• The Levy Economics Institute Welcomes Incoming President Pavlina R. Tcherneva  MORE >>
  • U.S. Economic Outlook: Prospects for 2024 and Beyond U.S. Economic Outlook: Prospects for 2024 and Beyond  MORE >>
  • If Government Can Print Money, Why Does It Borrow?  by L. Randall Wray   MORE >>
  • Integrating Nonmarket Consumption into the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey by Ajit Zacharias, Fernando Rios-Avila, Nancy Folbre, and Thomas Masterson  MORE >>
  • 31st Annual Levy Economics Institute Conference  MORE >>
  • Graduate Programs in Economic Theory and Policy Innovative programs with a professional focus  MORE >>
  • Has the Time Arrived for a Job Guarantee in Europe? by Rania Antonopoulos  MORE >>
  • OUT NOW: The Levy Institute Podcast  First episode with John Harvey and James K. Galbraith available on most podcast platforms.   MORE >>
  • Greece: Time to Reduce the Dependency on Imports  by D.B. Papadimitriou, N. Rodousakis, G. T. Yajima, G. Zezza  MORE >>

Levy Institute Publications

  • U.S. Economic Outlook: Prospects for 2024 and Beyond

    Strategic Analysis, June 2024 | June 2024 | Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Gennaro Zezza, Giuliano Toshiro Yajima
    In this report, Institute President Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Research Scholar Giuliano T. Yajima, and Senior Scholar Gennaro Zezza discuss the rapid recovery of the US economy in the post-pandemic period. They find that robust consumption and investment and a relaxation of fiscal policy were the key drivers of accelerated GDP growth—however, the signs that the same rapid rate of growth will continue are not encouraging. In the authors’ assessment, projections relying on significant increases in private sector expenditures, including residential investment, are doubtful unless the relaxation of fiscal policy continues; both the household and corporate sectors will be deleveraging instead of increasing spending; the trade balance will continue along its same path in a deficit position; and the run up in the stock market carries significant downside risks.

  • If Government Can Print Money, Why Does It Borrow? 

    One-Pager No. 72 | May 2024 | L. Randall Wray
    Recently, the neglected question of why the US government borrows, given that it can print money, has arisen in the context of discussions surrounding a new documentary, Finding the Money. As L. Randall Wray observes in this one-pager, Modern Money Theory has been providing answers to this question for some time; and, he argues, it is a topic that mainstream economists are ill-equipped to address, since very few concern themselves with the monetary operations that underlie the question of why a currency-issuing government issues debt.

  • Integrating Nonmarket Consumption into the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey

    Research Project Report | March 2024 | Ajit Zacharias, Fernando Rios-Avila, Nancy Folbre, Thomas Masterson
    In spring 2021, under the direction and encouragement of Commissioner William Beach, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) kicked off a major initiative—to produce a measure of consumption to supplement the release of consumer expenditures. The production of such a measure would fill a data gap regarding household economic well-being. For years BLS staff, with support from the public, had discussed the possibility of producing a consumption measure. However, it was the experience of COVID-19 and the role of home production for consumption that nudged the Bureau to promote the development of such a measure. To support this new initiative, the BLS sought input from the greater research community and public: first through the organization of a Consumption Symposium; and second through a Request for Information (RFI) that would result in an outside BLS contract. Consumption Symposium speakers included well-known national and international researchers who are expert in various aspects of measurement, including home production; the Symposium was held September 21–22, 2021. In parallel, the RFI was issued in May 2021 with responses received in July 2021. This was followed by Request for Quotation (RFQ) in September 2021. The Levy Institute was awarded the contract with a period of performance of twelve months beginning September 30, 2021.
    The following report includes the Levy Institute’s findings in developing an empirical methodology and identifying data sources (including the BLS American Time Use Survey) to extend the consumer expenditure data collected by the BLS (using Consumer Expenditure Surveys) by incorporating household production (nonmarket and nongovernmental services such as do-it-yourself home repairs and childcare). The researchers—Ajit Zacharias, Fernando Rios-Avila, Nancy Folbre, and Thomas Masterson—found that an overwhelming share of home production is provided by women. Distinct from most previous research, this research extends the scope of household production to include supervisory childcare and care received by household members from people outside their household. Estimates are generated for various major components of household production, such as childcare and cooking, rather than a single category. Included are estimates by alternative methods with monetary values of household production. This research represents an extension of the work the Levy Institute has been doing in bringing the realm of household production into economic analysis, including the creation of alternative measures of economic well-being (LIMEW) and poverty (LIMTIP).
    During fiscal year 2024, the BLS will be evaluating the methodology proposed in this report with an expectation that a BLS consumption measure that includes home production will be forthcoming in 2025.
    The full report can be downloaded here.

