Monday , April 6 2020
Home / Matias Vernengo
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

World War II, not the New Deal, is the model for COVID-19 macroeconomic policies

15 days ago

Central planning (Socialism?) in democratic societies

There is a lot being written on the causes and cures for the economic consequences of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The predictable distinction is among those that think that this is essentially a demand shock, mostly to services, and those that are concerned with the disruption to supply chains. And to some extent both are correct. But that is not the more relevant problem here, which is whether we need just more government or a change in the nature of the governmental interventions.Neil Irwin, from the New York Times, provides a suitable and simple explanation of the demand shock story. Note that a demand shock often goes together with significant financial implications, as agents with reduced revenue tend to default on loans or

Read More »

From Truncated Developmental State to Failed State in Latin America

March 6, 2020

I gave a talk last year in Argentina that forced me to think about the notion of the developmental state and its limits for Latin America. I discussed it in Mexico too, and I added a bit more about the notion of failed states, also discussed in my first presentation. This week I presented at Boston University, for the first time for a mostly English speaking audience. This is a brief summary of some of my ideas, based on those presentations.National state formation in Latin America, during the last quarter of the 19th century, in what has been termed in the more conventional literature the 1st globalization, was related to the incorporation of the region in the networks of trade, finance and the migratory flows, in particular in relation to the United Kingdom and the United

Read More »

Obamacare With a Public Option: Fool Me Twice Shame on Me

March 5, 2020

By Thomas PalleyThere is an old saying “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” That saying is relevant for the current healthcare debate in which former Vice-President Biden and elite Democrats are touting a reheated version of Obamacare with a public option. It is a case of trying to fool the American public twice.Adding an Obamacare public option will not solve the healthcare problem. Worse yet, it misses an historic opportunity to heal the festering wound of healthcare via a single-payer system as proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders.Read rest here.

Read More »

Housing and Inequality in Utah

February 21, 2020

From the recent report, written to a great extent by David Fields:
Rising housing costs and stagnating real wages are the primary causes of worsening housing affordability in Utah. From 2009 to 2016 real income only grew at 0.31% per year while rent crept upward at a rate of 1.03% per year in 2017 constant dollars. Now, more than 183,000 low-income Utah households pay more than half their income for rent, becoming more likely to be evicted and moving closer to homelessness.
Housing has not received as much coverage in the discussions about inequality, and this is well wroth reading.

Read More »

Bernie Sanders: Nothing to Fear Except Fear Itself

February 19, 2020

By Thomas Palley“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Eighty-seven years ago those were the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1933 inaugural speech. Today, they resonate with Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, which confronts a barrage of attack aimed at frightening away voters.Fear is the enemy of change and the friend of hate. That is why both sides of the political establishment are now running a full-blown campaign of fear-mongering against Sanders. The Democratic Party establishment likes the economy the way it is and wants to prevent change. Donald Trump and the Republicans have made themselves the party of hate. Both therefore have an interest in promoting fear, which explains the strange overlap in their attacks on Sanders.

Read rest here.

Read More »

Scott Carter’s talk on Sraffa

February 13, 2020

If you are in London go see Scott Carter talk on Sraffa tomorrow, organized by Andrés Lazzarini. Time: Friday Feb. 14, (11:30 to 13:30). Location: Margaret McMillan Building, MMB room 224, Goldsmiths University of London, New Cross, SE14 6NW

Read More »

Do current times vindicate Keynes and is New Keynesian macroeconomics Keynesian?

January 30, 2020

Thomas I. Palley, Esteban Pérez Caldentey and Matías Vernengo Professor Robert Rowthorn delivered the second annual Godley–Tobin lecture in New York City on 1 March 2019. The title of his lecture was ‘Keynesian economics – back from the dead?’ and it is published in this issue of the Review of Keynesian Economics. The lecture was attended by a large audience and the Question & Answer session provoked a stimulating discussion. Prompted by that discussion, we thought it would be interesting to invite some leading economists to independently address Professor Rowthorn’s lecture topic. This symposium is the outcome of that invitation.We are living in a time which many believe has a distinctly Keynesian character. That is captured in the belief that many economies appear to suffer from

Read More »

A Stock Market Boom is Not the Basis of Shared Prosperity

January 23, 2020

By Thomas PalleyThe US is currently enjoying another stock market boom which, if history is any guide, also stands to end in a bust. In the meantime, the boom is having a politically toxic effect by lending support to Donald Trump and obscuring the case for reversing the neoliberal economic paradigm.For four decades the US economy has been trapped in a “Groundhog Day” cycle in which policy engineered new stock market booms cover the tracks of previous busts. But though each new boom ameliorates, it does not recuperate the prior damage done to income distribution and shared prosperity. Now, that cycle is in full swing again, clouding understanding of the economic problem and giving voters reason not to rock the boat for fear of losing what little they have.

