Do People Really Have Inflation Expectations?

A common feature of macroeconomics is to run models assuming that individuals in the economy have inflation expectations. This flows naturally from assuming that they have rational expectations (can accurately predict the future and fully understand how the economy works). The standard reason for why we need inflation expectations is that during the 70s the government tried to trade off low unemployment in exchange for higher inflation. However, (so the story goes) people got wise to this trick and began to expect higher inflation and demand higher wages to compensate. As a result, government policy lost its effect and unemployment rose. Since then, economic modelling and discussions of unemployment and inflation must contain some provision for what consumers expect inflation to be. Continue reading “Do People Really Have Inflation Expectations?”

What Is Modern Monetary Theory?

The crisis has given rise to a range of new ideas and theories to replace the discredited view of the economy. The newest and most imaginative of these is known as Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and is one of the first theories to owe its growth to the internet. Without a doubt MMT is radical and completely turns established economic thinking on its head. If it is correct then it would change the way we think about the economy forever.

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Why Do We Print Money?

Printing money seems like a no-brainer. Surely it’s extremely obvious that printing money is a recipe for disaster that will result in hyperinflation. Surely the obvious action is to not print money and therefore avoid inflation. Yet every year, every country prints money. Why? Surely the money supply should be fixed. What possible reason could central banks have for risking massive inflation? Why do we print money? Continue reading “Why Do We Print Money?”

The Money Illusion

What if I told you about an economic theory that assumed every person in the economy understood economic terms and kept up to date with the state of the economy? To be exact, what if I told you about a theory that assumed everyone in the economy based their decisions on the rate of inflation? You’d (rightly) say that was a daft and unrealistic assumption completely out of touch with how real people think. The reason for this is due to what is known as the Money Illusion. Continue reading “The Money Illusion”