|Died||June 6, 1975 87) (aged|
|Field||Macroeconomics, political economics|
|Alma mater|| University of Wisconsin–Madison |
|Influences||John Maynard Keynes|
|Contributions|| IS–LM model |
Secular stagnation theory
|Thesis||Cycles of prosperity and depression in the United States, Great Britain and Germany; a study of monthly data 1902-1908 (1918)|
|Doctoral advisor|| Richard T. Ely |
John R. Commons
Frederic L. Paxson
|Doctoral students|| Evsey Domar |
|Part of a series on|
Alvin Harvey Hansen (August 23, 1887 – June 6, 1975) was an American economist who taught at the University of Minnesota and was later a chair professor of economics at Harvard University. Often referred to as "the American Keynes", he was a widely read popular author on economic issues, and an influential advisor to the government on economic policy. Hansen helped create the Council of Economic Advisors and the Social Security system. He is best remembered today for introducing Keynesian economics in the United States in the 1930s and 40s.
More effectively than anyone else, he explicated, extended, domesticated, and popularized the ideas embodied in Keynes's The General Theory. He helped develop with John Hicks the IS–LM model (or Hicks–Hansen model), a mathematical representation of Keynesian macroeconomic theory. In 1967, Paul McCracken, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, saluted Hansen stating: "It is certainly a statement of fact that you have influenced the nation's thinking about economic policy more profoundly than any other economist in this century."
Hansen was born in Viborg, South Dakota on August 23, 1887, the son of Niels Hansen, a farmer, and Marie Bergitta Nielsen. Graduating from the nearby Yankton College (closed in 1984) in 1910 with a major in English, he enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1913 to study economics under Richard Ely and John R. Commons, from whom he learned to use economics to address pressing social problems. Upon completion of the coursework for the PhD in 1916. Hansen married Mabel Lewis: they had two children.
He taught at Brown University while writing his doctoral dissertation, "Cycles of Prosperity and Depression". Upon completion of the dissertation in 1918 (published in 1921), he moved back west to the University of Minnesota in 1919, where he rose quickly through the ranks of a full teacher in 1923. Subsequently, his Business Cycle Theory (1927) and his introductory text Principles of Economics (1928, with Frederic Garver) brought him to the attention of the wider economics profession. His Economic Stabilization in an Unbalanced World (1932), written with the help of a Guggenheim grant that funded travel in Europe during 1928-1929, established Hansen in the broader circle of public affairs. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1932.
In 1937 he received an invitation to occupy the new Lucius N. Littauer Chair of political Economy at Harvard University. His first book at Harvard posed the question Full Recovery or Stagnation? (1938) sketched the outlines of what came to be called the "secular stagnation thesis".
Later, his America's Role in the World Economy (1945) and Economic Policy and Full Employment (1947) made this case to a wider public. Hansen was appointment as special economic adviser to Marriner Eccles at the Federal Reserve Board in 1940 and he was in charge until 1945.
After retiring from active teaching in 1956, he wrote The American Economy (1957), Economic Issues of the 1960s and Problems (1964), and The Dollar and the International Monetary System (1965). He died in Alexandria, Virginia on June 6 of 1975 at the age of 87 years.
His most outstanding contribution to economic theory was the joint development, with John Hicks, of the so-called IS–LM model, also known as the "Hicks–Hansen synthesis." The IS–LM diagram claims to show the relationship between the investment-saving (IS) curve and the liquidity preference-money supply (LM) curve. It is used in mainstream economics literature and textbooks to illustrate how monetary and fiscal policy can influence GDP.
Hansen's book of 1938, Full Recovery or Stagnation. based in Keynes's General Theory, presents his thesis for both growth and employment being stagnant if there is no economic state intervention to stimulate demand.
Hansen presented evidence on several occasions before the U.S. Congress to oppose the use of unemployment as the main means of fighting inflation. He advocated instead that inflation could be controlled by changes in interest- and tax-rates as well as controls on prices and wages.
Lately, theories of economic stagnation have become more associated with Hansen's ideas than with those of Keynes.
