On Inequality of Wealth and Income – Causes and Consequences

 On Inequality of Wealth and Income – Causes and Consequences

 

Disparity in Wealth and Income of American workers/household is a hot public policy/economic/social/political issue.

  • Wealth (Stock)
  • Income (Flow)

what are the causes and consequences of Inequality on economics and society?

 

From TRENDS IN INCOME INEQUALITY AND ITS IMPACT ON ECONOMIC GROWTH (OECD)

The disparity in the distribution of household incomes has been rising over the past three decades in a vast majority of OECD countries and such long-term trend was interrupted only temporarily in the first years of the Great Recession. Addressing these trends has moved to the top of the policy agenda in many countries. This is partly due to worries that a persistently unbalanced sharing of the growth dividend will result in social resentment, fuelling populist and protectionist sentiments, and leading to political instability. Recent discussions, particularly in the US, about increased inequality being one possible cause of the 2008 financial crisis also contributed to its relevance for policy making. But another growing reason for the strong interest of policy makers in inequality is concern about whether the cumulatively large and sometimes rapid increase in inequality might have an effect on economic growth and on the pace of exit from the current recession. Is inequality a pre-requisite for growth? Or does a greater dispersion of incomes across individuals rather undermine growth? And which are the short and long-term consequences of redistributive policies on growth?

From Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality: A Global Perspective (IMF)

Widening income inequality is the defining challenge of our time. In advanced economies, the gap between the rich and poor is at its highest level in decades. Inequality trends have been more mixed in emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs), with some countries experiencing declining inequality, but pervasive inequities in access to education, health care, and finance remain. Not surprisingly then, the extent of inequality, its drivers, and what to do about it have become some of the most hotly debated issues by policymakers and researchers alike. Against this background, the objective of this paper is two-fold.

First, we show why policymakers need to focus on the poor and the middle class. Earlier IMF work has shown that income inequality matters for growth and its sustainability. Our analysis suggests that the income distribution itself matters for growth as well. Specifically, if the income share of the top 20 percent (the rich) increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down. In contrast, an increase in the income share of the bottom 20 percent (the poor) is associated with higher GDP growth. The poor and the middle class matter the most for growth via a number of interrelated economic, social, and political channels.

Second, we investigate what explains the divergent trends in inequality developments across advanced economies and EMDCs, with a particular focus on the poor and the middle class. While most existing studies have focused on advanced countries and looked at the drivers of the Gini coefficient and the income of the rich, this study explores a more diverse group of countries and pays particular attention to the income shares of the poor and the middle class—the main engines of growth. Our analysis suggests that

  • Technological progress and the resulting rise in the skill premium (positives for growth and productivity) and the decline of some labor market institutions have contributed to inequality in both advanced economies and EMDCs. Globalization has played a smaller but reinforcing role. Interestingly, we find that rising skill premium is associated with widening income disparities in advanced countries, while financial deepening is associated with rising inequality in EMDCs, suggesting scope for policies that promote financial inclusion.

  • Policies that focus on the poor and the middle class can mitigate inequality. Irrespective of the level of economic development, better access to education and health care and well-targeted social policies, while ensuring that labor market institutions do not excessively penalize the poor, can help raise the income share for the poor and the middle class.

  • There is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling inequality. The nature of appropriate policies depends on the underlying drivers and country-specific policy and institutional settings. In advanced economies, policies should focus on reforms to increase human capital and skills, coupled with making tax systems more progressive. In EMDCs, ensuring financial deepening is accompanied with greater financial inclusion and creating incentives for lowering informality would be important. More generally, complementarities between growth and income equalityobjectives suggest that policies aimed at raising average living standards can also influence the distribution of income and ensure a more inclusive prosperity.

From World changes in inequality: an overview of facts, causes, consequences and policies (BIS)

Public concern about inequality has grown substantially in recent years. Politicians and journalists descant with increasing frequency on the increase in inequality as a threat to social stability, laying the blame on globalisation and its attendant so-called neo-liberal policies. There is certainly much truth in such views. However, the lack of rigour in the public debate is striking, and one may doubt whether a constructive discussion of inequality, its causes and its economic, social and political consequences can take place without more clarity. Is it really the case that inequality is everywhere increasing more or less continuously, as actually seems to be happening in the United States? What type of inequality are we talking about: earnings, market income, household disposable income per consumption unit, wealth? What matters most: the inequality of opportunity or the inequality of economic outcome, including income? What kind of measure should be used? The recently highly publicised share of the top 5, 1.1% taken from tax data may not evolve in the same way as the familiar Gini coefficient defined on disposable incomes. And, then, what is known about the nature of the unequalising forces that seem to affect our economies and what tools might be available to counteract them?

In an international survey conducted in 2010, people were asked how they thought inequality had changed over the previous 10 years.1 In few countries was the perception of inequality trends in agreement with what could be observed from standard statistical sources about inequality. US citizens felt inequality had remained the same, whereas it was surging by most accounts, Brazilians found it was also increasing despite the fact that, for the first time in over 40 years, inequality was declining, while French and Dutch people thought that inequality had increased although the usual inequality coefficients were remarkably stable.

Good policies must rely on precise diagnostics. It is the purpose of this paper to take stock of what is known at this stage about the evolution of inequality around the world. In so doing, it will be shown that an ever-increasing degree of inequality at all times and everywhere over the last 30 years is far from the reality, and that there is a high degree of specificity across countries. In turn, this suggests that the combination of equalising and unequalising forces may be quite different from one country to another. Some factors may be common and truly global but others may be country-specific, the outcome being quite variable across countries. It also follows that tools to correct inequality, if need be, may have to differ in nature depending on the causes of increased inequality.