    Tables and figures from the report can be downloaded here.

    Additional detailed information on the quality checks conducted regarding the imputations from the ATUS data can be found here.

    The GitHub repository files contain detailed information on the three methods of imputation, weekday and weekend imputations, and results pertaining to each CE file (Interview, Diary, quarter, etc.). These files contain information that we used to check the quality of imputations. Users who want to use a particular method (say statistical matching) and a particular file (say third-quarter Interview sample) can check the quality of imputation for their use with the help of the information available in the repository. In assessing the quality, the users could use the strategy we provide in the report or their own criteria.
  • Greece: Time to Reduce the Dependency on Imports

    Strategic Analysis, February 2024 | February 2024 | Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Nikolaos Rodousakis, Giuliano Toshiro Yajima, Gennaro Zezza
    In this report, Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Nikolaos Rodousakis, Giuliano T. Yajima, and Gennaro Zezza investigate the determinants of the recent performance of the Greek economy.
    Despite geopolitical instability from the continuing Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Gaza wars and higher-than-expected inflation rates, the country has managed to register the highest growth rates among eurozone member-states in 2021 and 2022.
    Yet the authors’ projections, based on 2023Q3 official statistics, show that there will be a deceleration of GDP growth in the upcoming two years. This will be driven mainly by sluggish consumption demand due to the falling trend of real wages and persistent higher imported inflation, coupled with the inability of the government to deploy NGEU funds and a significant loss of production due to climate damage from floods and fires. These dynamics will likely continue the brain drain of skilled workers, who opt to move abroad for better employment opportunities. The overreliance of the Greek economy on tourism is also questioned, given the dependency on foreign industrial inputs.

  • Gender-Responsive Public Financial Management: The Indian Chronology of Gender Budgeting

    Working Paper No. 1054 | June 2024 | Lekha S. Chakraborty
    Gender budgeting is a public financial management (PFM) tool, used to ensure accountability mechanisms. The analysis of “process” indicators of gender-responsive PFM (GRPFM) reveals that India has been successful in integrating a gender lens within the budget cycle, including in the financial planning and allocation, and in effective implementation. However, a legally mandated GRPFM would be crucial for the sustained impact of gender budgeting on gender equality outcomes. The empirical analysis of the link between GRPFM and gender equality outcomes showed that flexibility of finances is crucial for a government to implement GRPFM. The unconditional fiscal transfers have relatively more impact on gender equality outcomes than conditional transfers. The plausible mechanism through which unconditional tax transfers impact gender equality outcomes lies in the flexibility of use of tax transfers by the subnational governments in prioritizing their gender-related commitments. This inference has policy implications for the 16th Finance Commission.

  • Foreign Deficit and Economic Policy: The Case of Mexico

    Working Paper No. 1053 | June 2024 | Arturo Huerta G.
    The article analyzes Mexico under globalization, particularly on the free mobility of capital. It argues that globalization has detrimentally impacted the productive and external sectors, causing the economy to become excessively reliant on volatile capital inflows from abroad. The Mexican government—instead of undoing the structural problems that lead to external deficits—implements policies that resolve the short-term liquidity needs and go against economic growth, as if they are promoting capital inflows. The national currency has appreciated greatly and acts only in favor of the financial sector and in detriment of the productive and the external sector.
    The Mexican economy has fallen into a context of high external vulnerability since it rests on capital inflows. Capital inflows are highly fragile and volatile. They depend not only on internal problems, but also on the world economy and expectations. For this reason, the reliance on capital inflows to appreciate the peso is unsustainable.
    Given the meager growth of the world economy and trade, globalization is being questioned and various countries are implementing industrial and protectionist policies. If Mexico continues to bet on outward growth through nearshoring, it will have no chance of overcoming the problems it faces.
    Mexico cannot continue with an economic policy that does not generate endogenous conditions to growth and that has made the economy dependent on the behavior of international financial markets which generate recurrent crises.