Hansen, in his review of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money , was skeptical of John Maynard Keynes's propositions, but by December 1938, in his presidential address to the American Economic Association, he embraced Keynesian theories of the need for government intervention in periods of economic recession. Soon after his arrival at Harvard in 1937, Hansen's famous graduate seminar on fiscal policy began inspiring graduate students such as Paul Samuelson and James Tobin (both of whom would go on to win the Economics Nobel) to further develop and popularize Keynesian economics. Hansen's 1941 book, Fiscal Policy and Business Cycles, was the first major work in the United States to entirely support Keynes's analysis of the causes of the Great Depression. Hansen used that analysis to argue for Keynesian deficit spending.
Hansen's best known contribution to economics was his and John Hicks's development of the IS–LM model, also known as the "Hicks–Hansen synthesis." The framework claims to graphically represent the investment-savings (IS) curve and the liquidity-money supply (LM) curve as an illustration of how fiscal and monetary policies can be employed to alter national income.
Hansen's 1938 book, Full Recovery or Stagnation, was based on Keynesian ideas and was an extended argument that there would be long-term employment stagnation without government demand-side intervention.
Paul Samuelson was Hansen's most famous student. Samuelson credited Hansen's Full Recovery or Stagnation? (1938) as the main inspiration for his famous multiplier-accelerator model of 1939. Leeson (1997) shows that while Hansen and Sumner Slichter continued to be regarded as leading exponents of Keynesian economics, their gradual abandonment of a commitment to price stability contributed to the development of a Keynesianism that conflicted with positions of Keynes himself.
In the late 1930s, Hansen argued that "secular stagnation" had set in so the American economy would never grow rapidly again because all the growth ingredients had played out, including technological innovation and population growth. The only solution, he argued, was constant, large-scale deficit spending by the federal government.
The thesis was highly controversial, as critics, such as George Terborgh, attacked Hansen as a "pessimist" and a "defeatist." Hansen replied that secular stagnation was just another name for Keynes's underemployment equilibrium. However, the sustained economic growth, beginning in 1940, undercut Hansen's predictions and his stagnation model was forgotten.
One of the most important contribution to the economic theory by Alvin Hansen are the economic cycles. In his book Business Cycles and National Income, he defines the cycle as a fluctuation in: employment, output, and prices. The cycle is divided in two phases: expansion, extending from trough to peak; and contraction, extending from peak to trough.
For Hansen, there exist stable and unstable economic cycles. The instability is caused by displacement due to external shocks. Hansen claims that the business-cycle analysis must take into consideration technical progress, the money market, and expectations.
Hansen argued that the American economy during the Great Depression was not going through a particularly severe business cycle but through the exhaustion of a longer-term progressive dynamic. What Hansen had in mind was not just counter-cyclical public spending to stabilize employment but rather major projects such as rural electrification, slum clearance, and natural resource development conservation, all with a view of opening up new investment opportunities for the private sector and so, restoring the economic dynamism needed to the system as a whole.
Hansen trained and arguably influenced numerous students, many of whom later held government posts, and he served on numerous governmental committees dealing with economic issues. The American Economic Association awarded him its Walker Medal in 1967.
Hansen frequently testified before Congress. He advocated against using unemployment to control inflation. He argued that inflation could be managed by timely changes in tax rates and the money supply, and by effective wage and price controls. He also advocated fiscal and other stimuli to ward off the stagnation that he thought was endemic to mature, industrialized economies. Hansen was not without his critics, however; journalist John T. Flynn, for example, argued that Hansen's policies were de facto fascism, sharing alarming similarities with the economic policy of Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Italy.
During the Roosevelt and Truman presidencies, Hansen served on government commissions and as consultant to the Federal Reserve Board, the United States Department of the Treasury and the National Security Resources Board. In 1935, he helped create the US Social Security system and, in 1946, he assisted in the drafting of the Full Employment Act, which, among other things, created the Council of Economic Advisors.
