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The author Thomas Palley
Thomas Palley
Dr. Thomas Palley is an economist living in Washington DC. He holds a B.A. degree from Oxford University, and a M.A. degree in International Relations and Ph.D. in Economics, both from Yale University.

Thomas Palley: Economics for Democratic and Open Societies

Central Bank Independence: A Rigged Debate Based on False Politics and Economics

The case for central bank independence is built on an intellectual two-step. Step one argues there is a problem of inflation prone government. Step two argues independence is the solution to that problem. This paper challenges that case and shows it is based on false politics and economics. The paper argues central bank independence is […]

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The Fallacy of the Natural Rate of Interest and Zero Lower Bound Economics: Why Negative Interest Rates May not Remedy Keynesian Unemployment

This paper provides a critique of zero lower bound (ZLB) economics which has become the new orthodoxy for explaining stagnation. ZLB economics is an extension of pre-Keynesian economics which attributes macroeconomic dysfunction to rigidities and market imperfections. The ZLB is the latest rigidity in that pre-Keynesian tradition. The paper argues negative nominal interest rates, even […]

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What’s Wrong With Modern Money Theory (MMT): A Critical Primer

Recently, there has been a burst of interest in modern money theory (MMT). The essential claim of MMT is sovereign currency issuing governments do not need taxes or bonds to finance government spending and are financially unconstrained. MMT rests on a triad of arguments concerning: (i) the macroeconomics of money financed budget deficits, (ii) the […]

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Macroeconomics vs. Modern Money Theory: Some Unpleasant Keynesian Arithmetic

The last decade has witnessed a significant revival of belief in the efficacy of fiscal policy and mainstream economics is now reverting to the standard positions of mid-1970s Keynesianism. On the coattails of that revival, increased attention is being given to the doctrine of Modern Money Theory (MMT) which makes exaggerated claims about the economic […]

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Inequality and Stagnation by Policy Design: Mainstream Denialism and its Dangerous Political Consequences

This paper argues the mainstream economics profession is threatened by theories of the financial crisis and ensuing stagnation that attribute those events to the policies recommended and justified by the profession. Such theories are existentially threatening to the dominant point of view. Consequently, mainstream economists resist engaging them as doing so would legitimize those theories. […]

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The Fracturing of Globalization: Implications of Economic Resentments and Geopolitical Contradictions

The last forty years have witnessed a third wave of globalization which can be termed “neoliberal globalization”. Now, there are indications that the era of neoliberal globalization might be drawing to a close, as evidenced by the trade war between the US and China. This paper argues the fracturing of neoliberal globalization reflects the growing […]

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Recovering Keynesian Phillips curve theory: hysteresis of ideas and the natural rate of unemployment

Economic theory is prone to hysteresis. Once an idea is adopted it is difficult to change. In the 1970s, the economics profession abandoned the Keynesian Phillips curve and adopted Milton Friedman’s natural rate of unemployment (NRU) hypothesis. The shift was facilitated by a series of lucky breaks. Despite much evidence against the NRU, and much [...]

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Brazil is Falling Under an Evil Political Spell

Brazil is falling under an evil political spell. The leading candidate in the presidential election is Jair Bolsonaro, an extreme right-wing politician. It is as if voters are sleepwalking their way to destruction of Brazilian democracy. Under the spell’s influence, they have become blind to the truth about Brazilian politics and blind to their better [...]

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Job Guarantee Programs: Careful What You Wish For

Some progressive economists are now arguing for the idea of a Job Guarantee Program (JGP), and their advocacy has begun to gain political traction. For instance, in the US, Bernie Sanders and some other leading Democrats have recently signaled a willingness to embrace the idea. In a recent research paper I have examined the macroeconomics [...]

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Government Spending in the Income-Expenditure Model: Spending Composition, the Multiplier, and Job Guarantee Programs

This paper reconstructs the income – expenditure (IE) model to include a distinction between government purchases of output versus government production. The distinction has important consequences for output and employment multipliers. The paper also extends the IE model to incorporate a government job guarantee program (JGP), and the extended model illuminates the automatic stabilizer properties [...]

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