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ECN202: Macroeconomics. 1960s: End of the Business Cycle? recessions "are now generally considered fundamentally preventable, like airplane crashes and hurricanes.". Zenith of Keynesian Economics.

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ECN202: Macroeconomics

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Ecn202 macroeconomics

ECN202: Macroeconomics

1960s: End of the Business Cycle?

recessions "are now generally considered fundamentally preventable, like airplane crashes and hurricanes."

Zenith of keynesian economics

Zenith of Keynesian Economics

After WW II and the Korean War macroeconomics once again was THE issue in a presidential election in 1960. A sitting Vice President was defeated by a relative unknown CATHOLIC promising to get the economy moving. To do that he turned to the rising number of academic scribblers working on turning Keynesian anti-depression economics into anti-recession economics. It was a period of significant developments in macroeconomic theory, and we look at those in this nit. We begin with a more detailed look at consumption and investment spending since Keynesians focused on managing AD, and then we look at the issues of timing and forecasting that were central to effective macro policy. The unit closes with a discussion of the Phillips Curve that symbolized the tradeoff between inflation and unemployment that policy makers must now confront. We open our work with some warnings from Eisenhower as he left office and some headlines from the 1960s.

Eisenhower opens 1960s with a warning

Eisenhower opens 1960s with a warning

  • “America’s leadership and prestige depend not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.”

  • “In meeting them, whether domestic or foreign, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could be come the miraculous solution to all current difficulties.”

  • “As we peer into the future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow.”

  • Balance “between public and private economy”

In the news growth is good

In the news: Growth is good

  • “Democratic and Republican platform writers have committed their parties, and the nation, presumably, to the goal of more rapid economic growth.” 1960

  • “Kennedy Terms Action to Spur Economic Growth the Major Election Issue” 1962

  • “Economic Growth No Cure-All for Jobless” 1965

  • “The United States apparently moved last year into first place among the leading industrial nations in its rate of economic growth after being near the bottom” 1966”

  • “RECESSION VIEWED AS A 'POSSIBILITY'; Economy Has Not Declined Despite Dip by Indicators, Arthur Burns Declares” 1967

In the news unemployment gets noticed

In the news: Unemployment gets noticed

  • “Prof. Paul Samuelson's letter published Nov. 12 illustrates the growing tendency of economists close to the Administration to minimize the unemployment problem.” 1961

  • “ECONOMY ABSORBS TEEN-AGER INFLUX; Unemployment Rate in June Lowest Since Fall of '57” 1965

  • “U.S. Will Change Definitions of Unemployment” 1966

  • “Whether or not a 4 per cent or even higher rate of unemployment is "acceptable," as Secretary David Kennedy would have it, remains to be seen.” 1969

In the news so does inflation

In the news: So does inflation

  • “PROGRESS NOTED IN INFLATION WAR; Top Economic Aides Doubt Serious Price Rises” 1960

  • “'LITTLE INFLATION' CALLED NO THREAT; Administration Unperturbed at 1-1 % a Year Rise in Consumer Price Index” 1962

  • “Labor Costs Blamed for Inflation” 1965

  • “G.O.P. Dramatizes Inflation as Key Issue; High Cost of Living to Be Stressed in Drive for Votes” 1966

  • “Inflation; It's Mainly Psychological, but Oh How It Hurts!” 1969

In the news the end of nirvana

In the news: The end of Nirvana?

  • “Advocates of Slower Development Are Gaining Ground in Latin Nations” 1965

  • “Jobs and Inflation; Truce Is Developing in Debate on When Falling Unemployment Raises Prices” 1966

  • Predictably the rise in unemployment to 4 per cent -- a consequence of efforts to check inflation by fiscal and monetary restraints -- has produced a political outburst” 1969

  • “U.S. JOBLESS RATE ADVANCES TO 4%, HIGHEST SINCE '67; Administration Aides Greet Rise as Sign of Restraint on Boom Spurring Inflation” 1969

  • “Economy; How to Cool It Without the Chill of Recession” 1969

In the news trade becomes an issue

In the news: Trade becomes an issue


  • “Pastore Urges Efforts by U.S. To Aid Textile-Trade Balance” 1965

  • “Nixon Asks For Lower Tariffs” 1969

  • “Stans Suggests Tax Plan To Help Balance of Trade” 1969

  • “Morgan Trust Hints Huge Loss For U.S. Payments in Quarter; BIG LOSS HINTED IN U.S. PAYMENTS” 1969

  • “FOREIGN TEXTILES FOUGHT BY STANS; Secretary, in Italy, Presses for Curbs on Exports” 1969

The macro problem get the economy moving

The Macro Problem: Get the economy moving

The unemployment rate has been trending upward since the end of the Korean War

A call to action

A call to action

"get the country moving again."