  • Exchange-Rate Stability Causes Deterioration of the Productive Sphere and Destabilizes Developing Economies

    Working Paper No. 1052 | June 2024 | Arturo Huerta G.
    For Matías Vernengo and Esteban Pérez Caldentey (2020), the MMT literature overemphasizes the choice of the exchange rate regime and the relevance of a flexible exchange rate regime, as well as the ultimate effect of that choice upon the policy space. In addition, they argue that the role of capital flows is underexplored, and that the relevance of the balance-of-payments constraint is often underestimated. Vernengo and Pérez’s criticism fails to consider that exchange-rate flexibility makes it possible to use flexible fiscal and monetary policies as well, to boost growth and employment, and to reduce the balance-of-payments constraint.

  • Euro Interest Rate Swap Yields: Some ARDL Models

    Working Paper No. 1051 | May 2024 | Tanweer Akram, Khawaja Mamun
    This paper examines the dynamics of euro-denominated (EUR) long-term interest rate swap yields. It shows that the short-term interest rate has an economically and statistically significant effect on EUR swap yields of different maturity tenors, after controlling for various key macroeconomic variables. It presents several autoregressive distributive lag (ARDL) models of the dynamics of EUR swap yields. The estimated econometric models of EUR swap yields of different maturity tenors imply that the European Central Bank (ECB) exerts substantial influence on interest rate swap yields, primarily through the effect of its actions on the current short-term interest rate. Examining the case of EUR interest rate swaps, the findings of the paper lend additional credence to John Maynard Keynes’s hypothesis concerning the ability of a central bank to influence long-term market interest rates.

  • Macroeconomic Effects of a Government Overdraft on Its Central Bank Account

    Working Paper No. 1050 | May 2024 | Tarron Khemraj
    The Guyana government, from 2015 to 2021, accumulated a large overdraft on its central bank account. It owed this overdraft to a binding debt ceiling limit and fractious political environment that prevented an increase in the ceiling, allowing for the auctioning of Treasury bills to create the liquidity reflux necessary to refill the account. This paper studies the macroeconomic effects of reflux (one-sided sales of Treasury bills) and broken or incomplete reflux (base money expansion) by focusing on domestic inflation, the foreign exchange (FX) rate, and the quantity of FX traded in the local market. The empirical results suggest that the inflation rate is largely driven by foreign price and oil shocks. Nevertheless, the broken reflux adversely affected the local FX market by increasing the demand for foreign currencies, marginally depreciating the exchange rate, and slightly increasing the inflation rate. The latter finding has important implications for the enormous post-2020 budget spending since the discovery of offshore oil. However, reflux was found to have a stabilizing effect on the demand for FX and inflation. Granger predictability tests provide strong evidence that the government spends first from its central bank account before reflux occurs. Finally, the paper discusses a few novel institutional features of Guyana which resemble the monetary circuit framework (with government) of neo-chartalists.
    Associated Program:
    Tarron Khemraj
    Related Topic(s):

  • Deindustrialization from the Center Perspective: US Trade and Manufacturing in the Last Two Decades

    Working Paper No. 1049 | May 2024 | Nikolaos Rodousakis, Giuliano Toshiro Yajima, George Soklis
    We argue that the US trade and industry sector has experienced several unsustainable sectoral processes, including (i) a fall in the trade balance in machinery and equipment and high-tech (HT) industries, (ii) a rise in import multipliers in machinery and equipment and HT industries, (iii) a fall in the manufacturing share of GDP in machinery and equipment and HT industries, (iv) a rise in commodities share of GDP, (v) a fall in the wage share, (vi) structural shifts in the consumption share of wages, and (vii) a fall in employment multipliers for the US, particularly in manufacturing. To address these issues, the US must shift toward a more sustainable and value-added economy with a focus on innovation and investment in high-tech industries, renewable energy, and sustainable agriculture. Additionally, policies must be put in place to address the negative impacts of resource extraction and to promote a more equitable distribution of income and wealth.

