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Matias Vernengo

Matias Vernengo

Econ Prof at @BucknellU Co-editor of ROKE & Co-Editor in Chief of the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

Articles by Matias Vernengo

Reflections after a Post Keynesian Workshop

29 days ago

Jessica Finnamore (Guest blogger)Heterodox economics refers to any school of thought which is not accepted by the economic mainstream, or neoclassical economics. Post-Keynesian economics is a heterodox school of thought which believes (amongst other things) in high levels of government intervention, fundamental uncertainty, and that the economy is demand-driven rather than supply-constrained (as neoclassical economics says). Keynes himself was concerned with creating theories which were realistic and was even willing to reject theories he had previously supported if empirical evidence disproved them.Some Post-Keynesian ideas have been adopted into the mainstream; following the 2008 financial crisis, the mainstream had little to no explanation for what had caused the housing market crash

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Reflections after a Post Keynesian Workshop

August 23, 2020

Nicole L. Kormann da Silva (Guest Blogger)I am from Brazil and I did my bachelor’s degree at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. I would say the course there can be relatively multidisciplinary and open to alternative approaches, but macroeconomics was mainly restricted to conventional textbooks and it was only during other classes like Political Economics and Economic Development of Brazil that some insights came across my mind: it was possible – and in fact there was already a structured body of work on it – to perceive economics from another starting point.For me heterodox economics is a pluralist umbrella under which, among other schools, you find Post-Keynesian economics – PKE. I would say heterodox economics give us the possibility to rethink economics in a more realist term and

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World-Systems Analysis in a Critical Juncture

August 23, 2020

The 44th Annual Conference on the Political Economy of the World-System takes place during a critical juncture for both the field of world-systems analysis and for the world-system itself. The first four sessions of the conference bring together papers that reconstruct the theoretical and methodological lineages of world-systems analysis by recuperating neglected foundational texts and by putting the world-systems perspective into dialogue with other critical approaches in the social sciences. The next four sessions deploy tools provided by a world-systems perspective to analyze the multiple intertwined social, political, and economic challenges of the current juncture, illuminating the global crisis and unfolding systemic chaos.For registration and the program go here.

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Reflections after the Post Keynesian Economics Workshop

August 22, 2020

By Santiago Graña Colella (Guest blogger)During my bachelor’s degree, I have little access to heterodox literature. What is worst, in most subjects, it was explained that the economy works in a particular fashion everywhere and every time, but without stating that this way was one interpretation of the economy, particularly the neoclassical interpretation. Consequently, most students do not know many alternatives to the economic theory thought to them and after five years (in Latin America) end up thinking that the economy works as in a neoclassical world and that any attempts of applying alternative economic policy it is following an ideological foundation. In this sense, I think it is important to promote heterodox ideas, because it allows critical students to know which schools of

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Mainstream Economics/Sold Out?

August 22, 2020

I recently taught a short workshop (online) on Post Keynesian Economics (PKE) for Summer Academy for Pluralist Economics. I basically discussed the definitions of heterodox and Post Keynesian economics, and some critical issues in the theory of output, employment, money and inflation, and income distribution and growth. Students were from several countries, backgrounds, disciplinary fields and stages in their academic careers (from undergraduates to PhD candidates). I will post some brief reactions from a few students on their views on PKE and how they got interested in it, which I think might be of interest, since many have told me over the years that this blog was the only source they had on heterodox economics.

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Friedman vs. Wicksell

August 12, 2020

Slowly, but steadily the Wicksellian concept of a natural, normal or neutral rate of interest is making a come back and becoming more relevant and cited than Friedman’s natural rate of unemployment and its awkward twin the Non Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment (NAIRU).Note that up to Friedman’s infamous presidential address the normal rate dominated the field. But in all fairness, even thought it has lost space it seems that Friedman’s natural rate of unemployment has a lot of inertia, and might be with us for a while.

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60 Years of Sraffa’s Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities/ROKE Webinar

July 21, 2020

Tomorrow we will talk about this book that is the Rosetta Stone of the history of economic ideas (read post 6 below for more on that). I’m happy to have a great panel to discuss it. In the meantime below 7 previous posts on Sraffa’s contributions to economics, which might be helpful for some.Sraffa and the Marshallian System
Sraffa, Marx and the Labor Theory of Value (LTV)
Sraffa, Ricardo and Marx
The Standard Commodity and the LTV
The Capital Debates
Microfoundations of Macroeconomics and the Capital Debates
Free Trade and the Capital Debates

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Policies for Prosperity

June 25, 2020

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The webinar on Policies for Prosperity organized by LP Rochon, and with Tom Ferguson, Mario Seccareccia, and Anna Maria Variato. There was some glitchy at the beginning and Tom’s talk was not recorded. Mine starts in minute 29.

