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The economic policy of governments covers the systems for setting levels of taxation, government budgets, the money supply and interest rates as well as the labour market, national ownership, and many other areas of government interventions into the economy.
Most factors of economic policy can be divided into either fiscal policy, which deals with government actions regarding taxation and spending, or monetary policy, which deals with central banking actions regarding the money supply and interest rates.
Such policies are often influenced by international institutions like the International Monetary Fund or World Bank as well as political beliefs and the consequent policies of parties.
Almost every aspect of government has an important economic component. A few examples of the kinds of economic policies that exist include:
Stabilization policy attempts to stimulate an economy out of recession or constrain the money supply to prevent excessive inflation.
Policy is generally directed to achieve particular objectives, like targets for inflation, unemployment, or economic growth. Sometimes other objectives, like military spending or nationalization are important.
These are referred to as the policy goals: the outcomes which the economic policy aims to achieve.
To achieve these goals, governments use policy tools which are under the control of the government. These generally include the interest rate and money supply, tax and government spending, tariffs, exchange rates, labor market regulations, and many other aspects of government.
Government and central banks are limited in the number of goals they can achieve in the short term. For instance, there may be pressure on the government to reduce inflation, reduce unemployment, and reduce interest rates while maintaining currency stability. If all of these are selected as goals for the short term, then policy is likely to be incoherent, because a normal consequence of reducing inflation and maintaining currency stability is increasing unemployment and increasing interest rates.
This dilemma can in part be resolved by using microeconomic supply-side policy to help adjust markets. For instance, unemployment could potentially be reduced by altering laws relating to trade unions or unemployment insurance, as well as by macroeconomic (demand-side) factors like interest rates.
For much of the 20th century, governments adopted discretionary policies like demand management designed to correct the business cycle. These typically used fiscal and monetary policy to adjust inflation, output and unemployment.
However, following the stagflation of the 1970s, policymakers began to be attracted to policy rules.
A discretionary policy is supported because it allows policymakers to respond quickly to events. However, discretionary policy can be subject to dynamic inconsistency: a government may say it intends to raise interest rates indefinitely to bring inflation under control, but then relax its stance later. This makes policy non-credible and ultimately ineffective.
A rule-based policy can be more credible, because it is more transparent and easier to anticipate. Examples of rule-based policies are fixed exchange rates, interest rate rules, the stability and growth pact and the Golden Rule. Some policy rules can be imposed by external bodies, for instance the Exchange Rate Mechanism for currency.
A compromise between strict discretionary and strict rule-based policy is to grant discretionary power to an independent body. For instance, the Federal Reserve Bank, European Central Bank, Bank of England and Reserve Bank of Australia all set interest rates without government interference, but do not adopt rules.
Another type of non-discretionary policy is a set of policies which are imposed by an international body. This can occur (for example) as a result of intervention by the International Monetary Fund.
The first economic problem was how to gain the resources it needed to be able to perform the functions of an early government: the military, roads and other projects like building the Pyramids.
Early governments generally relied on tax in kind and forced labor for their economic resources. However, with the development of money came the first policy choice. A government could raise money through taxing its citizens. However, it could now also debase the coinage and so increase the money supply.
Early civilizations also made decisions about whether to permit and how to tax trade. Some early civilizations, such as Ptolemaic Egypt adopted a closed currency policy whereby foreign merchants had to exchange their coin for local money. This effectively levied a very high tariff on foreign trade.
By the early modern age, more policy choices had been developed. There was considerable debate about mercantilism and other restrictive trade practices like the Navigation Acts, as trade policy became associated with both national wealth and with foreign and colonial policy.
Throughout the 19th Century, monetary standards became an important issue. Gold and silver were in supply in different proportions. Which metal was adopted influenced the wealth of different groups in society.
With the accumulation of private capital in the Renaissance, states developed methods of financing deficits without debasing their coin. The development of capital markets meant that a government could borrow money to finance war or expansion while causing less economic hardship.
This was the beginning of modern fiscal policy.
The same markets made it easy for private entities to raise bonds or sell stock to fund private initiatives.