  • Has the Time Arrived for a Job Guarantee in Europe?

    One-Pager No. 71 | December 2023 | Rania Antonopoulos
    In comparison to the policy responses in the aftermath of the 2008–9 global financial crisis, the reactions of EU policymakers to the combined shocks of the COVID-19 crisis and Ukraine-Russia conflict reveal a greater willingness to deploy public finance in support of the population. Yet, while this display of renewed solidarity is commendable, policymakers have a long way to go in building a more resilient and sustainable EU. A confrontation with long-standing “business as usual” EU rules and policies is necessary, and it is in this context that the job guarantee deserves serious consideration. Acting for the common purpose of reducing and eventually eliminating long-term unemployment would send a clear message that a Social Europe is possible.

  • An Empirical Analysis of Swedish Government Bond Yields

    Working Paper No. 1048 | April 2024 | Tanweer Akram, Mahima Yadav
    This paper econometrically models the dynamics of Swedish government bond (SGB) yields. It examines whether the short-term interest rate has a decisive influence on long-term SGB yields, after controlling for other macroeconomic and financial variables, such as consumer price inflation, the growth of industrial production, the stock price index, the exchange rate of the Swedish krona, and the balance sheet of Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank. It applies an autoregressive distributive lag (ARDL) approach using monthly data to model SGB yields across the Treasury yield curve. The results of the estimated models show that the short-term interest rate has a marked influence on the long-term SGB yield. Such findings reaffirm John Maynard Keynes’s view that the central bank’s monetary policy affects long-term government bond yields through the current short-term interest rate.  It also shows that the interest rate behavior observed in Sweden is in concordance with empirical patterns discerned in previous studies related to government bond yields in both advanced countries and emerging markets.

  • Effects of Forced Formalization (Demonetization) in the Indian Economy 

    Policy Note 2023/4 | August 2023 | Nischal Dhungel
    Nischal Dhungel examines the impact of India’s demonetization experiment—an effort at “forced formalization” of the economy. He urges a more organic approach to formalization, pairing efforts to bring the unbanked population into the banking system with greater funding and accessibility for India’s signature employment guarantee program.

  • “Just Transition” in India and Fiscal Stance

    Working Paper No. 1047 | April 2024 | Lekha S. Chakraborty, Emmanuel Thomas
    Analyzing the Tax Buoyancy of the Extractive Sector
    Against the backdrop of fiscal transition concomitant to energy transition policies with climate change commitments, revenue from the extractive sector needs a recalibration in the subnational fiscal space. Extractive tax is the payment due to the government in exchange for the right to extract the mineral substance. Extractive tax has been fixed and paid in multiple tax regimes, sometimes on the measures of ad valorem (value-based) or profits or as the unit of the mineral extracted. Using the ARDL methodology, this paper analyzes the buoyancy of extractive revenue across the states in India, for the period 1991–92 to 2022–23 and analyzes the short- and long-run coefficients and their speed of adjustment. There are no identified structural breaks in the series predominantly because of the homogenous extractive policy regime shift to ad valorem from a unit-based regime. Our findings revealed that extractive tax is a buoyant source of own revenue, though there are distinct state-specific differentials. The policy implication of our study is crucial for a “just transition” related to climate change commitments where extractive industries’ tax buoyancy is compared to other tax buoyancy across Indian states, and can be used as the base scenario to estimate the loss of revenue when fiscal transition sets in with “just transition” policies.