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Power and dominance in the Colonial and Post-colonial times

June 24, 2020

By Sunanda Sen (guest blogger)The recent uprising and protests, in a large number of the White-settled countries in connection with the murder of an unarmed Black-American, George Floyd by a White policeman on duty in Minneapolis has re-opened pages of history relating to unequal power , with state- sanction of White supremacy over ‘others’ having a subordinate status. As history unfolds it, the over-powered included the slaves acquired from Africa, the indentured labour shipped from tropical Asia, while colonies like India providing the flow of unpaid ‘drain’ of surpluses from taxes collected within. The pattern of racial dominance seems to have continued , even today, in the incapacitated George Floyd’s choking to death.One observes the vehement reactions to the murder on part

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Di Bucchianico on Krugman and the Liquidity Trap

June 19, 2020

New paper on the problems of Krugman and the Liquidity Trap argument (some will be able to download if for free, and I recommend this version; however, there is a previous working paper linked at the bottom for those unable to open).From the abstract:
Krugman’s ‘liquidity trap’ model constituted a ground-breaking contribution by attributing the long-lasting Japanese stagnation to a negative natural interest rate. Our critique to such a proposal will focus on three aspects. First, we will question the logical structure of the model, providing an alternative interpretation of its closure and arguing that aggregate demand has no crucial role in it. Second, we will argue that a negative natural interest rate can emerge only after a series of overtly restrictive assumptions in a model that

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Summer (Winter down in Argentina) School on Advanced Topics in Heterodox Economics

June 15, 2020

The whole program here. In Spanish. The opening table with Martín Abeles and I, Monday, July 27th at 10am (Buenos Aires time; 9am, EST). Instructors include: Pablo Bortz, Ariel Dvoskin, Germanics Feldman, Manuel Gonzalo, Roberto Lampa, Pablo Lavarello, Andrés Lazzarini, Marga Olivera, Veronica Robert, Sebastián Valdecantos, and Nicolás Zeolla. It’s a great opportunity!

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Course on the Argentinean Economy in Portuguese

June 5, 2020

For those interested in the Argentinean economy, and that can understand Portuguese, I’m teaching a virtual course on the Rise and Fall of Argentina with my friend Paulo Gala. Some teasers are available here. Below the first class.
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Btw, my suggestion is that basically there’s no fall, if the economy never rose in the first place.

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The Political Economy of the COVID-19 Crisis in Latin America

May 27, 2020

Following my talk on the same topic, on the same venue, now someone that might know a bit more about what’s going on, particularly in Brazil. Professor Mazat will talk this Friday, and I highly recommend it. To register go here. Btw, Numa is Professor of Development Economics in the Institute of Economics at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, my alma matter.

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Debt default or negotiated solution?

May 22, 2020

An Argentinean default is neither new, nor a surprise, perhaps, even for a casual observer of the ups and downs of international bond markets. One may want to follow Oscar Wilde’s Victorian governess advice and omit the chapter on the fall of the peso as being ‘too sensational.’ But an Argentinean default now, after the Great Shutdown provoked by the coronavirus pandemic, would be the harbinger of a generalized sovereign debt crisis for emerging markets that would engulf the global economy, and make the recovery slower and more painful, including in the United States and other advanced economies. It may also undermine the US position in the global economy.

The Argentinean government’s debt restructuring proposal to the private creditors expired Friday, May 8th, with a limited number of

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Restructuring Argentina’s Private Debt is Essential

May 6, 2020

JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ, EDMUND S. PHELPS, CARMEN M. REINHARTArgentina’s creditors are being asked to accept a proposal that would reduce their revenue stream but make it sustainable. A responsible resolution will set a positive precedent, not only for Argentina, but for the international financial system as a whole.Read rest and list of signatures here.

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Some brief thoughts on the Great Shutdown

April 30, 2020

First GDP numbers of the Great Shutdown were out yesterday. As it can be seen in the graph, GDP shrunk by about 4.8%. The data reflects only the first weeks of the stay at home lockdown of the economy in March, as the BEA report points out. Numbers will get considerably worse.

You must add to this the increase in unemployment insurance claims, which since the crisis started has gone up by more than 26 million, as reported by the Labor Department. Note that the unemployment rate is still at 4.4% and that it would take a while for numbers to reflect the collapse in jobs. Also, the series are measured in different ways, so many that lost their jobs, and filed for benefits (and might not even have received them) will not look for jobs (what would be the point), and, as a result would not

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Das Adam Smith problem

April 28, 2020

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A short lecture on Adam Smith’s problem for a Principles class. This might be of more general interest, and perhaps something to watch during the quarantine. The book I used for the lectures on history of economic ideas was Heinz Kurz’s Economic Thought: A Brief History, a book that I highly recommend. The discussion here is heavily influenced by Tony Aspromourgos’ book The science of wealth: Adam Smith and the framing of political economy, another one you should read if you have the opportunity.

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COVID-19 Crisis: More Like the 1920-1921 Recession

April 24, 2020

By Ahmad Borazan, Fresno State (Guest blogger)Economic commentators are struggling to find a historic precedent to the current COVID-19 caused economic crisis and the possible path of recovery. Majority of economic downturns are dominantly an aggregate demand driven phenomenon. But with the current crisis there is an imposed constriction in both supply and demand sides of the economy. Looking at the aggregate supply and demand forced contraction there is a compelling analogy between the current crisis and the Federal Reserve induced recessions such as that of 1920-1921.
During a recession caused by a Fed’s hike of interest rate both the supply and demand sides of the economy are brought to a halt. The higher cost of borrowing impedes spending resulting in a chain reaction of contracting

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