Between 1939 and 1945, he served as co-rapporteur to the economic and financial group of the Council on Foreign Relations's War and Peace Studies project, along with Chicago economist Jacob Viner.
Hansen's advocacy (with Luther Gulick) during World War II of Keynesian policies to promote post-war full employment helped persuade Keynes to assist in the development of plans for the international economy.
Keynesian economics are the various macroeconomic theories and models of how aggregate demand strongly influences economic output and inflation. In the Keynesian view, aggregate demand does not necessarily equal the productive capacity of the economy. Instead, it is influenced by a host of factors – sometimes behaving erratically – affecting production, employment, and inflation.
Macroeconomics is a branch of economics dealing with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole. For example, using interest rates, taxes, and government spending to regulate an economy’s growth and stability. This includes regional, national, and global economies. According to a 2018 assessment by economists Emi Nakamura and Jón Steinsson, economic "evidence regarding the consequences of different macroeconomic policies is still highly imperfect and open to serious criticism."
In economics, stagflation or recession-inflation is a situation in which the inflation rate is high, the economic growth rate slows, and unemployment remains steadily high. It presents a dilemma for economic policy, since actions intended to lower inflation may exacerbate unemployment.
Monetarism is a school of thought in monetary economics that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. Monetarist theory asserts that variations in the money supply have major influences on national output in the short run and on price levels over longer periods. Monetarists assert that the objectives of monetary policy are best met by targeting the growth rate of the money supply rather than by engaging in discretionary monetary policy.
Post-Keynesian economics is a school of economic thought with its origins in The General Theory of John Maynard Keynes, with subsequent development influenced to a large degree by Michał Kalecki, Joan Robinson, Nicholas Kaldor, Sidney Weintraub, Paul Davidson, Piero Sraffa and Jan Kregel. Historian Robert Skidelsky argues that the post-Keynesian school has remained closest to the spirit of Keynes' original work. It is a heterodox approach to economics.
The IS–LM model, or Hicks–Hansen model, is a two-dimensional macroeconomic tool that shows the relationship between interest rates and assets market. The intersection of the "investment–saving" (IS) and "liquidity preference–money supply" (LM) curves models "general equilibrium" where supposed simultaneous equilibria occur in both the goods and the asset markets. Yet two equivalent interpretations are possible: first, the IS–LM model explains changes in national income when the price level is fixed in the short-run; second, the IS–LM model shows why an aggregate demand curve can shift. Hence, this tool is sometimes used not only to analyse economic fluctuations but also to suggest potential levels for appropriate stabilisation policies.
New Keynesian economics is a school of macroeconomics that strives to provide microeconomic foundations for Keynesian economics. It developed partly as a response to criticisms of Keynesian macroeconomics by adherents of new classical macroeconomics.
In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government revenue collection and expenditure to influence a country's economy. The use of government revenues and expenditures to influence macroeconomic variables developed as a result of the Great Depression, when the previous laissez-faire approach to economic management became unpopular. Fiscal policy is based on the theories of the British economist John Maynard Keynes, whose Keynesian economics theorized that government changes in the levels of taxation and government spending influences aggregate demand and the level of economic activity. Fiscal and monetary policy are the key strategies used by a country's government and central bank to advance its economic objectives. The combination of these policies enables these authorities to target inflation and to increase employment. Additionally, it is designed to try to keep GDP growth at 2%–3% and the unemployment rate near the natural unemployment rate of 4%–5%. This implies that fiscal policy is used to stabilize the economy over the course of the business cycle.
Business cycles are intervals of expansion followed by recession in economic activity. They have implications for the welfare of the broad population as well as for private institutions. Typically business cycles are measured by applying a band pass filter to a broad economic indicator such as Real Gross Domestic Production. Here important problems may arise with a commonly used filter called the "ideal filter". For instance if a series is a purely random process without any cycle, an "ideal" filter, better called a block filter, a spurious cycle is produced as output. Fortunately methods such as [Harvey and Trimbur, 2003, Review of Economics and Statistics] have been designed so that the band pass filter may be adapted to the time series at hand.