Tackling all these issues in depth is beyond the scope of this paper. My aim is only to offer an overview of what is observed and the main ideas being debated in the field of economic inequality. The paper is organised as follows. It starts with a quick “tour d‘horizon“ of the evidence for the evolution of various dimensions of economic inequality. It then tackles the issue of the potential causes, identifying what may be seen as common to most countries and what may be specific. Finally, it touches upon the consequences of excessive inequality and the tools available to counter it, emphasising the rising constraints imposed by globalisation.

Causes of Inequality

  • Shareholder Capitalism
  • Focus on Cost Minimization
  • Focus on ROIC and Economic Value Added (EVA)
  • Consolidation – Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Free Trade Agreements – NAFTA
  • Increased Outsourcing
  • Global Commodity Chains
  • Global Production Networks
  • Global Value Chains
  • Lack of Educated Workforce
  • Lack of protection for Low income earners
  • Compensation for Executives vs Labor
  • Unemployment, Underemployment
  • Value of High Skilled Technical Workers
  • Technological Change
  • Skills Obsolescence

Consequences of Inequality

  • Impact on Effective Demand
  • Slows Economic Growth
  • Decreased Economic Mobility
  • Health and Social effects
  • Living Standards at the Bottom (Poverty)
  • Intergenerational Mobility
  • Democratic Process and Social Justice
  • Reduced Consumption
  • Financial Crisis
  • Social Cohesion
  • Global Imbalances
  • Hampers Poverty reduction
  • Access to Health services
  • Access to Financial Services
  • Access to Education

 

Key Sources of Research:

 

The Age of Inequality

Edited by Jeremy Gantz

2017

 

 

The Price of Inequality

Joseph Stiglitz

2012

A Firm-Level Perspective on the Role of Rents in the Rise in Inequality

Jason Furman

Peter Orszag

October 16, 2015

http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/teaching/FurmanOrszag15.pdf

Firming Up Inequality

Jae Song, David J. Price Fatih Guvenen, Nicholas Bloom

2015

http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/62587/1/dp1354.pdf

 

 

 TOWARDS A BROADER VIEW OF COMPETITION POLICY

 

Joseph E. Stiglitz

University Professor, Columbia University,

Chief Economist at the Roosevelt Institute

June 2017

https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/sites/jstiglitz/files/Towards%20a%20Broader%20View%20of%20Competition%20Policy_0.pdf

 

 

ACCOUNTING FOR RISING CORPORATE PROFITS: INTANGIBLES OR REGULATORY RENTS?

Boston University School of Law
Law & Economics Working Paper No. 16-18

November 9, 2016

https://www.bu.edu/law/files/2016/11/Accounting-for-Rising-Corporate-Profits.pdf

Inequality: Facts, Explanations, and Policies

Jason Furman
Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers

City College of New York New York, NY

October 17, 2016

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/page/files/20161017_furman_ccny_inequality_cea.pdf

Domestic Outsourcing, Rent Seeking, and Increasing Inequality

 Eileen Appelbaum

First Published July 21, 2017

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0486613417697121

 

Global Concentration and the Rise of China

Caroline Freund and Dario Sidhu

Peterson Institute for International Economics

http://econ.au.dk/fileadmin/Economics_Business/Research/Seminars/2016/Global_Concentration_Final.pdf

How Could Wage Inequality within and Across Enterprises Be Reduced?

Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 17-62

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 Last revised: 17 Aug 2017

Christian Moser

Columbia University

Date Written: December 15, 2016

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2983691

 

 

 

The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms

David Autor, David Dorn, Lawrence F. Katz, Christina Patterson, John Van Reenen

NBER Working Paper No. 23396
Issued in May 2017

http://www.nber.org/papers/w23396

Inequality: A Hidden Cost of Market Power

Posted: 29 Mar 2017 Last revised: 31 Mar 2017

Sean F. Ennis  Pedro Gonzaga  Chris Pike

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) – Competition Division

Date Written: March 6, 2017

https://papers.ssrn.com/Sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2942791

 

 

Wealth and Income Inequality in the Twenty-First Century

Joseph E. Stiglitz
International Economic Association World Congress
Mexico City
June 2017

https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/sites/jstiglitz/files/Wealth%20and%20Income%20Inequality%2021st%20Century.pdf

 

 

The Globalization of Production and Income Inequality in Rich Democracies

Matthew C Mahutga
Anthony Roberts
Ronald Kwon

Social Forces, Volume 96, Issue 1, 1 September 2017, Pages 181–214,

 

INCOME AND WEALTH INEQUALITY: EVIDENCE AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

EMMANUEL SAEZ

Contemporary Economic Policy

Vol. 35, No. 1, January 2017, 7–25
Online Early publication October 14, 2016

 

https://eml.berkeley.edu/~saez/SaezCEP2017.pdf

 

 

Consequences of Rising Income Inequality

BY KEVIN J. LANSING AND AGNIESZKA MARKIEWICZ

October 17, 2016

Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

 

http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/files/el2016-31.pdf

 

 

 

Top Incomes, Rising Inequality, and Welfare

Kevin J. Lansing
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Agnieszka Markiewicz

June 2016

http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/files/wp12-23bk.pdf

 

 

Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality: A Global Perspective

Era Dabla-Norris, Kalpana Kochhar, Frantisek Ricka, Nujin Suphaphiphat, and Evridiki Tsounta
(with contributions from Preya Sharma and Veronique Salins)

IMF

June 2015

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2015/sdn1513.pdf

 

 

Piketty, Thomas. 2014.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

 

 

Recent Trends in Household Wealth in the United States: Rising Debt and the Middle-Class Squeeze—an Update to 2007

Edward N. Wolff

Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

March 2010

http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_589.pdf

 

 

 

CONSUMPTION AND INCOME INEQUALITY IN THE U.S. SINCE THE 1960S

Bruce D. Meyer James X. Sullivan

NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

August 2017

http://www.nber.org/papers/w23655.pdf

 

 