  • In Defense of Low Interest Rates

    Policy Note 2023/3 | July 2023 | James K. Galbraith
    In recalling John Maynard Keynes’s revolutionary theory of interest, reviewing the doctrines Keynes sought to overthrow, and analyzing the structural transformations of the US economy, James K. Galbraith maintains there is no alternative to a policy of low interest rates. However, such a policy cannot be effective, he argues, without a radical restructuring of the US economy as a whole.

  • The Aggregate Production Function and Solow’s “Three Denials”

    Working Paper No. 1046 | March 2024 | Jesus Felipe, John McCombie
    This paper offers a retrospective view of the key pillar of Solow’s neoclassical growth model, namely the aggregate production function. We review how this tool came to life and how it has survived until today, despite three criticisms that undermined its raison d’être. They are the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies, the Aggregation Problem, and the Accounting Identity. These criticisms were forgotten by the profession, not because they were wrong but because of the key role played by Robert Solow in the field. Today, these criticisms are not even mentioned when students are introduced to (neoclassical) growth theory, which is presented in most economics departments and macroeconomics textbooks as the only theory worth studying.

  • Social Security and Gender Inequality

    Working Paper No. 1045 | March 2024 | Liudmila Malyshava, B. Oak McCoy
    This inquiry examines the role of federal policy in gender inequality using the principles of institutional adjustment (Foster 1981; Bush 1987) in the context of the Veblenian dichotomy of habit formation. Specifically, the authors assert that Social Security, though exclusive at its inception in 1935, has undergone significant institutional adjustment. Today, Social Security plays a determining role in providing the appropriate institutional space for not only increasing economic security for older women, but also for reducing gender inequality overall.

  • Empirical Models of Chinese Government Bond Yields

    Working Paper No. 1044 | February 2024 | Tanweer Akram, Shahida Pervin
    This paper econometrically models the dynamics of long-term Chinese government bond (CGB) yields based on key macroeconomic and financial variables. It deploys autoregressive distributive lag (ARDL) models to examine whether the short-term interest rate has a decisive influence on the long-term CGB yield, after controlling for various macroeconomic and financial variables, such as inflation or core inflation, the growth of industrial production, the percentage change in the stock price index, the exchange rate of the Chinese yuan, and the balance sheet of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). The findings show that the short-term interest rate has an economically and statistically significant effect on the long-term CGB yield of various maturity tenors. John Maynard Keynes claimed that the central bank’s policy rate exerts an important influence over long-term government bond yields through the short-term interest rate. The paper’s findings evince that Keynes’s claim holds for China, implying that the PBOC’s actions are a driver of the long-term CGB yield. This means that policymakers in China have considerable leeway in fiscal and monetary operations, government deficit finance, and central government debt management.

  • Will the US Debt Ceiling Deal Derail the Pandemic Recovery?

    Strategic Analysis, July 2023 | July 2023 | Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Michalis Nikiforos, Giuliano Toshiro Yajima, Gennaro Zezza
    In this Strategic Analysis, Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Michalis Nikiforos, Giuliano T. Yajima, and Gennaro Zezza discuss how the current state and structural features of the US economy might affect its future trajectory. The recent recovery after the pandemic has been remarkable, when compared to previous cycles, and offers evidence of the efficacy of fiscal policy. Moreover, the inflation rate has been finally decelerating as the problems in global value chains that emerged after the pandemic are resolving and the price of commodities and oil, which spiked after the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, are stabilizing.

    Yet despite the recent success of fiscal policy in promoting output and employment growth, the recent debt ceiling deal—culminating in the 2023 Fiscal Responsibility Act—risks putting the US economy on the austerity path of the previous decade. And given the structural weaknesses of the US economy—including its high current account deficits, high level of indebtedness of firms, and overvalued stock and real estate prices—this projected fiscal policy tightening, combined with the impacts of high interest rates, could lead to a significant slowdown of the US economy.

    The US economy, the authors contend, is in need of a structural transformation toward modernizing its infrastructure, promoting industrial policy, and investing in the greening of its economy and environmental sustainability. A necessary condition for achieving these goals is an increase in government expenditure; they show that such an increase could also have positive demand effects on output and employment. 

