Levy Institute Publications
Strategic Analysis, June 2021 | June 2021 | Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Michalis Nikiforos, Gennaro ZezzaIn this report, Institute President Dimitri B. Papadimitriou and Research Scholars Michalis Nikiforos and Gennaro Zezza analyze how the US economy was affected by the pandemic and its prospects for recovery.
Their baseline simulation using the Institute’s stock-flow macroeconometric model shows a significant pickup in the growth rate in 2021 as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act. The report includes two additional scenarios simulated on top of the baseline, finding that President Biden’s infrastructure and families plans—whether paired with offsetting tax increases on high-earners or “deficit financed”—would have positive macroeconomic effects. Additionally, Papadimitriou, Nikiforos, and Zezza warn that if US policymakers do not prioritize decreasing the trade deficit, maintaining growth will require either continuous and very high government deficits or the private sector once again becoming a net borrower.
Finally, they argue that concerns about a sharp increase in inflation spurred by the fiscal stimulus are unwarranted: the US economy was not close to full employment or full utilization of resources before the pandemic, and the propagation mechanisms that could lead to accelerating inflation are not in place.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Strategic Analysis, May 2021 | May 2021 | Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Christos Pierros, Nikolaos Rodousakis, Gennaro ZezzaThe Greek economy—still fragile due to the lingering effects of the 2009–10 crisis—was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Greece’s 2020 GDP decline was one of the worst among the group of EU and eurozone member states, along with the highest levels of unemployment and underemployment.
Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, Christos Pierros, Nikos Rodousakis, and Gennaro Zezza update their analysis of the state of the Greek economy on the basis of recently released provisional data for 2020Q4, and model three projections through 2023: (1) a baseline scenario in which no agreement is reached on the disbursement of EU funds (the Recovery and Resilience Facility); (2) a scenario in which EU grants and loans are distributed in a timely manner; and (3) an additional scenario that pairs EU funds with implementation of an employer-of-last resort program. The second scenario would see Greece’s GDP growth return to its pre-pandemic trend—albeit still leaving the economy below the level of real GDP it reached in 2008. The third scenario has the most favorable impact on growth and employment—raising real GDP above its pre-pandemic trend. Failure to achieve a proper recovery of GDP in Greece would be directly related to an absence of fiscal policy expansion.
This Strategic Analysis is the joint product of the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College and INE-GSEE (Athens, Greece). It is simultaneously issued in both English and Greek.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 154, 2021 | February 2021 | Jan Kregel
Let Us Look Seriously at the Clearing UnionThis policy brief explores a route to remaking the international financial system that would avoid the contradictions inherent in some of the prevailing reform proposals currently under discussion. Senior Scholar Jan Kregel argues that the willingness of central banks to consider electronic currency provides an opening to reconsider a truly innovative reform of the international financial system, and one that is more appropriate to a digital monetary world: John Maynard Keynes’s original clearing union proposal.
Kregel investigates whether such a clearing system could be built up from an already-existing initiative that has emerged in the private sector. He analyzes the operations of a private, cross-border payment system that could serve as a real-world blueprint for a more politically palatable equivalent of Keynes’s international clearing union.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 153, 2020 | September 2020 | Luiza Nassif Pires, Laura Carvalho, Eduardo RawetAfter spending over 6 percent of GDP responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Brazil has suffered among the worst per capita numbers in the world in terms of cases and deaths. In this policy brief, Luiza Nassif-Pires, Laura Carvalho, and Eduardo Rawet explore how stark inequalities along racial, regional, and class lines can help account for why the pandemic has had such a damaging impact on Brazil. Although they find that fiscal policy measures have so far neutralized the impact of the crisis with respect to income inequality, the existence of structural inequalities along racial lines in particular have resulted in an unequally shared public health burden. Broader policy changes are necessary for addressing dimensions of inequality that are rooted in structural racism.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Luiza Nassif Pires Laura Carvalho Eduardo RawetRelated Topic(s):
Policy Note 2021/3 | June 2021 | Edward Lane, L. Randall WrayEdward Lane and L. Randall Wray explain how federal taxes on corporate profits are not well suited to either containing inflationary pressures or reducing inequality. They are not only a poor complement to President Biden’s proposed infrastructure plans, but are inefficient and ineffective taxes more broadly, according to Lane and Wray. The authors follow Hyman Minsky in recommending the elimination of corporate taxes, and they outline a replacement centered on the taxation of unrealized capital gains.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Edward Lane L. Randall WrayRelated Topic(s):
