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Articles by Michael Stephens

Higher Education in Brazil: Interrupted Inclusion?

June 4, 2020

By Ana Luíza Matos de Oliveira
Brazil is a highly unequal country — so is the access to its higher education system. However, in the beginning of the 21st century (2001-2015), there was a convergence between the profile of Brazilian higher education students and the Brazilian population in terms of income, race, and region, although many inequalities still exist. Now, this process might be at risk.
From 2001 to 2015, economic growth and improvements in the labor market affected families’ spending decisions. Also, the budget for higher education presented significant growth and many programs aiming at democratizing access to higher education in Brazil — such as Reuni (expansion of the federal higher education system), Prouni (offer of scholarships in private institutions), loan

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Tcherneva on the Green New Deal and Job Guarantee in France

February 5, 2020

Michael Stephens | February 5, 2020

Pavlina Tcherneva recently participated in a hearing before a parliamentary group (La France insoumise) of France’s National Assembly on the subject of the Green New Deal and the job guarantee (the intro is in French; Tcherneva’s testimony is in English):

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Minsky Explains Financial Instability

December 10, 2019

Michael Stephens | December 10, 2019

In this rare video from 1987 (there is very little surviving footage of Minsky discussing his work), Hyman Minsky summarizes his theory of the financial fragility at the heart of modern capitalist economies:

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This was part of an event in Bogotá, Colombia (which is discussed in this working paper by Iván D. Velasquez).

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Join Us for the 11th Minsky Summer Seminar

October 23, 2019

Michael Stephens | October 23, 2019

The Hyman P. Minsky Summer SeminarLevy Economics Institute of Bard CollegeBlithewoodAnnandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.
June 7–13, 2020

The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College is pleased to announce the 11th Minsky Summer Seminar will be held from June 7–13, 2020. The Seminar will provide a rigorous discussion of both the theoretical and applied aspects of Minsky’s economics, with an examination of meaningful prescriptive policies relevant to the current economic and financial outlook. It will also provide special sessions introducing the theory and applications of Wynne Godley’s stock-flow consistent modeling methods, supported by hands-on workshops.
The Summer Seminar will be of

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Bloomberg Interview: Wray on Modern Monetary Theory

July 31, 2019

Michael Stephens | July 31, 2019

Bloomberg Businessweek‘s Cristina Lindblad and Peter Coy sat down with L. Randall Wray for an in-depth interview on Modern Monetary Theory:

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

March 11, 2019

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 NationalismA conference organized by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

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This Time Is Different: Wray on Modern Monetary Theory

February 4, 2019

Michael Stephens | February 4, 2019

Public interest in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is undergoing a new growth spurt, and progressive politicians are playing a key role in the current phase. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez recently referenced the heterodox framework to push back against the assumption that her ambitious policy proposals must, as a matter of financial necessity, be made budget-neutral (an assumption, as Brendan Greeley of the Financial Times pointed out, that is informatively selective:  “When Washington wants something … it appropriates. And so arguments about balancing budgets aren’t actually about constraints. They’re about priorities. Important programs get appropriations, full stop. Unimportant programs need to

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Bad Faith and the US Census

January 18, 2019

A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the next (2020) decennial census is illegal. The administration has already begun the process of appealing the ruling.
One way to understand the broader context behind this proposed change is to see it as part of ongoing attempts to influence the outcome of the democratic process (efforts which include gerrymandering, voter registration purges, and so on). In this case, the addition of the citizenship question would lower response rates (that is, lead to an undercount of the population) in areas with higher proportions of immigrants — documented and undocumented. These lower response rates, in turn, could affect the apportionment of congressional seats — that is, reduce the number of

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Register for the 2019 Hyman P. Minsky Summer Seminar