  • The Challenges for the New Greek Government

    Policy Note 2023/2 | June 2023 | Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Nikolaos Rodousakis
    Following the recent (June 25, 2023) elections in Greece, Institute President Dimitri B. Papadimitriou and Research Scholar Nikolaos Rodousakis outline the economic and policy challenges facing the Greek government.

  • The Causes of Pandemic Inflation

    One-Pager No. 70 | December 2022 | L. Randall Wray
    While the trigger for the Covid recession was unusual—a collapse of the supply side that produced a drop in demand—the inflation the US economy is now facing is not atypical, according to L. Randall Wray. In this one-pager, he explores the causes of the current inflationary environment, arguing that continuing inflation pressures come mostly from the supply side.

    Wray warns that, given federal spending had already been declining substantially before the Fed started raising interest rates, rate hikes make a recession—and potentially stagflation—even more likely. A key part of our fiscal policy response should be focused on well-designed public investment addressing the substantial supply constraints still affecting the US economy—constraints that are not just due to the Covid crisis, but also decades of underinvestment in infrastructure. Such an approach, in Wray's view, would reduce inflationary pressures while supporting growth.

  • Is It Time for Rate Hikes?

    Public Policy Brief No. 157 | April 2022 | Yeva Nersisyan, L. Randall Wray
    The Fed Cannot Engineer a Soft Landing but Risks Stagflation by Trying
    Roughly two years into the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, the topic of elevated inflation dominates the economic policy discourse in the United States. And the aggressive use of fiscal policy to support demand and incomes has commonly been singled out as the culprit. Equally as prevalent is the clamor for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to relieve inflationary pressures. According to Research Scholar Yeva Nersisyan and Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray, this narrative is flawed in a number of ways. The problem with the US economy is not one of excess of demand in their view, and the Federal Reserve will not be able to engineer a “soft landing” in the way many seem to be expecting. The authors also deliver a warning: excessive tightening, combined with headwinds in 2022, could lead to stagflation. Moreover, while this recovery looks robust in comparison to the jobless recoveries and secular stagnation that have typified the last few decades, in Nersisyan and Wray’s estimation there are few signs of an overheating economy to be found in the macro data. In their view, this inflation is not centrally demand driven; rather dynamics at the micro-level are playing a much more central role in driving the price increases in question, while significant supply chain problems have curtailed productive capacity by disrupting the availability of critical inputs.

    The authors suggest there is a better way to conduct policy—one oriented around targeted investments that would increase our real resource space. This will serve not only to address inflationary pressures, according to Nersisyan and Wray, but also the far more pressing climate emergency.

  • Still Flying Blind after All These Years

    Public Policy Brief No. 156 | December 2021 | Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, L. Randall Wray
    The Federal Reserve’s Continuing Experiments with Unobservables
    Institute President Dimitri B. Papadimitriou and Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray contend that the prevailing approach to monetary policy and inflation is influenced by a set of concepts that are a poor guide to action. In this policy brief, they examine two previous cases in which the Federal Reserve misread the data and raised rates too soon, as well as the evolution of the Fed’s thought and practice over the past three decades—a period in which the central bank has increasingly turned to unobservable indicators that are supposed to predict inflation. Noting that their criticisms have now been raised by the Fed’s own members and research staff, the authors highlight the ways in which we need to rethink our overall framework for monetary and fiscal policy. The Fed has far less control over inflation than is presumed, they argue, and, at worst, might have the whole inflation-fighting strategy backwards. Managing inflation, they conclude, should not be left entirely in the hands of central banks.

  • What Is MMT’s State of Play in Washington?

    e-pamphlet, August 2021 | August 2021 | L. Randall Wray
    Modern 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.