Top Income Inequality in the 21st Century: Some Cautionary Notes

Fatih Guvenen Greg Kaplan

April 2, 2017

https://gregkaplan.uchicago.edu/sites/gregkaplan.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/top_income_inequality_web_April2_2017.pdf

 

FIFTY YEARS OF GROWTH IN AMERICAN CONSUMPTION, INCOME, AND WAGES

Bruce Sacerdote

May 16, 2017

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~bsacerdo/Sacerdote%2050%20Years%20of%20Growth%20in%20American%20Wages%20Income%20and%20Consumption%20May%202017.pdf

http://www.nber.org/papers/w23292.pdf

 

 

The Inequality Puzzle

BY LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS

 

http://democracyjournal.org/magazine/33/the-inequality-puzzle/

 

 

 

 GLOBAL INEQUALITY DYNAMICS: NEW FINDINGS FROM WID.WORLD

Facundo Alvaredo Lucas Chancel Thomas Piketty Emmanuel Saez Gabriel Zucman

NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
February 2017, Revised April 2017

 

http://www.nber.org/papers/w23119.pdf

 

 

 

Power and inequality in the global political economy

NICOLA PHILLIPS

March 2017

https://academic.oup.com/ia/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ia/iix019

 

 

 Outsourcing governance: states and the politics of a ‘global value chain world’

Frederick W. Mayer & Nicola Phillips

04 Jan 2017

 

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13563467.2016.1273341

 

 

What’s caused the rise in income inequality in the US?

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/05/whats-caused-the-rise-in-income-inequality-in-the-us/

Why are American Workers getting Poorer? China, Trade and Offshoring

Avraham Ebenstein, Ann Harrison, Margaret McMillan

NBER Working Paper No. 21027
Issued in March 2015

http://www.nber.org/papers/w21027

 

 

 

The Geography of Trade and Technology Shocks in the United States

David H. Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon H. Hanson

American Economic Review

May 2013

https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.103.3.220

 

Economic Consequences of Income Inequality

Jason Furman
Joseph E. Stiglitz

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/cee6/1573cd50b9c8eae3379cf1f1c92301f40927.pdf

 

Labor’s Declining Share of Income and Rising Inequality

https://www.clevelandfed.org/newsroom-and-events/publications/economic-commentary/2012-economic-commentaries/ec-201213-labors-declining-share-of-income-and-rising-inequality.aspx

 

 

World changes in inequality: an overview of facts, causes, consequences and policies

by François Bourguignon
Monetary and Economic Department
August 2017

BIS working paper

http://www.bis.org/publ/work654.pdf

“Trends in Income Inequality and its Impact on Economic Growth”

OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 163

http://www.oecd.org/social/inequality.htm

http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/trends-in-income-inequality-and-its-impact-on-economic-growth-SEM-WP163.pdf

 

Causes of income inequality in the United States

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_income_inequality_in_the_United_States

 

Economic inequality

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_inequality

 

 

Income inequality in the United States

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States

 

 

Redistribution, Inequality, and Growth

Prepared by Jonathan D. Ostry, Andrew Berg, Charalambos G. Tsangarides

 

April 2014

IMF

 

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2014/sdn1402.pdf

 

 

 

Understanding the Economic Impact of the H-1B Program on the U.S.

John Bound† Gaurav Khanna‡ Nicolas Morales§

April 20, 2017

 

http://www.nber.org/chapters/c13842.pdf

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Rising Profits, Rising Inequality, and Rising Industry Concentration in the USA

Rising Profits, Rising Inequality, and Rising Industry Concentration in the USA

 

There is a need for holistic/systemic understanding of causal relations among

  • Low Economic Growth
  • Low Real Long Term Interest Rates
  • Decreased Business Investment
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Activity
  • Industry Concentration
  • Decreased Competition
  • Rising Profits
  • Income Inequality
  • Shareholder Capitalism
  • Dividends Payouts
  • Buyback of Shares
  • Superstar Firms
  • Too Big to Fail
  • Oligopoly Economy / Oligarchy
  • Decreased Number of Stocks/Equities
  • Focus on Costs Minimization
  • Increased Outsourcing
  • Global Value Chains
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Market Power (Increased Market Share)
  • Decreased Dynamism
  • Herding by Suppliers
  • Labor Vs Executive Compensation
  • Unemployment
  • Concentration in Occupations

And don’t forget managerial focus on

  • Economic Value Added (EVA) since 1990s

 

There are two views to look at these issues

  • Aggregated View – Corporate Agglomeration and Spatial Dispersion / Extension
  • Disaggregated View – Micro Motives, Macro Behavior ( Bottom up Agent based view)

 

As the research papers below indicate, the scholarship is recent and need much more attention by the Economists and Policy makers.

 

From Is There a Connection Between Market Concentration and the Rise in Inequality?

The rise in wealth and income inequality has been at the forefront of the political debate in the U.S. in the last few years. At the same time, issues like market power and concentration, bigness, and antitrust have also come back into prominence, propelled by a growing body of research that points to diminishing competition across multiple American industries.

The possible connection between inequality and market concentration, however, has been relatively understudied for many years—until recent years, that is, when a sheafof new studies examining the interactions between concentration, market power, and inequality began to appear.

A 2015 paper by Jonathan Baker and Steven Salop, for instance, examined the connection between inequality and market power and argued that “because the creation and exercise of market power tend to raise the return to capital, market power contributes to the development and perpetuation of inequality.” Harvard Law School’s Einer Elhauge also found that horizontal shareholding likely leads to anti-competitive price raises and has regressive effects. Daniel Crane of the University of Michigan, however, contends that the connection between antitrust and wealth inequality has been grossly oversimplified by advocates of tougher antitrust enforcement.

