growth is better in 2004, the authors say, as rapid growth would result in higher long-term interest rates, which would threaten the property market boom and weaken investment in 2005 and beyond. The authors are sure, however, that the current administration will find it difficult to refrain from additional procyclical fiscal stimulus in light of the upcoming presidential election. The result could lead to a rapidly declining US economic growth rate following the election in November.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Elias Karakitsos
Book Series | April 2004
Family Background, Public Policy, and Educational Success. Edited by Dalton Conley and Karen M. Albright
Since the publication of the Coleman report in the United States many decades ago, it has been widely accepted that the evidence that schools are marginal in the grand scheme of academic achievement is conclusive. Despite this, educational policy across the world remains focused almost exclusively on schools. This volume focuses its searchlight on family background and its impact on educational success. That schools have an important role in education is beyond question, but this book demonstrates some of the crucial ways that nonschool factors matter covering such themes as: the impact of fathers on educational success, socioeconomic background and young children''s education, and school-community relationships. With contributions from such figures as Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Doris Entwistle, and Richard Arum, this book is an important contribution to a debate that has implications across the board in social sciences and policymaking. It will be required reading for students and academics within sociology, economics and education and should also find a place on the bookshelves of education policymakers.
Published By: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, Ltd.Associated Program:Author(s):Dalton Conley Karen M Albright
Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 72A | August 2003
Soft Budgets and the Keynesian DevolutionThe "American Model" serves as a point of reference in discussions of economic policy around the world, especially in Europe. Many claim that the American version of the free market represents an ideal type—it is the highest form of capitalism. Senior Scholar James K. Galbraith argues, however, that the United States has relied heavily on government intervention in housing, health care, pensions, and education. Not only have these programs been largely successful and popular, but they also provide a Keynesian stimulus to spending that helps account for the strength of the US economy. Now that the United States is in a weak, jobless recovery, the key to restoring growth may lie in the kinds of governmental programs that have helped to sustain and stabilize the US economy in the past.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 72 | August 2003
Soft Budgets and the Keynesian Devolution
The “American Model” serves as a point of reference in discussions of economic policy around the world, especially in Europe. Many claim that the American version of the free market represents an ideal type—it is the highest form of capitalism. Senior Scholar James K. Galbraith argues, however, that the United States has relied heavily on government intervention in housing, health care, pensions, and education. Not only have these programs been largely successful and popular, but they also provide a Keynesian stimulus to spending that helps account for the strength of the US economy. Now that the United States is in a weak, jobless recovery, the key to restoring growth may lie in the kinds of governmental programs that have helped to sustain and stabilize the US economy in the past.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 70A | November 2002
Medical Practice Norms and the Quality of CareThis brief considers the interaction between physician incentive systems and product market competition in the delivery of medical services via managed care organizations. At the center of the analysis is the process by which health maintenance organizations (HMOs) assemble physician networks and the role these networks play in the competition for customers. The authors find that although physician practice styles respond to financial incentives, there is little evidence that HMO cost-containment incentives cause a discernable reduction in care quality. They propose a model of the managed care marketplace that solves for both physician incentive contracts and HMO product market strategies in an environment of extreme information asymmetry: physicians perceive the quality of care they offer perfectly and their patients do not perceive it at all.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):David J. Cooper James B. Rebitzer
Public Policy Brief No. 70 | November 2002
Medical Practice Norms and the Quality of Care
This brief considers the interaction between physician incentive systems and product market competition in the delivery of medical services via managed care organizations. At the center of the analysis is the process by which health maintenance organizations (HMOs) assemble physician networks and the role these networks play in the competition for customers. The authors find that although physician practice styles respond to financial incentives, there is little evidence that HMO cost-containment incentives cause a discernable reduction in care quality. They propose a model of the managed care marketplace that solves for both physician incentive contracts and HMO product market strategies in an environment of extreme information asymmetry: physicians perceive the quality of care they offer perfectly and their patients do not perceive it at all.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):David J. Cooper James B. Rebitzer
Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 41A | July 1998
How Technological Change Increases the Duration of UnemploymentWhy does a dynamic growing economy have a persistent long-term unemployment problem? Research Associates Baumol and Wolff have isolated one cause. Although technological change, the engine of growth and economic progress, may not affect or may even increase the total number of jobs available, the fact that it creates a demand for new skills and makes other skills obsolete can cause an increase in the overall rate of unemployment and the length of time during which an unemployed worker is between jobs. It goes without saying that society will not choose to slow technical innovation, but the task for policy is to find ways to offset the problems caused by this rising level and duration of unemployment.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 41 | July 1998
How Technological Change Increases the Duration of Unemployment
Why does a dynamic growing economy have a persistent long-term unemployment problem? Research Associates Baumol and Wolff have isolated one cause. Although technological change, the engine of growth and economic progress, may not affect or may even increase the total number of jobs available, the fact that it creates a demand for new skills and makes other skills obsolete can cause an increase in the overall rate of unemployment and the length of time during which an unemployed worker is between jobs. It goes without saying that society will not choose to slow technical innovation, but the task for policy is to find ways to offset the problems caused by this rising level and duration of unemployment.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 37 | December 1997
Corporate Governance and Employment: Is Prosperity Sustainable in the United States?
Since the 1970s corporate America has become obsessed with shedding employees to cut costs and with distributing revenue to stockholders. However, the way for it to regain its competitive edge and thus to restore the promise of secure and remunerative employment for its workers is to reform its system of governance. It must reject organizational segmentation and extraction of short-term returns and instead emphasize organizational integration and long-term value creation through financial commitment to investment in the collective and cumulative learning that is the foundation of industrial innovation.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 37A | December 1997
Corporate Governance and Employment: Is Prosperity Sustainable in the United States?Since the 1970s corporate America has become obsessed with shedding employees to cut costs and with distributing revenue to stockholders. However, the way for it to regain its competitive edge and thus to restore the promise of secure and remunerative employment for its workers is to reform its system of governance. It must reject organizational segmentation and extraction of short-term returns and instead emphasize organizational integration and long-term value creation through financial commitment to investment in the collective and cumulative learning that is the foundation of industrial innovation.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Working Paper No. 207 | August 1997
In this paper, Philip Arestis, of the University of East London, and Visiting Scholar Malcolm Sawyer, of the University of Leeds, assert the need for revived and revised Keynesian policies to secure full employment. They do not support "fine tuning," but argue for a medium-term approach that includes both demand-side and supply-side strategies. Their approach is Keynesian in two ways. First, they contend that a laissez-faire market economy does not ensure full employment. Second, they believe that a more equal distribution of market power, income, and wealth is both a desirable goal in itself and a vehicle for increasing prosperity. They discuss the constraints that prevent full employment and policies to deal with them.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Working Paper No. 157 | May 1996
In this working paper, John Williamson, senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics, evaluates proposals to create a short-term financing facility within the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The emphasis in this facility would be on the period within which the IMF would respond to a request for assistance, rather than on the duration of the loan. According to Williamson, there are two situations in which existing arrangements within the IMF do not allow for a response quick enough to be effective: when a country is attempting to defend a pegged exchange rate and when default is imminent. Some have suggested that any new facility be able to lend to alleviate these circumstances. Those who support freely floating exchange rates, however, are opposed to supporting a pegged rate regime and favor restricting such activity by any new facility. Others would support this activity by a new facility only in cases that pose a systemic threat.
Williamson focuses on the broadest of the purposes that could be fulfilled by a new facility: assisting countries to finance capital flows judged to be unjustified by the fundamentals and therefore destabilizing. Proposals directed at fulfilling this purpose (which date back some years and have been enjoying a recent resurgence) stipulate the countries that should have access to such a facility, the terms and level of access, the maturity of loans, and the source of the facility's financing.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):John Williamson