New classical macroeconomics

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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.

Macroeconomics branch of economics that studies aggregated indicators

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.

Neoclassical economics is an approach to economics focusing on the determination of goods, outputs, and income distributions in markets through supply and demand. This determination is often mediated through a hypothesized maximization of utility by income-constrained individuals and of profits by firms facing production costs and employing available information and factors of production, in accordance with rational choice theory, a theory that has come under considerable question in recent years.

Microeconomics branch of economics that studies the behavior of individual households and firms in making decisions on the allocation of limited resources

Microeconomics is a branch of economics that studies the behaviour of individuals and firms in making decisions regarding the allocation of scarce resources and the interactions among these individuals and firms.

Contents

New classical macroeconomics strives to provide neoclassical microeconomic foundations for macroeconomic analysis. This is in contrast with its rival new Keynesian school that uses microfoundations such as price stickiness and imperfect competition to generate macroeconomic models similar to earlier, Keynesian ones. [1]

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.

In economics, the microfoundations are the microeconomic behavior of individual agents, such as households or firms, that underpins a macroeconomic theory.

In economic theory, imperfect competition is a type of market structure showing some but not all features of competitive markets.

History

Classical economics is the term used for the first modern school of economics. The publication of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations in 1776 is considered to be the birth of the school. Perhaps the central idea behind it is on the ability of the market to be self-correcting as well as being the most superior institution in allocating resources. The central assumption implied is that all individuals maximize their utility.

Classical economics or classical political economy is a school of thought in economics that flourished, primarily in Britain, in the late 18th and early-to-mid 19th century. Its main thinkers are held to be Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, Thomas Robert Malthus, and John Stuart Mill. These economists produced a theory of market economies as largely self-regulating systems, governed by natural laws of production and exchange.

Adam Smith 18th-century Scottish moral philosopher and political economist

Adam Smith was a Scottish economist, philosopher and author as well as a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment, also known as ''The Father of Economics'' or ''The Father of Capitalism''. Smith wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. In his work, Adam Smith introduced his theory of absolute advantage.

<i>The Wealth of Nations</i> 1776 work on economics by Adam Smith

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world's first collected descriptions of what builds nations' wealth, and is today a fundamental work in classical economics. By reflecting upon the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the book touches upon such broad topics as the division of labour, productivity, and free markets.

The so-called marginal revolution that occurred in Europe in the late 19th century, led by Carl Menger, William Stanley Jevons, and Léon Walras, gave rise to what is known as neoclassical economics. This neoclassical formulation had also been formalized by Alfred Marshall. However, it was the general equilibrium of Walras that helped solidify the research in economic science as a mathematical and deductive enterprise, the essence of which is still neoclassical and makes up what is currently found in mainstream economics textbooks to this day.

Carl Menger founder of the Austrian School of economics

Carl Menger was an Austrian economist and the founder of the Austrian School of economics. Menger contributed to the development of the theory of marginalism, which rejected the cost-of-production theories of value, such as were developed by the classical economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo. As a departure from such, he would go on to call his resultant perspective, the “Subjective Theory of Value”.

William Stanley Jevons English economist and logician

William Stanley Jevons FRS was an English economist and logician.

Léon Walras French mathematical economist

Marie-Esprit-Léon Walras was a French mathematical economist and Georgist. He formulated the marginal theory of value and pioneered the development of general equilibrium theory.

The neoclassical school dominated the field up until the Great Depression of the 1930s. Then, however, with the publication of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes in 1936, [2] certain neoclassical assumptions were rejected. Keynes proposed an aggregated framework to explain macroeconomic behavior, leading thus to the current distinction between micro- and macroeconomics. Of particular importance in Keynes' theories was his explanation of economic behavior as also being led by "animal spirits". In this sense, it limited the role for the so-called rational (maximizing) agent.

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries, it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

<i>The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money</i> book by John Maynard Keynes

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money of 1936 is the last and most important book by the English economist John Maynard Keynes. It created 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.