Asked if there was a connection between concentration and inequality, Chicago Booth professors Austan Goolsbee, Steven Kaplan, and Sam Peltzman pointed to data being inconclusive. Goolsbee said: “Probably [there is a connection]. But we don’treally know more than correlations at this point.” Kaplan said his own research “suggests that winner-take-all markets (driven by technology and scale) play a rolein inequality. However, they may not play the most important role.” And Peltzmansaid that “The timing suggests so, but there are a lot of unconnected dots in this question.”

Is rising inequality connected to monopolies, rent-seeking, and concentration, or is it a result of larger forces like globalization and technology? Can antitrust be used effectively to mitigate inequality, or is concentration a sign of greater efficiency? These questions, and others, were debated by economists and legal scholars during a panel at the recent Stigler Center conference on concentration in America.

The panel featured Peter Orszag, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard Freres; Justin Pierce, a Senior Economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve; Lina Khan, a fellow at Open Markets program at New America; Sabeel Rahman, an Assistant Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School; Simcha Barkai, a PhD Candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; and German Gutierrez, a PhD Candidate at the New York University Stern School of Business. The panel was moderated by Matt Stoller of the Open Markets program at New America, who opened by observing that “a new kind of Brandeis School of antitrust is emerging, in terms of thinking about political economy.”

Much of the panel focused on the dramatic rise in corporate profits. A recent, much-discussed Stigler Center working paper by Simcha Barkai found that over the past 30 years, as labor’s share of output fell by 10 percent, the capital share declined even further. This finding goes against the argument that the labor share went down due to technological changes, or as Barkai put it: “We used to spend money on people, today we’re spending money on robots.”

Barkai’s paper finds no evidence to support the technological argument. “We’re spending less on all inputs. If you think of this from the perspective of a firm, this is terrific. After accounting for all of my costs—material inputs, workers, capital—I am left with a large amount of money, much more so than in the past.” What Barkai does find, however, is that profits have gone way up. From 1984 to 2014, the profit share increased from 2.5 percent of GDP to 15 percent.

“To give you a sense of how large these profits are, if you look over the past 30 years and you ask, ‘How much have profits increased?’ you can give a number in dollars. A better way to think about that is, “Per worker, how much have these dollars increased?” It’s about $14,000 per worker. That’s a really large number because, in 2014, personal median income was just over $28,000. It’s about half of personal median income,” said Barkai.

Barkai went on to say that these findings were more pronounced in industries that experienced an increase in concentration. “Those industries that have a large increase in concentration also have larger declines in the labor share,” he said. Barkai’s conclusions were echoed by a separate study that was recently published by David Autor, David Dorn, Lawrence Katz, Christina Patterson, and John Van Reenen, in which they found that higher concentration is connected to the fall in the labor share.

One way to consider the question of concentration and inequality, said Pierce, is to look at what happens to firms’ efficiency and markups as a result of a merger. In a recent paper with Bruce Blonigen, Pierce was able to utilize new techniques in order to isolate the effects of mergers in the manufacturing sector. Comparing data from factories that were acquired during mergers to similar factories that weren’t, and to factories where an acquisition has been announced but not yet completed, Pierce and Blonigen found no evidence of the standard argument that mergers benefit consumers by increasing efficiency, reducing production costs, and, in turn, lowering prices. Quite the opposite: they found evidence that mergers increase market power, allowing firms to generate higher profits by raising prices.

“What we find when we do this is that mergers on average are associated with increases in markups in a magnitude of 15 to 50 percent. When we look at the effect on productivity, we actually don’t find a statistically significant effect on productivity associated with mergers,” said Pierce.

Gutierrez, meanwhile, spoke about his 2016 paper with Thomas Philippon, in which the two found that concentrated industries with less entry and more concentration invest less. Before 2000, he explained, firms funneled about 20 cents of every dollar of surplus into investments. Since 2000, however, investments dropped by half—to 10 cents on the dollar.

Their findings, he said, rule out the argument that the drop in investments is related to control by the stock market. The data also rule out other theories, such as financial constraints, safety premiums, or globalization. “What we’re left with is competition, or lack of competition and governance,” said Gutierrez.

“What we find is that most industries have become more concentrated. That leads to a decrease in investment. It means less investment by leaders in particular, and at the industry as a whole. Some manufacturing industries have seen increased competition from China. For the U.S. in particular, we see that leaders invest more. They try and hold onto their position, but the overall effect is somewhat negative on aggregate investment in the U.S.”

How is this drop in investments connected to an increase in concentration? Gutierrez offered two hypotheses: one, that superstar firms, such as digital platforms, are more productive and are therefore capturing more market share. The second, he said, is increased regulation: “In particular, if you look at the cross section of industries, industries where regulation has increased have also tended to become more concentrated and have invested less.”

Orszag, the former head of the Office of Management and Budget and former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, co-authored a 2015 paper with former Obama economic adviser Jason Furman that explored the rise in “supernormal returns on capital” among firms that have limited competition. In the panel, he spoke about what he described as a “dramatic rise” in dispersion among firms in productivity and wages as an understudied driver of inequality.

“In general, if you look at most textbooks on economics and most discussions of public policy, firms are seen as this uninteresting thing that you have to deal with but don’t want to really get into the innards of. Why do some firms behave differently than others? Having now spent a bunch of time in the private sector, the culture in firms really is quite different. Firms do behave differently from one to another beyond just market structure. Within the same market in the same field, Firm A is not the same as Firm B, as people who work inside those firms know.”

Orszag pointed to OECD data that showed that top global firms have been largely exempted from the decline in productivity that advanced economies experienced over the last 10-15 years. “If there’s a structural explanation for that, whether it’s polarization or market structure or innovation, why is it affecting only the laggards in the industry and not those at the frontier? Secondly, why aren’t there more spillovers from the frontier firms within each sector to others? What is happening to the flow of information or the flow of technique or what have you that’s causing this broad, significant rise in productivity deltas across firms, even within the same sector?” he asked.