  • Statement of Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray to the House Budget Committee, US House of Representatives

    Testimony, November 20, 2019 | November 2019 | L. Randall Wray, Yeva Nersisyan
    Reexamining the Economic Costs of Debt
    On 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 Omar

  • Scope and Effects of Reducing Time Deficits via Intrahousehold Redistribution of Household Production

    Research Project Report, July 2021 | July 2021 | Ajit Zacharias, Thomas Masterson, Fernando Rios-Avila, Abena D. Oduro
    Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa
    Gender disparity in the division of responsibilities for unpaid care and domestic work (household production) is a central and pervasive component of inequalities between men and women and boys and girls. Reducing disparity in household production figures as one element of the goal of gender equality enshrined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and feminist scholars and political activists have articulated that the redistribution of household production responsibilities from females to males is important for its own sake, as well as for achieving gender equality in labor market outcomes. A cursory examination of available cross-country data indicates that higher per capita GDP—the neoliberal panacea for most societal malaise—provides little bulwark against the gender inequality in household production.
    Ajit Zacharias, Thomas Masterson, Fernando Rios-Avila, and Abena D. Oduro contribute to the literature on the intrahousehold distribution of household production by placing the question within a framework of analyzing deprivation, applying that framework to better understand the interactions between poverty and the gendered division of labor in four sub-Saharan African nations: Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, and Tanzania. Central to their framework is the notion that attaining a minimal standard of living requires command over an adequate basket of commodities and sufficient time to be spent on home production, where meeting those requirements produces benefits for all—including those beyond the household.
    Their findings motivate questions regarding the feasibility and effectiveness of redistribution of household responsibilities to alleviate time deficits and their impoverishing effects. By developing a framework to assess the mechanics of redistribution among family members and applying it to gender-based redistribution, they derive the maximum extent to which redistribution—either among all family members, between sexes, or between husbands and wives—can lower the incidence of time deficits. The conclude with a discussion of alternative principles of distributing household production responsibilities among family members and examine their impact on the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty (LIMTCP) and discuss some policy questions in light of their findings.

  • The Macroeconomic Effects of Student Debt Cancellation

    Research Project Report, February 2018 | February 2018 | Scott Fullwiler, Stephanie A. Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, Marshall Steinbaum
    Among 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.

  • A Great Leap Forward

    Book Series, January 2020 | January 2020 | L. Randall Wray
    Heterodox Economic Policy for the 21st Century
    A 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
Ford-Levy Institute Projects
Levy Institute Publications in Greek

From the Press Room

High school students across the US have been studying and citing the work of Research Scholar Pavlina Tcherneva to argue affirmatively for the job guarantee in preparation for the '24 national debate tournaments. 

Read Senior Scholar James K. Galbraith's article, "Entropy, the Theory of Value and the Future of Humanity" featured by the Economic Democracy Initiative. 

Read Senior Scholar James K. Galbraith's article, "Industrial Policy Is a Good Idea, but So Far We Don’t Have One" featured by the Institute for New Economic Thinking

Bard College’s Levy Economics Institute Receives $500,000 Hewlett Grant for its Gender Equality and the Economy Program

Listen to Levy Scholar Pavlina Tcherneva on Back Ground Briefing with Ian Masters, "The Disconnect Between Biden’s Great Economic Numbers and How Voters Feel about the Economy"

William Waller, Senior Scholar at the Levy Economic Institute, Mary Wrenn, Senior Lecturer at University of the West of England, and Matthew Watson, Professor of Political Economy at Warwick University discussed Thorstein Veblen’s book, The Theory of the Leisure Class on In Our Times with Melvyn Bragg on BBC4 on Thursday, November 9th

Institute Scholar Michalis Nikiforos and Simon Grothe's article "Markups, Profit Shares, and Cost-Push-Profit-Led Inflation" was featured by the Institute for New Economic Thinking 

Rania Antonopoulos spoke in support of a European Job Guarantee during the 15th Congress of the European Trade Union Confederation

Levy Economics Institute of Bard College Receives $211,000 to Continue Study of Potential Impacts of Policies that Expand Care Services in Mexico

Read Yeva Nersisyan and L. Randall Wray's latest op-ed on SVB and the Fed

Institute Scholar Yeva Nersisyan's op-ed "Lowering inflation isn't a job for a one-trick pony" featured in The Hill