1960 presidential election

1960 Presidential Election

An incredibly close election

1964 presidential election

1964 Presidential Election

What happens when you nominate a fringe candidate - and what happened in the South to have them shift from solid Democrat to solid Republican?

The solution again

The Solution: again

Keynes’ theory

If it could cure a depression

imagine what is could do for

a recession

The solution in theory

The solution: in theory

recessions "are now generally considered fundamentally preventable, like airplane crashes and hurricanes.”Arthur Okun, president Johnson's economic advisor

Aggregate demand rules

Aggregate Demand “Rules”

Aggregate demand is central to Keynes’ view, so let’s look at it. First we look at consumption spending (C) that is important because it is HUGE and because it is stable and may be managed. In this period newer theories of consumption surfaced including the permanent income and life cycle theories that altered how we looked at C. What we spend on has also changed since the mid 1970s with the declining importance of nondurables. Investment spending is important because it has a supply-side effect – if we invest in more factories and machines our workers become more productive and this increases our productive capacity. This make investment a favorite target of discretionary fiscal policy.

Ecn202 macroeconomics



MANAGEABLE (relationship to disposable income)

Theories (MPC?)


Permanent income hypothesis (wealth)

Life-cycle model


Ecn202 macroeconomics

You can see where more of our money is going – and how durable spending is the most volatile

Personal saving rate us

Personal saving rate: US

What happened to the savings rate after 1980 and was that a good thing, and what happened to the rate since the mid 2000s?

And how do we get Americans to save more?

Ecn202 macroeconomics

What is so different about China from the US – and why do American policy officials what could be done to decrease the savings of the Chinese people?



The savings glut. Controversy guaranteed. Council of Foreign Relations

How do we change savings behavior

How do we change savings behavior?

You have all had microeconomics so this should be an easy question. If we try to alter behavior we need to look at why people do what they do and then try to alter the incentives to alter their behavior. In the US the problem is that there are very low incentives to save – either people do not have to save or it is very easy to access funs, while in China there is a need to save or it is difficult to access funds. Here are a few possible options for altering the savings patterns.

How do we get americans to spend less

How do we get Americans to spend less?

Make it easier to save

  • Financial deregulation

  • National savings plan (SS example)

    Make it more rewarding to save

  • Tax policies

    • Sales / consumption tax rate

    • Interest income tax rate

How do we get the chinese to spend more

How do we get the Chinese to spend more?

Make saving less attractive

  • Expand public pension system

  • Expand public health care system

  • Unionization

  • Urbanization (rural to urban)

  • Industrialization (agriculture to manufacturing)

    Make it easier to spend

  • Expansion of credit

Wealth effect

Wealth Effect

One of the implications of the expanded theory of consumption spending was the acknowledgement of a wealth effect. Consumption spending ( C ) depends on wealth as well as income, and there is a marginal propensity to spend wealth (MPC). [MPC = DC / D W] Research has shown the following estimates of their values.

  • MPC for wealth in homes = .09

  • MPC for wealth in stocks = .04

    Based on this try this: what would be the impact on C of a $5 trillion decline in housing values in the Great Recession?

Ecn202 macroeconomics

A BIG hit in housing values

-$5T*.09 = -$450 billion = decline in C

A lost decade or two

A lost decade = or two?

A BIG hit in stock market values in Japan

Ecn202 macroeconomics

A huge hit in real estate values in Japan

Ecn202 macroeconomics






The challenge of fine tuning an economy

The Challenge of fine tuning an economy

In the next few graphs you will see the problem of fine tuning in a world without instantaneous change and the potential solutions. The goal is to flatten out those recessions and the problem is that because of lags the impact may not be felt until after the problem disappeared so it may actually worsen the cycle. One “solution” is to build in automatic stabilizers like unemployment benefits so as the economy slides into a recession the unemployment benefits increase and this additional income is spent. The second option is to forecast the problem and use preemptive policies such as a tax cut before a recession happens.

Fine tuning a timing problem

Fine tuning: A timing problem?