Orszag also suggested that contrary to media narratives that present growing gaps between CEO wages and median workers within each firm as a prominent driver of inequality, the bulk of the rise in wage gaps is happening between firms, and not within the firms themselves. Studies, he said, show a dramatic increase in between-firm wage inequality “and very little movement except at the very, very largest firms in within-firm inequality.”

Orszag added: “We don’t know exactly what’s causing this. This may be a sorting of workers. It may be sharing of rents in the form of wages for the top firms. It may be a whole variety of different things. What I do suggest is the vast majority of the discussion on income-and-wage inequality seems to just glide over this whole thing as if it doesn’t exist.”

A holistic approach to inequality and concentration

Khan, who in a recent paper with Sandeep Vaheesan explored the role of monopoly and oligopoly power in perpetuating inequality, argued that the way to understand the connection between market concentration and inequality is to take a more holistic approach.

The connection between excessive market concentration and inequality, she said, has been understudied for a long time. “We were really surprised to see that at the time, in 2014, there really wasn’t much research on this connection at all. The most comprehensive paper that we found was from 1975 by William Comanor and Robert Smiley, which found that monopoly power did in fact transfer wealth to the most affluent members of society and suggested that a more competitive economy would have more progressive redistributive effects,” said Kahn. “One way to understand why this connection between market concentration and inequality has been understudied is that the law decided that it wasn’t really important. Once we shifted from an antitrust approach that took a more holistic and multidimensional view of the effect of market power to an approach that privilege means prices, the research on these effects also took a hit.”

In their paper, Khan and Vaheesan argue that inequality not only harms efficiency, but also that firms use their market power to raise prices “above competitive levels to consumers and push prices below competitive levels for small producers.” The paper makes a case for more rigorous enforcement of antitrust laws, arguing that reinvigorating antitrust could be one possible remedy for the regressive redistributive effects of concentration and the political power of monopolies.

“I think at a very basic level, our current political economy reflects 30 years of doing antitrust in a very particular way,” said Khan, who listed several industries such as airlines, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and telecom, where prices have risen following mergers and industry consolidation.

“New business creation and growth have been on a secular decline. It’s worth recalling that in an earlier era, owning one’s own business was a form of asset building for the middle class, a way of passing on wealth to one’s children. This is especially still true in immigrant communities, where owning your own bodega or your own dry-cleaning service is a path of upward mobility. You can imagine how markets that shut out independent businesses are also effectively closing off that path of asset building,” said Khan.

Khan went on to discuss the political implications of excessive market power and how they can further entrench inequality. “Big firms and concentrated industries enjoy a level of political power that they can use to further entrench their economic dominance. Politics is another vessel by which we see this,” she said.

Rahman, author of the book Democracy Against Domination (Oxford University Press, 2016), also advocated for a wider view of the issue. “When we’re worried about the problem of concentration, I think it goes much broader than the specific areas of mergers and firm size, although that’s a big part of it,” he said.

“When we think about the good things that we want from the economy, we want it to be dynamic, we want it to be innovative, we want it to enable mobility. These things are not natural products. They are a property of the underlying structure of firms, of labor markets, of financial markets, and of policies, including antitrust,” said Rahman, who went on to discuss two aspects of the rise in concentration: digital platforms and the “Uber-ization” of more and more economic sectors, and what he described as a “growing geographic concentration of wealth, income, and opportunity between rural and urban.”

Rahman suggested that other tools, not just antitrust, could be used to combat excessive market power—particularly when it comes to the power of digital platforms. “The way I want to frame this is as a problem of concentration and inequality that warps the structure of opportunity in our economy,” said Rahman. “You have antitrust and public utility law, corporate governance, and labor law as three parts of the larger ecosystem of law and regulation that, coming out of that Progressive era debate about power, were the three complements that together, it was hoped, would produce a high-opportunity, a high-mobility economy that was open to all.”

 

Please also see my related post.

Low Interest Rates and Business Investments : Update August 2017

 

In addition to papers listed above, also see papers and articles mentioned in the references below.

Key sources of Research:

 

Rising Corporate Concentration, Declining Trade Union Power, and the Growing Income Gap: American Prosperity in Historical Perspective

Jordan Brennan

March 2016

 

http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/Brennan2016.pdf

They Just Get Bigger: How Corporate Mergers Strangle the Economy

Jordan Brennan

Feb 2017

http://evonomics.com/corporate-mergers-strangle-economy-jordan-brennan/

 The Oligarchy Economy: Concentrated Power, Income Inequality, and Slow Growth

Jordan Brennan

April 2016

http://evonomics.com/the-oligarchy-economy/

Declining Labor and Capital Shares

Simcha Barkai

November 2016

 

https://research.chicagobooth.edu/~/media/5872FBEB104245909B8F0AE8A84486C9.pdf

 

Lack of market competition, rising profits, and a new way to look at the division of income in the United States

Nov 2016

http://equitablegrowth.org/equitablog/lack-of-market-competition-rising-profits-and-a-new-way-to-look-at-the-division-of-income-in-the-united-states/

Rising U.S. business concentration and the decline in labor’s share of income

January 2017

http://equitablegrowth.org/equitablog/rising-concentration-declining-labor-share/

 

Concentrating on the Fall of the Labor Share

By DAVID AUTOR, DAVID DORN, LAWRENCE F. KATZ, CHRISTINA PATTERSON AND JOHN VAN REENEN

January 2017

http://www.nber.org/papers/w23108

Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S.

German Gutierrez and Thomas Philippon

March 2017

https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty-research/sites/faculty-research/files/finance/Macro%20Lunch/IK_Comp_v1.pdf

 

Dynamism in Retreat:  Consequences for Regions, Markets, and Workers

2017

 

https://eig.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Dynamism-in-Retreat.pdf

 

The Oligopoly Problem

 

NewYorker

 

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-oligopoly-problem

 

 

DOES INDUSTRY CONCENTRATION MATTER?