Policy Note 2021/2 | May 2021 | Luiza Nassif Pires, Luísa Cardoso, Ana Luíza Matos de Oliveira
The Impact of the Emergency Benefit on Poverty and Extreme Poverty in BrazilResearch Scholar Luiza Nassif-Pires, Luísa Cardoso, and Ana Luíza Matos de Oliveira analyze the importance of the “emergency benefit” (Auxílio Emergencial) in containing the increase in poverty and extreme poverty in Brazil during the COVID-19 pandemic. They find the emergency benefit mitigated the loss of income, brought the poverty rate to historically low levels, and reduced inequality: poverty gaps in terms of gender and (to a lesser degree) race narrowed in 2020. However, their simulations show that a planned reduction in transfer levels for 2021 will result in the emergency benefit providing substantially less social protection against loss of income than its more robust 2020 version.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Luiza Nassif Pires Luísa Cardoso Ana Luíza Matos de OliveiraRelated Topic(s):
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 DebtOn November 20, 2019, Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray testified before the House Committee on the Budget on the topic of reexamining the economic costs of debt:
"In recent months a new approach to national government budgets, deficits, and debts—Modern Money Theory (MMT)—has been the subject of discussion and controversy. [. . .]
In this testimony I do not want to rehash the theoretical foundations of MMT. Instead I will highlight empirical facts with the goal of explaining the causes and consequences of the intransigent federal budget deficits and the growing national government debt. I hope that developing an understanding of the dynamics involved will make the topic of deficits and debt less daunting. I will conclude by summarizing the MMT views on this topic, hoping to set the record straight."
Update 1/7/2020: In an appendix, L. Randall Wray responds to a Question for the Record submitted by Rep. Ilhan OmarDownload:Associated Program(s):Author(s):L. Randall Wray Yeva NersisyanRelated Topic(s):
Research Project Report, April 2018 | April 2018 | L. Randall Wray, Flavia Dantas, Scott Fullwiler, Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Stephanie A. Kelton
A Path to Full EmploymentDespite reports of a healthy US labor market, millions of Americans remain unemployed and underemployed, or have simply given up looking for work. It is a problem that plagues our economy in good times and in bad—there are never enough jobs available for all who want to work. L. Randall Wray, Flavia Dantas, Scott Fullwiler, Pavlina R. Tcherneva, and Stephanie A. Kelton examine the impact of a new “job guarantee” proposal that would seek to eliminate involuntary unemployment by directly creating jobs in the communities where they are needed.
The authors propose the creation of a Public Service Employment (PSE) program that would offer a job at a living wage to all who are ready and willing to work. Federally funded but with a decentralized administration, the PSE program would pay $15 per hour and offer a basic package of benefits. This report simulates the economic impact over a ten-year period of implementing the PSE program beginning in 2018Q1.
Unemployment, hidden and official, with all of its attendant social harms, is a policy choice. The results in this report lend more weight to the argument that it is a policy choice we need no longer tolerate. True full employment is both achievable and sustainable.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Research Project Report, September 2019 | September 2019 | Ajit Zacharias, Thomas Masterson, Fernando Rios-Avila, Michalis Nikiforos, Kijong Kim, Tamar Khitarishvili
A Macro-Micro Policy Model for Ghana and TanzaniaFeminist economics has long emphasized the role of physical and social infrastructure as determinants of the time women spend on household production (the provision of unpaid domestic services and care). Surprisingly, there is a lack of studies that directly investigate how infrastructure improvements affect the time spent on household production and commuting to work, which is another important unpaid activity for most employed individuals. We attempt to fill the lacunae in the research by studying this issue in the context of Ghana and Tanzania utilizing the framework of the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty. Separately, while there are several studies (including those done previously at the Levy Institute) on the macroeconomic impacts of government expenditures on care, these assessments tend to be based primarily on employment multipliers along with simple macroeconomic assumptions. We develop a disaggregated and fully articulated macroeconomic model based on the social accounting matrices for the two countries to take account of the intersectoral linkages and external constraints, such as balance of payments, that are particularly important for many developing nations, including Ghana and Tanzania. The macro- and microeconomic aspects are integrated in a unified analytical framework via a top-down disaggregated macroeconomic model with microsimulation that is novel in that it enables the investigation of the gendered economic processes and outcomes at the macroeconomic and microeconomic levels.
Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Ajit Zacharias Thomas Masterson Fernando Rios-Avila Michalis Nikiforos Kijong Kim Tamar KhitarishviliRelated Topic(s):
Research Project Report, February 2018 | February 2018 | Scott Fullwiler, Stephanie A. Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, Marshall SteinbaumAmong the more ambitious policies that have been proposed to address the problem of escalating student loan debt are various forms of debt cancellation. In this report, Scott Fullwiler, Research Associate Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, and Marshall Steinbaum examine the likely macroeconomic impacts of a one-time, federally funded cancellation of all outstanding student debt.
The report analyzes households’ mounting reliance on debt to finance higher education, including the distributive implications of student debt and debt cancellation; describes the financial mechanics required to carry out the cancellation of debt held by the Department of Education (which makes up the vast majority of student loans outstanding) as well as privately owned student debt; and uses two macroeconometric models to provide a plausible range for the likely impacts of student debt cancellation on key economic variables over a 10-year horizon.
The authors find that cancellation would have a meaningful stimulus effect, characterized by greater economic activity as measured by GDP and employment, with only moderate effects on the federal budget deficit, interest rates, and inflation (while state budgets improve). These results suggest that policies like student debt cancellation can be a viable part of a needed reorientation of US higher education policy.
Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Scott Fullwiler Stephanie A. Kelton Catherine Ruetschlin Marshall SteinbaumRelated Topic(s):
One-Pager No. 67 | June 2021 | Edward Lane, L. Randall WrayPresident Biden has proposed pairing his American Jobs Plan with an increase in federal corporate income taxes. Leaving aside the issue of whether any tax increases are needed to “pay for” the plan, Edward Lane and L. Randall Wray assess the proposed corporate profits tax hike in terms of its ability to meet two objectives: (1) fighting potential inflation that might result from the new Jobs Plan (and all the other relief and stimulus plans enacted), and (2) taxing the rich to reduce inequality. They argue the federal corporate income tax is far less effective at combating inflation and inequality than what many might think, and propose replacing corporate taxation with taxes on individuals that would ensure the burden is mostly imposed on high earners.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Edward Lane L. Randall WrayRelated Topic(s):
One-Pager No. 66 | April 2021 | Frank VenerosoAccording to Frank Veneroso, a broad subset of today’s US stock market has become what he calls a “pure price-chasing bubble.” Examination of the history of comparable pure price-chasing bubbles shows there has been a set of key causal factors that contributed to these rare market events. The most extreme such case was an over-the-counter market in Kuwait called the “Souk al-Manakh.” This exemplar of a pure price-chasing phenomenon may shed light—albeit unflattering—on the current US equity market, Veneroso contends.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Frank VenerosoRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 989 | June 2021 | Michalis NikiforosThe paper provides an empirical discussion of the national emergency utilization rate (NEUR), which is based on a “national emergency” definition of potential output and is published by the US Census Bureau. Over the peak-to-peak period 1989–2019, the NEUR decreased by 14.2 percent. The paper examines the trajectory of potential determinants of capacity utilization over the same period as specified in the related theory, namely: capital intensity, relative prices of labor and capital, shift differentials, rhythmic variations in demand, industry concentration, and aggregate demand. It shows that most of them have moved in a direction that would lead to an increase in utilization. The main factor that can explain the decrease in the NEUR is aggregate demand, while the increase in industry concentration might have also played a small role.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 988 | June 2021 | Tanweer AkramThere are several widely used benchmark models of the long-term interest rate in quantitative finance. However, these models have yet to incorporate Keynes’s valuable insights about interest rate dynamics. The Keynesian approach to interest rate dynamics can be readily incorporated in the benchmark models of the long-term interest rate. This paper modifies several benchmark interest rate models. In these modified models the long-term interest rate is related to the short-term interest rate and a Wiener process. The Keynesian approach to interest rate dynamics can be useful in addressing theoretical and policy issues.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Tanweer AkramRelated Topic(s):