John Maynard Keynes English economist

John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, was a British economist, trained mathematician, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. He built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. Widely considered the founder of modern macroeconomics, his ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots.

The Post-World War II period saw the widespread implementation of Keynesian economic policy in the United States and Western European countries. Its dominance in the field by the 1970s was best reflected by the controversial statement attributed to US President Richard Nixon and economist Milton Friedman: "We are all Keynesians now".

Richard Nixon 37th president of the United States

Richard Milhous Nixon was an American politician who served as the 37th president of the United States from 1969 until his resignation in 1974. The only president to resign from the office, he previously served as the nation's 36th vice president from 1953 to 1961, and as a representative and senator from California.

Milton Friedman American economist, statistician, and writer

Milton Friedman was an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy. With George Stigler and others, Friedman was among the intellectual leaders of the second generation of Chicago school of economics, a methodological movement at the University of Chicago's Department of Economics, Law School and Graduate School of Business from the 1940s onward. Several students and young professors who were recruited or mentored by Friedman at Chicago went on to become leading economists, including Gary Becker, Robert Fogel, Thomas Sowell and Robert Lucas Jr.

"We are all Keynesians now" is a famous phrase coined by Milton Friedman and attributed to U.S. president Richard Nixon. It is popularly associated with the reluctant embrace in a time of financial crisis of Keynesian economics by individuals such as Nixon who had formerly favored less interventionist policies.

Problems arose during the 1973–75 recession triggered by the 1973 oil crisis. Keynesian policy responses did not reduce unemployment, instead leading to a period of high inflation and stagnant economic growth—stagflation. Keynesians were puzzled by the outbreak of stagflation because the original Phillips curve ruled out concurrent high inflation and high unemployment.

Emergence in response to stagflation

The New Classical school emerged in the 1970s as a response to the failure of Keynesian economics to explain stagflation. New Classical and monetarist criticisms led by Robert Lucas, Jr. and Milton Friedman respectively forced the rethinking of Keynesian economics. In particular, Lucas made the Lucas critique that cast doubt on the Keynesian model. This strengthened the case for macro models to be based on microeconomics.

After the 1970s and the apparent failure of Keynesian economics, the New Classical school for a while became the dominant school in Macroeconomics.

Analytic method

The new classical perspective takes root in three diagnostic sources of fluctuations in growth: the productivity wedge, the capital wedge, and the labor wedge. Through the neoclassical perspective and business cycle accounting one can look at the diagnostics and find the main ‘culprits’ for fluctuations in the real economy.

Foundation and assumptions

New classical economics is based on Walrasian assumptions. All agents are assumed to maximize utility on the basis of rational expectations. At any one time, the economy is assumed to have a unique equilibrium at full employment or potential output achieved through price and wage adjustment. In other words, the market clears at all times.

New classical economics has also pioneered the use of representative agent models. Such models have received severe neoclassical criticism, pointing to the disjuncture between microeconomic behavior and macroeconomic results, as indicated by Alan Kirman. [3]

The concept of rational expectations was originally used by John Muth, [4] and was popularized by Lucas. [5] One of the most famous new classical models is the real business cycle model, developed by Edward C. Prescott and Finn E. Kydland.

Legacy

It turned out that pure new classical models had low explanatory and predictive power. The models could not simultaneously explain both the duration and magnitude of actual cycles. Additionally, the model's key result that only unexpected changes in money can affect the business cycle and unemployment did not stand empirical tests. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

The mainstream turned to the new neoclassical synthesis. Most economists, even most new classical economists, accepted the new Keynesian notion that for several reasons wages and prices do not move quickly and smoothly to the values needed for long-run equilibrium between quantities supplied and demanded. Therefore, they also accept the monetarist and new Keynesian view that monetary policy can have a considerable effect in the short run. [11] The new classical macroeconomics contributed the rational expectations hypothesis and the idea of intertemporal optimisation to new Keynesian economics and the new neoclassical synthesis. [6]