John J. Phelan

2014

Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research, Volume 15, Number 1, 2014

 

 

http://www.alliedacademies.org/articles/does-industry-concentration-matter.pdf

 

 

Increased Concentration of Occupations, Outsourcing, and Growing Wage Inequality in the United States

Elizabeth Weber Handwerker

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

April, 2017

 

http://www.sole-jole.org/17733.pdf

 

 

Measuring occupational concentration by industry

2014

 

https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-3/pdf/measuring-occupational-concentration-by-industry.pdf

 

 

Rising wage dispersion between white-collar and blue-collar workers and market concentration: The case of the USA, 1966-2011,

D. Ilhan

(2017)

 

https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/162859/1/893982539.pdf

 

 

 

Rising Profits Don’t Lift Workers’ Boats

2016

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-05/rising-profits-don-t-lift-workers-boats

Is There a Connection Between Market Concentration and the Rise in Inequality?

 A Firm-Level Perspective on the Role of Rents in the Rise in Inequality

Jason Furman Peter Orszag
October 16, 2015

 

http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/teaching/FurmanOrszag15.pdf

 Evidence for the Effects of Mergers on Market Power and Efficiency

Blonigen, Bruce A., and Justin R. Pierce

(2016).

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/feds/2016/files/2016082pap.pdf

 

 

Market Power and Inequality: The Antitrust Counterrevolution and its Discontents

11 Harvard Law & Policy Review 235 (2017)

24 Apr 2016Last revised: 22 Feb 2017

Lina Khan / Sandeep Vaheesan

 

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2769132

 

Too much of a good thing

Economist

March 26 2016

https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21695385-profits-are-too-high-america-needs-giant-dose-competition-too-much-good-thing

 

 The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms

David Autor, MIT and NBER

David Dorn, University of Zurich

Lawrence F. Katz, Harvard University and NBER

Christina Patterson, MIT

John Van Reenen, MIT and NBER

May 1, 2017

https://economics.mit.edu/files/12979

 

 

BENEFITS OF COMPETITION AND INDICATORS OF MARKET POWER

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/page/files/20160502_competition_issue_brief_updated_cea.pdf

 

 

 Market Concentration Grew During Obama Administration

SAM BATKINS, CURTIS ARNDT, BEN GITIS |

APRIL 7, 2016

 

https://www.americanactionforum.org/print/?url=https://www.americanactionforum.org/research/market-concentration-grew-obama-administration/

 Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Inequality

JONATHAN B. BAKER AND STEVEN C. SALOP

2015

http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2474&context=facpub

Horizontal Shareholding, Antitrust, Growth and Inequality

Are US Industries Becoming More Concentrated?

Gustavo Grullon   Yelena Larkin   Roni Michaely

Date Written: April 23, 2017

 

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2612047

Horizontal Shareholding

109 Harvard Law Review 1267 (2016)

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 16-17    22 Apr 2016

 

Einer Elhauge

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2632024

IS THERE A CONCENTRATION PROBLEM IN AMERICA?

MARCH 27–29, 2017

Conference at University of Chicago / Stigler Center

https://research.chicagobooth.edu/stigler/events/single-events/march-27-2017

 

 

“Reigniting Competition in the American Economy”

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Keynote Remarks at New America’s Open Markets Program Event June 29, 2016

 

https://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/2016-6-29_Warren_Antitrust_Speech.pdf

 

 

The Rise of Market Power and the Macroeconomic Implications

Jan De Loecker† Jan Eeckhout‡

August 24, 2017

http://www.janeeckhout.com/wp-content/uploads/RMP.pdf

The Rise of Market Power and the Decline of Labor’s Share

The Financialization of the U.S. Economy Has Produced Mechanisms That Lead Toward Concentration

 June 2017

“No Convincing Evidence That Concentration Has Been a Major Factor in Explaining Poor U.S. Economic Performance”

 March 2017

Economists: “Totality of Evidence” Underscores Concentration Problem in the U.S.

“I Suspect the Major Reason for the Rise in Concentration Is Technological Change, Particularly in IT”

“The Increase in Common Ownership Corresponds to the Concentration Increase That Several Large Mergers Would Create”

Worried About Concentration? Then Worry About Rent-Seeking

“There Is Unambiguous Evidence That Concentration Is on the Rise and Widespread Over Most Industries”

A Second Gilded Age: The Consolidation of Wealth and Corporate Power

AMERICAN CONSTITUTION SOCIETY

JUNE 16, 2017

 

Low Interest Rates and Business Investments : Update August 2017

Low Interest Rates and Business Investments : Update August 2017

 

From  Explaining Low Investment Spending

USINVEST

globalinvest

 

Please see my earlier posts.

Business Investments and Low Interest Rates

Mergers and Acquisitions – Long Term Trends and Waves

The Decline in Long Term Real Interest Rates

Short term Thinking in Investment Decisions of Businesses and Financial Markets

Low Interest Rates and Monetary Policy Effectiveness

Low Interest Rates and Banks’ Profitability : Update July 2017

Low Interest Rates and Banks Profitability: Update – December 2016

 

Since my earlier posts on this subject there has been several new studies published highlighting weakness in business investments as one of the cause of slower economic growth and lower interest rates.

Other significant factors impacting interest rates are demographic changes, and slower economic growth.

I argue that there is mutual (circular) causality in weak business investment, slower economic growth, and lower interest rates which reinforce each other.

 

Decreased competition, increased concentration, corporate savings glut, share buybacks, paying dividends are also identified as factors.

Number of public companies have decreased significantly in USA since 1996 due to M&A activity.   See the data below.

Increased Mergers/Acquisitions, Increased Concentration, Decreased Competition, Decreased Number of Public Companies, Share buybacks, and Dividend Payouts are multiple perspectives of same problem.

