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Macroeconomics And The Phillips Curve Myth Pdf

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The Phillips curve is a single-equation economic model , named after William Phillips , describing an inverse relationship between rates of unemployment and corresponding rates of rises in wages that result within an economy.


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More titles may be available to you. Sign in to see the full collection. This book reconsiders the role of the Phillips curve in macroeconomic analysis in the first twenty years following the famous work by A. Phillips, after whom it is named. It argues that the story conventionally told is entirely misleading. In that story, Phillips made a great breakthrough but his work led to a view that inflationary policy could be used systematically to maintain low unemployment, and that it was only after the work of Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps about a decade after Phillips' that this view was rejected. On the contrary, a detailed analysis of the literature of the times shows that the idea of a negative relation between wage change and unemployment - supposedly Phillips' discovery - was commonplace in the s, as were the arguments attributed to Friedman and Phelps by the conventional story.

One particular idea about the history of macroeconomics seems to be almost universally accepted. Then, supposedly, Phelps and particularly Friedman pointed out that on-going inflation would be recognized as such by wage bargainers, so that when it became expected the Phillips curve would shift upwards and there could be no long-run tradeoff. Sometimes it is said or implied that this idea caused a great debate, but in any case, in the end mainstream opinion accepted it. It is a remarkable story. First of all, it tells of two revolutions in thinking in just about a decade. Just as notable, it is a story that has often featured in textbooks. There is not much history of macroeconomics students learn, but the main lines of this story is one piece that is easily found.

Macroeconomics and the Phillips Curve Myth

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This book reconsiders the role of the Phillips curve in macroeconomic analysis in the first twenty years following the famous work by A W H Phillips, after whom it.

Phillips curve

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Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN For a PDF version click here.


In economics, those stories are often initiated by economists themselves and tend to be repeated through review articles, textbooks or interviews. Macroeconomics appears as a fertile ground for such stories—think of the Keynesian multiplier, the rational expectations hypothesis, the birth of endogenous growth theories. The story could be summed up like this:. In what quickly became a classic paper, Phillips discovered a negative relation between inflation and unemployment; then, either under the influence of Samuelson and Solow or otherwise, policymakers treated it as offering a selection of inflation-unemployment combinations from which they could choose, depending on their … aversion to the two evils; much work was done investigating this tradeoff and, because of it, inflationist policy was pursued until Phelps and Friedman a revolutionized thinking by pointing out that continuous inflation would change expectations and thereby shift the Phillips curve so that there was no long-run tradeoff; and although this was initially disputed, in due course it was accepted. Besides, in the following years, the literature did not rely on the work of Phillips. Instead, they focused on the instability of the curve and the way to improve the trade-off, to reach full employment and price stability at the same time.

The story of the history of the Phillips curve up to the s is reconsidered. It is argued that none of the principal components of conventional stories is correct. Phillips did not discover the negative relation of wage change or inflation and unemployment—that was well known long before him, and better analysed by several of his contemporaries. Almost none of the econometrics of the s concerned exploration or refinement of the relation, and practically no one from that period saw the Phillips cu Almost none of the econometrics of the s concerned exploration or refinement of the relation, and practically no one from that period saw the Phillips curve or any similar relation as offering an inflation-unemployment tradeoff. The Phillips curve econometrics of the s was not mainly concerned with assessing that idea. Almost no one saw any basis for accepting more than minimal inflation, and policymakers were amongst the least susceptible to those arguments.

A review of James Forder, "Macroeconomics and the. Phillips Curve Myth". CHOPE Working Paper, No. Provided in Cooperation with: Center for the.

Macroeconomics and the Phillips Curve Myth by James Forder (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)

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Macroeconomics and the Phillips Curve Myth

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