Peter Galbács [12] thinks that critics have a superficial and incomplete understanding of the new classical macroeconomics. He argues that one should not forget the conditional character of the new classical doctrines. If prices are completely flexible and if public expectations are completely rational and if real economic shocks are white noises, monetary policy cannot affect unemployment or production and any intention to control the real economy ends up only in a change in the rate of inflation. However, and this is the point, if any of these conditions does not hold, monetary policy can be effective again. So, if any of the conditions necessary for the equivalence does not hold, countercyclical fiscal policy can be effective. Controlling the real economy is possible perhaps in a Keynesian style if government regains its potential to exert this control. Therefore, actually, new classical macroeconomics highlights the conditions under which economic policy can be effective and not the predestined inefficiency of economic policy. Countercyclical aspirations need not to be abandoned, only the playing-field of economic policy got narrowed by new classicals. While Keynes urged active countercyclical efforts of fiscal policy, these efforts are not predestined to fail not even in the new classical theory, only the conditions necessary for the efficiency of countercyclical efforts were specified by new classicals.

Real business cycle theorist Bernd Lucke calls the new classical macroeconomics model the ″caricature of an economy" because its underlying assumptions exclude any non-rational behaviour or the possibility of market failure, prices are always fully flexible, and the market is always in economic equilibrium. The current mission of the new classical macroeconomics is to find out to which extent this caricature of an economy already has enough predictive power to explain business cycles. [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

Keynesian economics is a group of 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, named for British economist John Maynard Keynes, 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.

This aims to be a complete article list of economics topics:

Robert Emerson Lucas Jr. is an American economist at the University of Chicago, where he is currently the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Economics and the College. Widely regarded as the central figure in the development of the new classical approach to macroeconomics, he received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1995 "for having developed and applied the hypothesis of rational expectations, and thereby having transformed macroeconomic analysis and deepened our understanding of economic policy". He has been characterized by N. Gregory Mankiw as "the most influential macroeconomist of the last quarter of the 20th century."

Neo-Keynesian economics is a school of macroeconomic thought that was developed in the post-war period from the writings of John Maynard Keynes. A group of economists, attempted to interpret and formalize Keynes' writings and to synthesize it with the neo-classical models of economics. Their work has become known as the neo-classical synthesis and created the models that formed the core ideas of neo-Keynesian economics. These ideas dominated mainstream economics in the post-war period and formed the mainstream of macroeconomic thought in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

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of a country or a region. These models are usually designed to examine the comparative statics and dynamics of aggregate quantities such as the total amount of goods and services produced, total income earned, the level of employment of productive resources, and the level of prices.

Neutrality of money is the idea that a change in the stock of money affects only nominal variables in the economy such as prices, wages, and exchange rates, with no effect on real variables, like employment, real GDP, and real consumption. Neutrality of money is an important idea in classical economics and is related to the classical dichotomy. It implies that the central bank does not affect the real economy by creating money. Instead, any increase in the supply of money would be offset by a proportional rise in prices and wages. This assumption underlies some mainstream macroeconomic models. Others like monetarism view money as being neutral only in the long-run.

Edmund Phelps American economist

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The policy-ineffectiveness proposition (PIP) is a new classical theory proposed in 1975 by Thomas J. Sargent and Neil Wallace based upon the theory of rational expectations, which posits that monetary policy cannot systematically manage the levels of output and employment in the economy.

In macroeconomics, the classical dichotomy is the idea, attributed to classical and pre-Keynesian economics, that real and nominal variables can be analyzed separately. To be precise, an economy exhibits the classical dichotomy if real variables such as output and real interest rates can be completely analyzed without considering what is happening to their nominal counterparts, the money value of output and the interest rate. In particular, this means that real GDP and other real variables can be determined without knowing the level of the nominal money supply or the rate of inflation. An economy exhibits the classical dichotomy if money is neutral, affecting only the price level, not real variables.

In economics the long run is a theoretical concept in which all markets are in equilibrium, and all prices and quantities have fully adjusted and are in equilibrium. The long run contrasts with the short run, in which there are some constraints and markets are not fully in equilibrium.

