Archive for March, 2019

Remembering Nina Shapiro

Jan Kregel | March 15, 2019

We are grieved to announce that Nina Shapiro, Professor of Economics Emeritus at St. Peter’s College, passed away on March 6. Nina was one of the first Levy Institute Visiting Scholars and a major contributor to the field of post-Keynesian economics. She passed away last week at the age of 71 from complications due to cancer.

Nina was best known for her work on the post-Keynesian theory of the firm and innovation, as well as the history of economic thought and macroeconomic theory. Her work was rooted in the tradition of Marx, Keynes, Kalecki, and Steindl. She was a deeply creative thinker who connected Marxian and Marshallian ideas on competition with the macroeconomics of Keynes and Steindl. An essay published at the start of her career—“The Revolutionary Character of Post Keynesian Economics” (Journal of Economic Issues, 1977)—made an enduring case for the rejection of scarcity as the basis for economic analysis. She was a founding member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics and at the time of her death was at work on a book on the theory of the firm.

Trained in the nascent political economy doctoral program of The New School for Social Research with Edward Nell, Robert Heilbroner, David Gordon, and Anwar Shaikh, she was a part of the Rutgers University Livingston College program in post-Keynesian Economics along with Paul Davidson, Alfred Eichner, Bruce Steinberg, Lourdes Beneria, Robert Guttmann, Michele Naples, and myself. One of very few women in the field of post-Keynesian economics, she was a brilliant teacher of the history of economic thought and heterodox microeconomics and mentored two generations of Rutgers graduate students in economists, including Fernando Cardim de Carvalho, William Millberg, Andrea Terzi, and Radhika Balakrishnan.


Big Guns Shooting Holes in the Sky

Jörg Bibow | March 12, 2019

The New Keynesian monetary mainstream has brought out the big guns. Paul Krugman, Kenneth Rogoff, and Larry Summers have come out to shoot down the rising star known as “MMT,” which stands for Modern Monetary Theory. For a while, it was academically convenient to withhold paying any public attention that could foster competition in the field. Like other non-mainstream ideas in economics, MMT was simply ignored by our star mainstream economists, who are always ready and keen to lend their wisdom and advice for public action. Now that MMT has reached the public debate through arousing interest among powerful public voices, fostering political debate about available policy options, protecting the mainstream monopoly of opinion has prompted them to take aim at MMT.

The key issues in the battle of ideas between Paul Krugman (New Keynesian monetary mainstream of the IS/LM variety) and Stephanie Kelton (MMT) are out there for everyone to see (see Krugman, Feb. 12th; Kelton, Feb. 21st; Krugman, Feb. 25th; and Kelton, Mar. 4th). It is noteworthy that the two do not seem to be all too far apart regarding their preferred policy agenda. At its core, the controversy really concerns monetary theory – including the question of what kind of money and monetary economy any relevant monetary theory should theorize about. Regarding this particular battle, I will only add that Keynes, in his response to John Hicks’ (1937) IS/LM model interpretation of The General Theory, addressed the very point that Krugman and Kelton strongly disagree on.

In terms of the IS/LM model that Paul Krugman is so very fond of, increased government spending means increased government borrowing pushing against an upward-sloping LM curve that generates a rising interest rate, and hence “crowding out” of private borrowing and spending.

Remember here that the LM curve’s upward slope stems from the assumption of a given money supply apparently controlled by the central bank (Keynes preferred the notion “pool of liquidity” as provided by the banking system). When Hicks highlighted this outcome in his seminal 1937 article, Keynes responded: continue reading…


Join Us for the 28th Annual Hyman P. Minsky Conference

Michael Stephens | March 11, 2019

This year’s Minsky conference will be a one-day affair, featuring keynote speakers that include St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, former PIMCO chief economist Paul McCulley (now Senior Fellow at Cornell Law), and First Vice President of the Minneapolis Fed, Ron Feldman.

The Levy Institute’s Jan Kregel will be discussing reform of the eurozone system; Michalis Nikiforos will be presenting the upcoming strategic analysis for the US economy (using the Institute’s stock-flow model); and L. Randall Wray will be presenting on “Paying for a Green New Deal.”

Financial Stability, Economic Policy, and Economic Nationalism
A conference organized by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York 12504

April 17, 2019

Registration for the conference is now open. The preliminary program is attached below the fold. Further details are available here.

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