The business cycle became a predominant issue in the 19th century, as it became clear that industrial output, employment, and profit behaved in a cyclical manner. One of the first proposed policy solutions to the problem came with the work of Keynes, who proposed that fiscal policy could be used actively to ward off depressions, recessions and slumps. The Austrian School of economics argues that central banks create the business cycle. After the dominance of monetarismryand neoclassical thought that advised limiting the role of government in the economy in the second half of the twentieth century, the interventionist view has once more dominated the economic policy debate in response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis ,
A recent trend originating from medicine is to justify economic policy decisions with best available evidence.While the previous approaches have been focused on macroeconomic policymaking aimed at sustaining promoting economic development and counteracting recessions, EBP is oriented towards all types of decisions concerned not only with anti-cyclical development but primarily with the growth-promoting policies. To gather evidence for such decisions, economists conduct randomized field experiments. The work of Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer, the 2019 Noble Prize laureates exemplifies the gold type of evidence. However, the emphasis put on experimental evidence by the movement of evidence-based policy (and evidence-based medicine) results from the narrowly construed notion of intervention, which encompasses only policy decisions concerned with policymaking aimed at modifying causes to influence effects. In contrast to this idealized view of evidence-based policy movement, economic policymaking is a broader term that includes also institutional reforms and actions that do not require causal claims to be neutral under interventions. Such policy decisions can be grounded in, respectively, mechanistic evidence and correlational (econometric) studies.
Keynesian economics are various macroeconomic theories about how, in the short run – and especially during recessions – economic output is strongly influenced by aggregate demand. 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 and sometimes behaves 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. This includes regional, national, and global economies. Macroeconomists study topics such as GDP, unemployment rates, national income, price indices, output, consumption, unemployment, inflation, saving, investment, energy, international trade, and international finance.
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.
In economics, inflation is a sustained increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation reflects a reduction in the purchasing power per unit of money – a loss of real value in the medium of exchange and unit of account within the economy. The opposite of inflation is deflation, a sustained decrease in the general price level of goods and services. The common measure of inflation is the inflation rate, the annualized percentage change in a general price index, usually the consumer price index, over time.
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.
New Keynesian economics is a school of contemporary 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.
This aims to be a complete article list of economics topics:
In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government revenue collection and expenditure (spending) 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.
Deficit spending is the amount by which spending exceeds revenue over a particular period of time, also called simply deficit, or budget deficit; the opposite of budget surplus. The term may be applied to the budget of a government, private company, or individual. Government deficit spending is a central point of controversy in economics, as discussed below.
Monetary policy is policy adopted by the monetary authority of a nation to control either the interest rate payable for very short-term borrowing or the money supply, often as an attempt to reduce inflation or the interest rate to ensure price stability and general trust of the value and stability of the nation's currency.
Money creation, or money issuance, is the process by which the money supply of a country, or of an economic or monetary region, is increased. In most modern economies, most of the money supply is in the form of bank deposits. Central banks monitor the amount of money in the economy by measuring the so-called monetary aggregates.
The Argentine Currency Board pegged the Argentine peso to the U.S. dollar between 1991 and 2002 in an attempt to eliminate hyperinflation and stimulate economic growth. While it initially met with considerable success, the board's actions ultimately failed. In contrast to what most people think, this peg actually did not exist, except only in the first years of the plan. From then on, the government never needed to use the foreign exchange reserves of the country in the maintenance of the peg, except when the recession and the massive bank withdrawals started in 2000.
Modern Monetary Theory or Modern Money Theory (MMT) is a heterodox macroeconomic theory that describes currency as a public monopoly and unemployment as evidence that a currency monopolist is overly restricting the supply of the financial assets needed to pay taxes and satisfy savings desires.
Advanced Placement Macroeconomics is an Advanced Placement macroeconomics course for high school students culminating in an exam offered by the College Board.
The policy mix is the combination of a country's monetary policy and fiscal policy. These two channels influence growth and employment, and are generally determined by the central bank and the government respectively.
Inflationism is a heterodox economic, fiscal, or monetary policy, that predicts that a substantial level of inflation is harmless, desirable or even advantageous. Similarly, inflationist economists advocate for an inflationist policy.
Inflationary bias is the outcome of discretionary monetary policy that leads to a higher than optimal level of inflation. Depending on the way expectations are formed in the private sector of the economy, there may or may not be a transitory income increase. The term may also refer to the practice of a public debt-ridden nation enacting policies which encourage inflation in the medium/long term.
Fiscal policy and monetary policy are the two tools used by the state to achieve its macroeconomic objectives. While for many countries the main objective of fiscal policy is to increase the aggregate output of the economy, the main objective of the monetary policies is to control the interest and inflation rates. The IS/LM model is one of the models used to depict the effect of policy interactions on aggregate output and interest rates. The fiscal policies have a direct impact on the goods market and the monetary policies have a direct impact on the asset markets; since the two markets are connected to each other via the two macrovariables output and interest rates, the policies interact while influencing output and interest rates.
David I. Meiselman was an American economist. Among his contributions to the field of economics are his work on the term structure of interest rates, the foundation today of the implementation of monetary policy by major central banks, and his work with Milton Friedman on the impact of monetary policy on the performance of the economy and inflation.
This glossary of economics is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in economics, its sub-disciplines, and related fields.
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