 

From The Incredible Shrinking Universe of Stocks

The Causes and Consequences of Fewer U.S. Equities

USNUMUSSTAT

 

Key sources of Research:

The Low Level of Global Real Interest Rates

Remarks by
Stanley Fischer
Vice Chairman
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

at the
Conference to Celebrate Arminio Fraga’s 60 Years
Casa das Garcas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

July 31, 2017

The Low Level of Global Real Interest Rates

 

 

INVESTMENT-LESS GROWTH: AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION

German Gutierrez Thomas Philippon

Working Paper 22897

NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

December 2016

 

INVESTMENT-LESS GROWTH: AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION

 

 

Explaining Low Investment Spending

The NBER Digest
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

February 2017

Explaining Low Investment Spending

 

 

The Secular Stagnation of Investment?

Callum Jones and Thomas Philippon

December 2016

 

The Secular Stagnation of Investment?

 

 

Is there an investment gap in advanced economies? If so, why?

By Robin Dottling, German Gutierrez and Thomas Philippon

 

Is there an investment gap in advanced economies? If so, why?

 

 

The Disappointing Recovery of Output after 2009

JOHN G. FERNALD ROBERT E. HALL

JAMES H. STOCK MARK W. WATSON

May 2, 2017

The Disappointing Recovery of Output after 2009

 

 

Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S.

German Gutierrez and Thomas Philippon

NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

July 2017

 

Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S

 

 

Real Interest Rates Over the Long Run : Decline and convergence since the 1980s

Kei-Mu Yi   Jing Zhang

ECONOMIC POLICY PAPER 16-10 SEPTEMBER 2016

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of MINNEAPOLIS

Real Interest Rates over the Long Run Decline and convergence since the 1980s, due significantly to factors causing lower investment demand

 

 

Understanding global trends in long-run real interest rates

Kei-Mu Yi and Jing Zhang

Economic Perspectives, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2017
Chicago Fed Reserve Bank

 

Understanding Global Trends in Long-run Real Interest Rates

 

 

Weakness in Investment Growth: Causes, Implications and Policy Responses

CAMA Working Paper 19/2017 March 2017

M. Ayhan Kose

Franziska Ohnsorge

Lei Sandy Ye

Ergys Islamaj

 

Weakness in Investment Growth: Causes, Implications and Policy Responses

 

 

Are US Industries Becoming More Concentrated?

Gustavo Grullon, Yelena Larkin and Roni Michaely

October 2016

 

Are US Industries Becoming More Concentrated?

 

 

Why Is Global Business Investment So Weak? Some Insights from Advanced Economies

 

Robert Fay, Justin-Damien Guénette, Martin Leduc and Louis Morel,

International Economic Analysis Department

Bank of Canada Review Spring 2017

 

Why Is Global Business Investment So Weak? Some Insights from Advanced Economies

 

 

What Is Behind the Weakness in Global Investment?

by Maxime Leboeuf and Bob Fay

2016

Bank of Canada

 

What Is Behind the Weakness in Global Investment?

 A Structural Interpretation of the Recent Weakness in Business Investment

by Russell Barnett and Rhys Mendes

 The Corporate Saving Glut in the Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis

 

Gruber, Joseph W., and Steven B. Kamin

International Finance Discussion Papers
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Number 1150 October 2015

 

The Corporate Saving Glut in the Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis

 

 

The Incredible Shrinking Universe of Stocks

The Causes and Consequences of Fewer U.S. Equities

March 22, 2017

GLOBAL FINANCIAL STRATEGIES

http://www.credit-suisse.com

 

The Incredible Shrinking Universe of Stocks The Causes and Consequences of Fewer U.S. Equities

 

 

They Just Get Bigger: How Corporate Mergers Strangle the Economy

Jordan Brennan

2017 February 19

They Just Get Bigger: How Corporate Mergers Strangle the Economy

 

 

Rising Corporate Concentration, Declining Trade Union Power, and the Growing Income Gap: American Prosperity in Historical Perspective

Jordan Brennan

March 2016

 

Rising Corporate Concentration, Declining Trade Union Power, and the Growing Income Gap: American Prosperity in Historical Perspective

 

 

The Oligarchy Economy: Concentrated Power, Income Inequality, and Slow Growth

Corporate concentration exacerbates income inequality

 

Jordan Brennan

March 2016

http://evonomics.com/the-oligarchy-economy/

Short term Thinking in Investment Decisions of Businesses and Financial Markets

Short term Thinking in Investment Decisions of Businesses and Financial Markets

 

When companies buyback shares and pay dividends rather than investing in new capacity, it leads to low economic growth and low aggregate demand.

Central Banks respond by cutting interest rates.  Yet Businesses do not invest in new capacity.

Many studies attribute this to short term thinking dominant in corporate investment decisions.  Pressures from shareholders push corporate managers to be short term oriented.

Many economists and thinkers have criticized this recently as advanced economies are suffering from anemic growth.

Larry Summers has invoked Secular Stagnation.  He says one of the reason for Secular Stagnation is short term thinking.

Andy Haldane of Bank of England has criticized short term thinking as it prevents investments and causes low economic growth.

Key Terms:

  • Quarterly Capitalism
  • Secular Stagnation
  • Short Term Thinking
  • Low Economic Growth
  • Business Investments
  • Real Interest Rates
  • Monetary Policy
  • Income and Wealth Inequality
  • Aggregate Demand
  • Productive Capacity
  • Productivity growth
  • Long Term Investments
  • Share Buybacks
  • Dividends
  • Corporate Cash Pools

 

Capitalism for the Long Term

The near meltdown of the financial system and the ensuing Great Recession have been, and will remain, the defining issue for the current generation of executives. Now that the worst seems to be behind us, it’s tempting to feel deep relief—and a strong desire to return to the comfort of business as usual. But that is simply not an option. In the past three years we’ve already seen a dramatic acceleration in the shifting balance of power between the developed West and the emerging East, a rise in populist politics and social stresses in a number of countries, and significant strains on global governance systems. As the fallout from the crisis continues, we’re likely to see increased geopolitical rivalries, new international security challenges, and rising tensions from trade, migration, and resource competition. For business leaders, however, the most consequential outcome of the crisis is the challenge to capitalism itself.