Nicholas Kaldor, Baron Kaldor, born Káldor Miklós, was a Cambridge economist in the post-war period. He developed the "compensation" criteria called Kaldor–Hicks efficiency for welfare comparisons (1939), derived the cobweb model, and argued for certain regularities observable in economic growth, which are called Kaldor's growth laws. Kaldor worked alongside Gunnar Myrdal to develop the key concept Circular Cumulative Causation, a multicausal approach where the core variables and their linkages are delineated. Both Myrdal and Kaldor examine circular relationships, where the interdependencies between factors are relatively strong, and where variables interlink in the determination of major processes. Gunnar Myrdal got the concept from Knut Wicksell and developed it alongside Nicholas Kaldor when they worked together at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Myrdal concentrated on the social provisioning aspect of development, while Kaldor concentrated on demand-supply relationships to the manufacturing sector. Kaldor also coined the term "convenience yield" related to commodity markets and the so-called theory of storage, which was initially developed by Holbrook Working.
The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money of 1936 is a book by English economist John Maynard Keynes. It caused a profound shift in economic thought, giving macroeconomics a central place in economic theory and contributing much of its terminology – the "Keynesian Revolution". It had equally powerful consequences in economic policy, being interpreted as providing theoretical support for government spending in general, and for budgetary deficits, monetary intervention and counter-cyclical policies in particular. It is pervaded with an air of mistrust for the rationality of free-market decision making.
The Employment Act of 1946 ch. 33, section 2, 60 Stat. 23, codified as 15 U.S.C. § 1021, is a United States federal law. Its main purpose was to lay the responsibility of economic stability of inflation and unemployment onto the federal government. The Act stated: it was the "continuing policy and responsibility" of the federal government to:
A liquidity trap is a situation, described in Keynesian economics, in which, "after the rate of interest has fallen to a certain level, liquidity preference may become virtually absolute in the sense that almost everyone prefers holding cash rather than holding a debt which yields so low a rate of interest."
In economics, the Pigou effect is the stimulation of output and employment caused by increasing consumption due to a rise in real balances of wealth, particularly during deflation. The term was named after Arthur Cecil Pigou by Don Patinkin in 1948.
The neoclassical synthesis (NCS), neoclassical–Keynesian synthesis, or just neo-Keynesianism was a post-World War II academic movement and paradigm in economics that worked towards reconciling the macroeconomic thought of John Maynard Keynes with neoclassical economics. Being Keynesian in the short run and neoclassical in the long run, neoclassical synthesis allowed the economy to adjust via fiscal and monetary policies in the short run whilst predicting that equilibrium in the long run will be reached without state intervention. The synthesis, formulated by a group of economists, dominated economics in the post-war period and formed the mainstream of macroeconomic thought in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
New classical macroeconomics, sometimes simply called new classical economics, is a school of thought in macroeconomics that builds its analysis entirely on a neoclassical framework. Specifically, it emphasizes the importance of rigorous foundations based on microeconomics, especially rational expectations.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to economics:
Following the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, there was a worldwide resurgence of interest in Keynesian economics among prominent economists and policy makers. This included discussions and implementation of economic policies in accordance with the recommendations made by John Maynard Keynes in response to the Great Depression of the 1930s, most especially fiscal stimulus and expansionary monetary policy.
The Keynesian Revolution was a fundamental reworking of economic theory concerning the factors determining employment levels in the overall economy. The revolution was set against the then orthodox economic framework, namely neoclassical economics.
Macroeconomic theory has its origins in the study of business cycles and monetary theory. In general, early theorists believed monetary factors could not affect real factors such as real output. John Maynard Keynes attacked some of these "classical" theories and produced a general theory that described the whole economy in terms of aggregates rather than individual, microeconomic parts. Attempting to explain unemployment and recessions, he noticed the tendency for people and businesses to hoard cash and avoid investment during a recession. He argued that this invalidated the assumptions of classical economists who thought that markets always clear, leaving no surplus of goods and no willing labor left idle.
The rapporteurs of the Economic and Financial Group