September 24, 2018

Michael Stephens | September 24, 2018

We are accepting applications for the 2019 Hyman P. Minsky Summer Seminar, held here at the Levy Institute and the wider Bard College campus June 16–22:
The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College is pleased to announce the tenth Minsky Summer Seminar will be held from June 16–22, 2019. The Seminar will provide a rigorous discussion of both the theoretical and applied aspects of Minsky’s economics, with an examination of meaningful prescriptive policies relevant to the current economic and financial outlook. It will also provide an introduction to Wynne Godley’s stock-flow consistent modeling methods via hands-on workshops.
The Summer Seminar will be of particular interest to graduate

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Wray Guest Lectures, Brazil and Italy (Video)

September 13, 2018

Michael Stephens | September 13, 2018

L. Randall Wray, Professor of Economics at Bard and Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute, was a visiting professor at the University of Bolzano (Italy) and the University of Bergamo (Italy) in May-June and at the University of Campinas (Brazil) in August. In Campinas, he gave a series of lectures for a course on Modern Money Theory. In Bolzano he gave a talk titled “Secular Stagnation: Is It Inevitable?”
Wray also delivered a series of lectures in Trento for a course on Modern Money Theory and participated on a panel on the Job Guarantee: La rivoluzione dei Piani di Lavoro Garantito. Video of the latter presentations can be viewed here and here.

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The Second International Modern Monetary Theory Conference

September 10, 2018

The Levy Institute is a cosponsor of the Second International Modern Monetary Theory Conference, which will take place September 28–30 at the New School and will feature Institute scholars L. Randall Wray, Pavlina Tcherneva, Stephanie Kelton, and Mathew Forstater:
Like the first conference, this year will feature contributions from fields as diverse as macroeconomics, law, history, public policy, and corporate finance, with the goal of creating a community of scholars working within the MMT paradigm. This year’s theme, “Public Money, Public Purpose, Public Power,” signals the MMT community’s efforts to build bridges between social justice movements, inspire broad-based participation, and more deeply discuss how our ideas may be concretized politically.
The conference runs from

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Tcherneva and Wray on the Public Service Employment (PSE) Program

August 15, 2018

Michael Stephens | August 15, 2018

The job guarantee proposal fleshed out and analyzed by L. Randall Wray, Flavia Dantas, Scott Fullwiler, Pavlina Tcherneva, and Stephanie Kelton — dubbed the Public Service Employment (PSE) program — garnered a considerable amount of media attention as support for some version of a job guarantee began appearing on the agendas of various 2020 Democratic hopefuls. This panel discussion at the Levy Institute’s 27th Annual Hyman P. Minsky Conference, featuring Tcherneva and Wray along with critical engagement from John Henry, provides more background on the rationale behind the PSE proposal as well as its potential economic impact:

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Video from all the panels at the Minsky

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On the Costs of Doing Without a Job Guarantee

May 1, 2018

Michael Stephens | May 1, 2018

Pavlina Tcherneva — who, along with L. Randall Wray, Flavia Dantas, Scott Fullwiler, and Stephanie Kelton, authored this report estimating the economic impact of a job guarantee proposal (the Public Service Employment program) — was interviewed by Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal and Julia Chatterley about the purposes and costs of the plan.
This recently released policy note by L. Randall Wray also takes on some of the criticisms raised by the interviewers, in addition to seeking a consensus among the job guarantee proposals emanating from progressive think-tanks.

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27th Annual Minsky Conference Presentations

April 19, 2018

Michael Stephens | April 19, 2018

The 27th Minsky Conference — “Financial Stability in a World of Rising Rates and the Repeal of Dodd-Frank” — just wrapped up yesterday. Anyone interested in the slide presentations can find them below:

Welcome and Introduction

Jan Kregel, Director of Research, Levy InstituteRemarks in PDF

Session 1. US AND GLOBAL ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

MODERATOR: L. Randall Wray, Senior Scholar, Levy Institute; Professor of Economics, Bard CollegeSPEAKERS: Lakshman Achuthan, Cofounder and Chief Operations Officer, Economic Cycle Research InstitutePowerPoint presentation in PDFPhilip Suttle, Founder and Principal, Suttle Economics LLCPowerPoint presentation in PDFMichalis Nikiforos, Research Scholar, Levy