Read rest here.

Read More »

Summers on secular stagnation, the ISLM, and the liquidity trap

January 8, 2020

Two short clips from Lawrence Summers talk at the ASSA meeting in San Diego. So he first says that secular stagnation is more plausible now than before. He sees that it can be explained as a shift of the IS curve backwards. His IS has a somewhat
marginalist foundation, with a natural rate, and a fairly conventional
story for investment. Of course, the negative shift has bee compensated by some sort of stimulus, that is now weaker. I would say a smaller multiplier that affects the slope of the IS would make more sense.
[embedded content]
And he does say in the next clip that the IS is steeper, and the LM is flat, or that we are in a liquidity trap. Again, I think it’s not really that, and simply a policy decision of the Fed, inevitable given the circumstances, perhaps.
[embedded

Read More »

James K. Galbraith’s Veblen-Commons award

January 6, 2020

Ritual and prestige among the Institutionalists

Jamie got the Veblen-Commons award, something his father received back in 1976. I introduced him, and as expected discussed a bit his contributions to economics, and the understanding of institutions. His most important contributions are on the field of inequality, and the work he has done with the University of Texas Inequality Project (UTIP).There are many contributions that Jamie and UTIP have made. His use of the UNIDO payroll data, that he noted in his Godley-Tobin Lecture, has significant advantages over tax records and household survey data, and provides a different picture of global inequality. His use of the Theil decomposition is also original and provides new insights on inequality. And there is the more important

Read More »

Raúl Prebisch as a Central Banker and Money Doctor

December 30, 2019

Here we edited with Esteban Pérez and Miguel Torres some unpublished manuscripts from Prebisch related to the Federal Reserve missions, led by Robert Triffin, to the Dominican Republic and Paraguay, in which he emphasizes the need of capital controls in peripheral countries that did NOT have the key hegemonic currency. There is also a discussion of Keynes and White’s plans for Bretton Woods, which were partially published before. In Spanish. Happy New Year!

Read More »

What to expect from the incoming government in Argentina

December 25, 2019

The government in Argentina has less than two weeks at this point. It is too early to pass judgment. But we can look at the legacy of the Macri administration, and indicate a few things about the current strategy. A paper I have just received from Fabian Amico, that will soon be published in Circus, will be invaluable for my very brief comments here (the new issue of Circus and his paper will eventually be linked here, in Spanish).The first thing that should be evident is that the 4 years of the Macri administration, that were supposed to restore economic growth, something that had faltered since 2011, essentially as a result of an external constraint, were a failure. Using IMF data, the average GDP growth in the period was -0.2 percent. Yep, negative. Amico uses a local activity index

Read More »

A Conservative win will create a neoliberal hot zone and dissolve the UK: here’s how to stop it

December 16, 2019

By Thomas PalleyI could not get this op-ed (written November 6, 2019) published as it was a mix of too dull & didactic, and too partisan or not partisan enough. Anyway, in the wake of the election, I think it was analytically spot on so I have decided to post it. Also, it makes clear the very special circumstances of the UK election. It is a gross distortion to extrapolate from the UK to the US. Unfortunately, that is exactly what elite US media (e.g. New York Times) and neoliberal Democrats are now doing. Opinion polls are predicting the Conservative Party will romp home in the UK’s upcoming general election. Unfortunately, given the party’s current extremist inclinations, that stands to transform the UK into a neoliberal hot zone and also dissolve the UK within a decade.The costs of a

Read More »

Paul Volcker’s legacy

December 9, 2019

Paul Adolph Volcker (1927-2019)

Paul Volcker has passed away, and many obits (NYTimes here) and blog posts will be published in the next couple of days. Most likely, the majority will suggest how Carter appointed him to bring down inflation, a courageous decision, that might have costed him the election, and how Volcker went on to stabilize the so-called Great Inflation. Volcker was the head of the New York Fed from 1975 to 1979, before he was appointed chairman of the Fed in that year. He can be seen as the anti-Marriner Eccles, the first chairman properly speaking, and Roosevelt’s central banker. Volcker was the quintessential Monetarist central banker, and his tenure is symbolic of the rise of Neoliberalism,* as much as Eccles’ tenure was the symbol of the New Deal social