We want to avoid the recession that begins in 1975


Too much too late


1. Recognition lag

2. Discussion lag

3. Action lag




One possible solution automatic stabilizers autopilot

One possible solution? Automatic stabilizers = autopilot

  • Automatic stabilizer reduces changes in AD

  • Income tax

  • Unemployment benefits


Income rises

Taxes rise

Spending rises slower

Income falls

Taxes fall

Spending falls slower

Another possible solution preemptive discretionary policies

Another possible solution? Preemptive Discretionary policies

We want to avoid the recession that begins in 1975


Just right, just in time


1. Recognition lag

2. Discussion lag

3. Action lag

Fine tuning requirement forecasting ability

Fine-tuning requirement: Forecasting ability

This was a time when we saw an increase interest in forecasting – a perfect storm of sorts – that increased demand for forecasts at the same time as that we had what we needed – computers to analyze the macro numbers now being produced regularly, a theory on how to manage the economy, and liberals in power who believed in managing. Here we look briefly at three techniques. , so here we look at some techniques. Also when you are forecasting be sure that the variables you choose matches the time horizon. All time series can be decomposed into seasonal, cyclical, and trends and the influences on each of these is likely to be different.

On the next slide you will see a few of my “favorite” forecasts.

The forecasting track record

The forecasting track record?

“Brain work will cause women to go bald”Berlin professor 1914

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" H. M. Warner,1927

“The Japanese don’t make anything the people in the US would want.”(Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in 1954 

"And for the tourist who really wants to get away from it all, safaris in Vietnam." Newsweek's 1963 prediction of popular holidays for the late 1960s.

"Rail travel at high speeds is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia."  Dionysius Lardner, 1828

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM 1943

"1930 will be a splendid year for employment."  Department of Labor in 1929

Forecasting basics seasonal patterns

Forecasting basics: seasonal patterns


(big summer)



Match time-frame with factors

Forecasting basics develop a forecast of company sales over the next five years

Forecasting basics: Develop a forecast of company sales over the next five years

Time series analysis

Time-series analysis

“The ruler”

S = a + b S-1

Sales today depend upon sales last year




Oil price forecast – look to past sales for guide to future

Econometric analysis

Econometric analysis

“The relationship”

S = a + b*P

S = -3299 + .546*P

Sales depend upon price so with price forecast we have oil demand forecast



Oil price forecast – look to past for relationships

Barometric analysis

Barometric analysis

“The experts”

Leading indicators

If you are forecasting, how do you predict turning points?

You want something that turns before your variable so when it turns you know what is coming.

Turning points

Lead time

Lead time

Ri index of leading indicators

RI Index of Leading Indicators

Manufacturing employment

Retail & wholesale employment

Index of Providence Help-Wanted Ads

Passenger traffic at Green

Newport Bridge Tokens

Single-family housing permits

RI Industrial kilowatt hours

National average for weekly unemployment claims

National vendor delivery performance

An example of a leading indicator

An example of a leading indicator

Sotheby’s stock rises in booms but seems to fall before other indicators of macro decline

Derek Thompson, “The Art of Bubbles: How Sotheby's Predicts the World Economy,” Atlantic Monthly, Apr 5, 2011

Another problem inflation arrives in the late 1960s

Another problem!!Inflation “arrives” in the late 1960s

The inflation unemployment tradeoff

The inflation-unemployment tradeoff

By the late 1960s inflation was a problem facing Keynesians who began to look into the work of an economist, William Phillips, who a decade earlier had identified a negative relationship between inflation and wage growth: wages tended to rise faster when the unemployment rate was lower because workers had more bargaining power. If wages grew faster than prices would rise faster, so we got the Phillips Curve. This became seen as a possibility line of sorts where policies could move us along the Phillips Curve, so you should be able to see where Republicans and Democrats would differ in terms of their goals. If you used expansionary fiscal policy you would increase AD and this would increase GDP (lower unemployment) and increase prices. This was not great, so liberals looked to policies to shift the curve inward.

Phillips evidence


Ecn202 macroeconomics

Where would Republicans want to move the economy and where would Democrats want to go – A or B?

  • A

  • B

Republicans care about inflation so they choose B, while Democrats care about unemployment so they would choose A

As ad phillips curve

AS-AD & Phillips Curve?


Phillips Curve

Increase AD





New situation









Policy choices move curve or move on curve

Policy choices:Move curve – or move on curve?

Same inflation – lower u

Less U and more inflation



  • Expansionary policy

    • Monetary

    • Fiscal

Job training

Job information







Summary of 1960s policy activism

Summary of 1960s policy activism

Keynesian economics: anti recession version

Economic Theory

John Maynard Keynes

Key concept


DY/DG = 1/(1-MPC)

“New” AS –AD model

Upward sloping AS


Inflation-unemployment trade off

Temporary policies have limited value



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