Discussion Paper Details

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Title: The importance of beliefs in shaping macroeconomic outcomes

Author(s): Roger E A Farmer

Publication Date: December 2019

Keyword(s): Fiscal policy, Keynesian economics and unemployment

Programme Area(s): Monetary Economics and Fluctuations

Abstract: For the past thirty years of the history of macroeconomic thought, the Indeterminacy School of Macroeconomics has used general equilibrium models with indeterminate equilibria to understand the independent role of beliefs in shaping macroeconomic outcomes. In this paper I review the most recent advances in the indeterminacy agenda, Keynesian Search Theory, and I advance that agenda by introducing self-fulfilling beliefs to a Keynesian Search model in two different ways. One variant of the model is driven by an exogenous process for investment expenditure. If investment is exogenous, the only way to restore full employment is by replacing private investment with public investment. The second variant of the model is driven by consumer confidence. If consumer confidence is exogenous, treasury or central bank intervention in the asset markets is a more effective means of restoring full employment than fiscal policy. In either scenario, increased government consumption will not be effective at maintaining full employment in the face of permanently depressed beliefs about the value of private assets.

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Bibliographic Reference

Farmer, R. 2019. 'The importance of beliefs in shaping macroeconomic outcomes'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.