Read More »

Argentina and the IMF

November 27, 2019

Alberto Fernández, who will assume as the next president in less than two weeks, has said he will not accept the next tranche of US$ 11billion that were part of the US$ 57 billion deal signed by the outgoing Macri administration. Many progressives see this as a good sign, in particular given the history of the IMF with Argentina. I’ve emphasized, against a lot of heterodox discussion on the subject, that the IMF remains essentially unchanged when it comes to policy prescriptions. So I do get the point.Note, however, that the best argument for not using it, is NOT the fact that this would increase the leverage with the IMF. It would hardly do that. It’s kind of a slap on their face. The leverage comes from the fact that the IMF did commit a huge amount of money, and presumably they

Read More »

Venezuela and the embargo

November 26, 2019

Should have posted this a while ago. I had a conversation with the World Bank economist above on how much of the problems of Venezuela are the result of the embargo. Here a paper by Francisco Rodríguez. Worth reading.

Read More »

New Issue of ROKE soon!

November 20, 2019

The next issue of the Review of Keynesian Economics with Bob Rowthorn’s Godley-Tobin Lecture and papers by Barry Eichengreen, Steve Fazzari, Peter Bofinger and Bob Dimand, among others is coming soon.

Read More »

The Moral Economy of Housing

November 10, 2019

A new post by David Fields, long time contributor to this blog. From his post:
At its most fundamental level, housing is more than a market segment or policy, it is a social relation that serves as the kernel of human survival, which can have profound consequences for the actors involved, the actions they take, and the outcomes that follow. As such, housing provides a set of meanings and values, a material form of emotional, cultural, political and economic significance. It is an institution that points to polyvalent higher order social arrangements that involve both patterns of social mobility and symbolic systems that infuse human activity with a powerful essence. Housing insecurity, therefore, is not a just a means of financial dispossession, but an ontological crisis concerning

Read More »

The IMF’s Second Chance in Argentina

October 29, 2019

Kevin Gallagher and Matías VernengoAlberto Fernández and his running mate, former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, have won the election in Argentina amid a real danger that the country’s economy will collapse. Outgoing president Mauricio Macri and the transitioning Mr Fernández should work closely with the IMF to put the fragile economy back on a path to stability and sustainable growth.Read rest here.

Read More »

Who really wants the (Brazilian) economy to grow?

October 24, 2019

Franklin Serrano and Vivian Garrido (Guest bloggers)When the Brazilian economy was growing with low unemployment rates and reducing income inequality, it was said that “businessmen have never made so much money” and, at the same time, the business community’s discontent with the government was increasing. On the other hand, in the current situation of semi-stagnation that followed from a deep recession, the entrepreneurs of both real and financial sectors declare their unrestricted support to the current government, despite the daily mess and shame of various government members and the bad economic conditions. We believe that, in order to understand both this apparent paradox and the very tendency of the Brazilian economy to stagnate, it is useful to clarify some basic theoretical

Read More »

Argentina and the IMF: What to Expect with the Likely Return of Kirchnerism

October 24, 2019

Simple Math, Macri + IMF = Poverty
The Argentine economy is on the verge of another default less than two decades after the last one, in 2002. The forthcoming elections, in October 27, will most likely bring back the Kirchnerist opposition back to power, and they will have to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that has the power to prevent a crisis.Argentina has a long and turbulent history with the IMF that dates back to the country’s entry in the organization in 1956 and to the first loan that was received the following year, after the military coup that brought down the Peronist government in 1955. Since then, the country has been an adept user of IMF resources, ranking among the countries that signed the most agreements. The loan of approximately $57 billion,

Read More »

Thirlwall at 40

October 21, 2019

Thirlwall and McCombie

The new issue of ROKE is out. Three papers are freely downloadable (linked below). Check it out!Thirlwall’s law at 40 by Esteban Pérez Caldentey and Matías VernengoWhy Thirlwall’s law is not a tautology: more on the debate over the law by J.S.L. McCombieThoughts on the balance-of-payments-constrained growth after 40 years by A.P. Thirlwall

Read More »

MMT in Developing Countries at the Real News Network

October 10, 2019

[embedded content]
Full transcript of the short interview here. Paper was linked before. Note that we say that Functional Finance does apply to developing countries, but that the insistence of the advantages of flexible exchange rates, as opposed to managed regimes with capital controls, are not correct.

Read More »