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Involuntary unemployment occurs when a person is willing to work at the prevailing wage yet is unemployed. Involuntary unemployment is distinguished from voluntary unemployment, where workers choose not to work because their reservation wage is higher than the prevailing wage. In an economy with involuntary unemployment there is a surplus of labor at the current real wage. This occurs when there is some force that prevents the real wage rate from decreasing to the real wage rate that would equilibrate supply and demand. Structural unemployment is also involuntary.

Outline of economics Overview of and topical guide to economics

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to economics:

History of macroeconomic thought

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 new neoclassical synthesis (NNS) or new synthesis is the fusion of the major, modern macroeconomic schools of thought, new classical and New-Keynesianism, into a consensus on the best way to explain short-run fluctuations in the economy. This new synthesis is analogous to the neoclassical synthesis that combined neoclassical economics with Keynesian macroeconomics. The new synthesis provides the theoretical foundation for much of contemporary mainstream economics. It is an important part of the theoretical foundation for the work done by the Federal Reserve and many other central banks.

Inframarginal analysis is an analytical method in the study of classical economics. Xiaokai Yang created the super marginal analysis method and revived the important thought of division of labour of Adam Smith. The new classical economics reconstructs several independent economic theories with the core of neoclassical economics from the perspective of endogenous individual choice specialization level by means of inframarginal analysis, which is the frontier subject of economics development.

References

  1. Chapter 1. Snowdon, Brian and Vane, Howard R., (2005). Modern Macroeconomics: Its Origin, Development and Current State. Edward Elgar Publishing, ISBN   1-84542-208-2
  2. Skidelsky, Robert (1996). "The Influence of the Great Depression on Keynes's General Theory" (PDF). History of Economics Review . 25 (1): 78–87. doi:10.1080/10370196.1996.11733219.
  3. Kirman, Alan P. (1992). "Whom or What does the Representative Individual Represent?". Journal of Economic Perspectives. 6 (2): 117–136. doi:10.1257/jep.6.2.117. JSTOR   2138411.
  4. Muth, John F. (1961). "Rational Expectations and the Theory of Price Movements". Econometrica . 29 (3): 315–335. doi:10.2307/1909635. JSTOR   1909635.
  5. Lucas, Robert E. (1972). "Expectations and the Neutrality of Money". Journal of Economic Theory . 4 (2): 103–124. CiteSeerX   10.1.1.592.6178 . doi:10.1016/0022-0531(72)90142-1.
  6. 1 2 Snowdon, Brian (Fall 2007). "The New Classical Counter-Revolution: False Path or Illuminating Complement?". Eastern Economic Journal. 33 (4): 541–562. doi:10.1057/eej.2007.40. JSTOR   20642377.
  7. Gilbert, Evan; Michie, Jonathan (1997). "New Classical Macroeconomic Theory and Fiscal Rules: Some Methodological Problems". Contributions to Political Economy. 16 (1): 1–21. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.cpe.a014051.
  8. Greenwald, Bruce C.; Stiglitz, Joseph E. (1987). "Keynesian, New Keynesian, and New Classical Economics". Oxford Economic Papers. 39 (1): 119–133. CiteSeerX   10.1.1.692.8775 . doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.oep.a041773.
  9. Mark Thoma, New Classical, New Keynesian, and Real Business Cycle Models, Economist's View
  10. Seidman, Laurence (Fall 2007). "Reply to: "The New Classical Counter-Revolution: False Path or Illuminating Complement?"". Eastern Economic Journal. 33 (4): 563–565. doi:10.1057/eej.2007.41. JSTOR   20642378.
  11. Kevin Hoover (2008). "New Classical Macroeconomics", econlib.org
  12. Galbács, Peter (2015). The Theory of New Classical Macroeconomics. A Positive Critique. Contributions to Economics. Heidelberg/New York/Dordrecht/London: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-17578-2. ISBN   978-3-319-17578-2.
  13. University of Hamburg, Bernd Lucke, Die Real-Business-Cycle Theorie und ihre Relevanz für die Konjunkturanalyse

Further reading