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New Book of Essays in Honor of Roncaglia

February 20, 2018

Director of Research Jan Kregel is one of the editors and contributors for a new collection of essays devoted to the work of Alessandro Roncaglia:
Classical Economics Today: Essays in Honor of Alessandro Roncaglia is a collection of essays that pays tribute to Alessandro Roncaglia whose research is based on Schumpeter’s dictum that good economics must encompass history, economic theory and statistics, and therefore does not generally take the form of elegant formal models that are applicable to all and everything. In this direction, Roncaglia is inspired by the Classical economists of the past and becomes a model for present-day Classical economists. A perceptible family air imbues the essays: all the contributors are friends of Roncaglia and see his personality and his interests as

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Join Us for the 2018 Minsky Summer Seminar

December 21, 2017

The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College is pleased to announce the ninth Minsky Summer Seminar will be held from June 17–23, 2018. The Seminar will provide a rigorous discussion of both the theoretical and applied aspects of Minsky’s economics, with an examination of meaningful prescriptive policies relevant to the current economic and financial outlook. It will also provide an introduction to Wynne Godley’s stock-flow consistent modeling methods via hands-on workshops.
The Summer Seminar will be of particular interest to graduate students, recent graduates, and those at the beginning of their academic or professional careers. The teaching staff will include well-known economists working in the theory and policy tradition of Hyman Minsky and Wynne Godley.
Applications may be

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Watch Live: A New New Deal and the Job Guarantee

October 27, 2017

Michael Stephens | October 27, 2017

Today at the New School, L. Randall Wray and Stephanie Kelton take part in a public workshop organized by the National Jobs for All Coalition that is focused on developing a “A New ‘New Deal’ for NYC and the USA.”
Wray and Kelton will be sharing initial findings from an upcoming Levy Institute project that proposes a universal job guarantee for the United States. The program would create nearly 20 million jobs that pay $15 per hour plus benefits, raising national output by over $500 billion annually, stimulating the private sector to create more than 3 million additional jobs. Using standard simulation models, the study finds that impacts on inflation would be negligible, while state and

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Applications Open for the Levy Institute M.S. and New One-Year M.A.

October 17, 2017

Michael Stephens | October 17, 2017

The Levy Institute is accepting applications to the M.S. and M.A. in Economic Theory and Policy for Fall 2018.
The new, one-year M.A.* joins the two-year M.S. in offering students an alternative to mainstream programs in economics and finance. Our graduate curriculum is rooted in the Institute’s distinctive research program, including macroeconomic theory and policy analysis, the development and exploration of alternative measures of economic well-being and poverty, and continuing efforts to extend the work of Distinguished Scholars Hyman Minsky and Wynne Godley.
Students can specialize in one of the Institute’s five research areas:
Macroeconomic Theory, Policy, and Modeling
Employment

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Event: Strategizing a New New Deal

September 8, 2017

Michael Stephens | September 8, 2017

If you’re in the vicinity of New York City at the end of October, Levy scholars Randall Wray and Stephanie Kelton are taking part in a public meeting organized by the National Jobs for All Coalition. The meeting is part of a series of public events focused on the legacy of New Deal.
Wray and Kelton will be participating in a panel on the job guarantee — “Political and Economic Prospects for Achieving a Federal and a New York City Job Guarantee” — alongside Philip Harvey and Darrick Hamilton (who was recently recognized by Politico for his work on the job guarantee).
The event is hosted at the New School (Oct. 27) and Columbia Law School (Oct. 28). You can download the flyer and program

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On the Concert of Interests and Unlearning the Lessons of the 1930s