Volume 30, No. 2 | May 2021 | Elizabeth Dunn, Michael StephensA trio of publications in this Summary explores how the plumbing of an existing cross-border payment system associated with a private company provides the operational blueprints for a potential revival of John Maynard Keynes’s international clearing union proposal, and how the willingness of central banks to consider electronic currency provides an opening to reconsider this reform. Working papers in this issue argue that once we understand the purposes and incidence of corporate taxation, it is revealed to be a particularly inefficient tax; explain that while Japan, which is occasionally held up as a poster child for Modern Money Theory (MMT), helps demonstrates some of the errors of mainstream thinking concerning sovereign budgeting, policy-wise the country has not been in line with MMT prescriptions; investigate the impact of pandemic-associated daycare closures on the time parents of young children dedicate to caregiving in Turkey; apply Hyman Minsky’s work on public employment programs to demonstrate how jobs that generate socially useful output can help us face today’s challenges and create a greener tomorrow; analyze factors that may explain the gendered differences in household production burdens to identify where policy can help achieve a more egalitarian distribution and reduce women’s time poverty; review three strands of literature on the Palestinian labor market over the past three decades, illustrating how the ongoing conflict in the region impacts decisions around education and employment; build stock-flow consistent (SFC) models for Latin American economies to demonstrate the balance sheet effects of currency depreciation and test the impact of alternative policy scenarios; reflect on Keynes’s writings on the state theory of money, financial markets, and uncertainty; and consider the empirics of long-term bond yields in Mexico.
Program: The State of the US and World Economies
LORENZO NALIN and GIULIANO TOSHIRO YAJIMA, Balance Sheet Effects of a Currency Devaluation: A Stock-Flow Consistent Framework for Mexico
SEBASTIAN VALDECANTOS, Argentina’s (Macroeconomic?) Trap: Some Insights from an Empirical Stock-Flow Consistent Model
Program: Monetary Policy and Financial Structure
JAN KREGEL, Keynes’s Clearing Union Is Alive and Well and Living in Your Mobile Phone
JAN KREGEL, Another Bretton Woods Reform Moment: Let Us Look Seriously at the Clearing Union
L. RANDALL WRAY and YEVA NERSISYAN, Has Japan Been Following Modern Money Theory Without Recognizing It? No! And Yes.
TANWEER AKRAM and SYED AL-HELAL UDDIN, The Empirics of Long-Term Mexican Government Bond Yields
JAN KREGEL, The Economic Problem: From Barter to Commodity Money to Electronic Money
TANWEER AKRAM, A Note Concerning Government Bond Yields
Program: Distribution of Wealth and Income
FERNANDO RIOS-AVILA, ABENA D. ODURO, and LUIZA NASSIF PIRES, Intrahousehold Allocation of Household Production: A Comparative Analysis for Sub-Saharan African Countries
Program: Employment Policy and Labor Markets
DANIEL HAIM, What Jobs Should a Public Job Guarantee Provide? Lessons from Hyman P. Minsky
SAMEH HALLAQ, The Palestinian Labor Market over the Last Three Decades
Program: Gender Equality and the Economy
EMEL MEMIŞ and EBRU KONGAR, Potential Impact of Daycare Closures on Parental Child Caregiving in Turkey
Program: Economic Policy for the 21st Century
EDWARD LANE and L. RANDALL WRAY, Is It Time to Eliminate Federal Corporate Income Taxes?
29th Annual Hyman. P. Minsky ConferenceDownload:Author(s):Elizabeth Dunn Michael Stephens
Book Series, January 2020 | January 2020 | L. Randall Wray
Heterodox Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyA Great Leap Forward: Heterodox Economic Policy for the 21st Century investigates economic policy from a heterodox and progressive perspective. Author Randall Wray uses relatively short chapters arranged around several macroeconomic policy themes to present an integrated survey of progressive policy on topics of interest today that are likely to remain topics of interest for many years.
Published by: Elsevier Press
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From the Press Room
Fed's Evans says he doesn't see labor market overheating
Videos from the 29th Annual Minsky Conference now Available Online
Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray debated the Heritage Foundation's Stephen Moore at an April 22 event sponsored by CFA Society Chicago.
Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray and Yeva Nersisyan pen an April 17 op-ed for The Guardian
Research Scholar Pavlina Tcherneva calls for direct investment in infrastructure and employment to stimulate economic recovery