April 20, 2017

Jan Kregel opened this year’s Minsky Conference (which just wrapped up yesterday) with a reminder that the broader public challenges we face today are still in many ways an echo of those that faced the nation in 1930s. What follows is an abridged version of those remarks:
This year’s conference takes place in an increasingly charged and divisive economic and political atmosphere. Sharp differences in approach are present within the new administration, within the majority party, and even within the opposition. It is a rather different environment than the one envisaged when planning for the Conference started last September. I had originally proposed as a title “The New Administration meets the New Normal: Economic Policy for Secular Stagnation.” It was an obvious attempt to hedge our

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“America First” and Financial Stability: 26th Minsky Conference

February 16, 2017

Participants
Lakshman Achuthan, Cofounder and Chief Operations Officer, Economic Cycle Research Institute
Robert J. Barbera, Codirector, Center for Financial Economics, The Johns Hopkins University
Fernando J. Cardim de Carvalho, Senior Scholar, Levy Institute; Emeritus Professor of Economics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
Michael E. Feroli, Chief US Economist, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Scott Fullwiler, Professor of Economics, University of Missouri–Kansas City
Esther L. George, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
Patrick T. Harker, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia*
Thomas M. Hoenig, Vice Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Peter Hooper, Managing Director and Chief Economist, Deutsche

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Xmas Cheer: The Debt Is Not Our Biggest Problem

January 1, 2017

Why do so many pundits and politicians, including the future director of the Office of Management and Budget, beat the debt drum so loudly and so often? It’s one of the most effective, and most abused, wedge issues in American politics.
by Kerry Pechter
The nomination of Mick Mulvaney—deficit hawk, three-term Republican congressman from South Carolina and founding member of the House “Freedom Caucus”—to the cabinet-level directorship of the Office of Management and Budget is not good news for the financial system.
Mulvaney has said (and perhaps even believes) that one of the “greatest dangers” we face as Americans is the annual budget deficit and the $20 trillion national debt. This notion is an effective political weapon, but it’s dangerously untrue. If it were true, the country

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“Stimulus” Isn’t the Best Reason to Support (or Oppose) Infrastructure Spending

December 15, 2016

A little while back, Pavlina Tcherneva appeared with Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal to talk about the potential infrastructure policy of president-elect Donald Trump. She noted that, contrary to initial assumptions, the upcoming administration may not end up pushing public-debt-financed infrastructure spending, and that if the program simply amounts to tax incentives and public-private partnerships, it won’t be nearly as effective. But Tcherneva added another important dimension to this debate. (You can watch the interview here):

Tcherneva’s point is that infrastructure investment should be determined primarily by the state of dilapidation or obsolescence of our roads, bridges, etc., and not so much by the moment we occupy in the business cycle.
There are some who would argue that the

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Call for Papers: Gender and Macro Workshop in NYC

November 30, 2016

Michael Stephens | November 30, 2016

New York CitySeptember 13–15, 2017
A workshop organized by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College with the generous support of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The goal of this workshop is to advance the current framework that integrates gender and unpaid work into macroeconomic analysis and enables the development of gender-aware and equitable economic policies. We are interested in contributions that address the gender implications of macroeconomic processes and policies and examine mechanisms that link gender inequalities to macroeconomic outcomes. These may include but are not limited to:
Incorporation of the realm of unpaid productive activities into economy-wide

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Can Financial Regulatory Changes Help Jumpstart Long-Term Investment?

November 15, 2016

Michael Stephens | November 15, 2016

In a presentation here at the Levy Institute, Emilios Avgouleas argued that financial regulatory changes since the crisis have become so complex they represent a source of financial instability, and that new liquidity and capital requirements have contributed to the problem of “short-termism” in finance.
Avgouleas proposed regulatory simplification and a reorientation that would create greater relative incentives for funding long-term investment projects (e.g., infrastructure), including a lower regulatory and tax burden on long-term instruments. Empowering issuers of long-term instruments like project bonds with intellectual property rights could, he suggested, help control the quality

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