That challenge did not just arise in the wake of the Great Recession. Recall that trust in business hit historically low levels more than a decade ago. But the crisis and the surge in public antagonism it unleashed have exacerbated the friction between business and society. On top of anxiety about persistent problems such as rising income inequality, we now confront understandable anger over high unemployment, spiraling budget deficits, and a host of other issues. Governments feel pressure to reach ever deeper inside businesses to exert control and prevent another system-shattering event.

My goal here is not to offer yet another assessment of the actions policymakers have taken or will take as they try to help restart global growth. The audience I want to engage is my fellow business leaders. After all, much of what went awry before and after the crisis stemmed from failures of governance, decision making, and leadership within companies. These are failures we can and should address ourselves.

In an ongoing effort that started 18 months ago, I’ve met with more than 400 business and government leaders across the globe. Those conversations have reinforced my strong sense that, despite a certain amount of frustration on each side, the two groups share the belief that capitalism has been and can continue to be the greatest engine of prosperity ever devised—and that we will need it to be at the top of its job-creating, wealth-generating game in the years to come. At the same time, there is growing concern that if the fundamental issues revealed in the crisis remain unaddressed and the system fails again, the social contract between the capitalist system and the citizenry may truly rupture, with unpredictable but severely damaging results.

Most important, the dialogue has clarified for me the nature of the deep reform that I believe business must lead—nothing less than a shift from what I call quarterly capitalism to what might be referred to as long-term capitalism. (For a rough definition of “long term,” think of the time required to invest in and build a profitable new business, which McKinsey research suggests is at least five to seven years.) This shift is not just about persistently thinking and acting with a next-generation view—although that’s a key part of it. It’s about rewiring the fundamental ways we govern, manage, and lead corporations. It’s also about changing how we view business’s value and its role in society.

There are three essential elements of the shift. First, business and finance must jettison their short-term orientation and revamp incentives and structures in order to focus their organizations on the long term. Second, executives must infuse their organizations with the perspective that serving the interests of all major stakeholders—employees, suppliers, customers, creditors, communities, the environment—is not at odds with the goal of maximizing corporate value; on the contrary, it’s essential to achieving that goal. Third, public companies must cure the ills stemming from dispersed and disengaged ownership by bolstering boards’ ability to govern like owners.

When making major decisions, Asians typically think in terms of at least 10 to 15 years. In the U.S. and Europe, nearsightedness is the norm.

None of these ideas, or the specific proposals that follow, are new. What is new is the urgency of the challenge. Business leaders today face a choice: We can reform capitalism, or we can let capitalism be reformed for us, through political measures and the pressures of an angry public. The good news is that the reforms will not only increase trust in the system; they will also strengthen the system itself. They will unleash the innovation needed to tackle the world’s grand challenges, pave the way for a new era of shared prosperity, and restore public faith in business.

1. Fight the Tyranny of Short-Termism

As a Canadian who for 25 years has counseled business, public sector, and nonprofit leaders across the globe (I’ve lived in Toronto, Sydney, Seoul, Shanghai, and now London), I’ve had a privileged glimpse into different societies’ values and how leaders in various cultures think. In my view, the most striking difference between East and West is the time frame leaders consider when making major decisions. Asians typically think in terms of at least 10 to 15 years. For example, in my discussions with the South Korean president Lee Myung-bak shortly after his election in 2008, he asked us to help come up with a 60-year view of his country’s future (though we settled for producing a study called National Vision 2020.) In the U.S. and Europe, nearsightedness is the norm. I believe that having a long-term perspective is the competitive advantage of many Asian economies and businesses today.

Myopia plagues Western institutions in every sector. In business, the mania over quarterly earnings consumes extraordinary amounts of senior time and attention. Average CEO tenure has dropped from 10 to six years since 1995, even as the complexity and scale of firms have grown. In politics, democracies lurch from election to election, with candidates proffering dubious short-term panaceas while letting long-term woes in areas such as economic competitiveness, health, and education fester. Even philanthropy often exhibits a fetish for the short term and the new, with grantees expected to become self-sustaining in just a few years.

Lost in the frenzy is the notion that long-term thinking is essential for long-term success. Consider Toyota, whose journey to world-class manufacturing excellence was years in the making. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s it endured low to nonexistent sales in the U.S.—and it even stopped exporting altogether for one bleak four-year period—before finally emerging in the following decades as a global leader. Think of Hyundai, which experienced quality problems in the late 1990s but made a comeback by reengineering its cars for long-term value—a strategy exemplified by its unprecedented introduction, in 1999, of a 10-year car warranty. That radical move, viewed by some observers as a formula for disaster, helped Hyundai quadruple U.S. sales in three years and paved the way for its surprising entry into the luxury market.

To be sure, long-term perspectives can be found in the West as well. For example, in 1985, in the face of fierce Japanese competition, Intel famously decided to abandon its core business, memory chips, and focus on the then-emerging business of microprocessors. This “wrenching” decision was “nearly inconceivable” at the time, says Andy Grove, who was then the company’s president. Yet by making it, Intel emerged in a few years on top of a new multi-billion-dollar industry. Apple represents another case in point. The iPod, released in 2001, sold just 400,000 units in its first year, during which Apple’s share price fell by roughly 25%. But the board took the long view. By late 2009 the company had sold 220 million iPods—and revolutionized the music business.

It’s fair to say, however, that such stories are countercultural. In the 1970s the average holding period for U.S. equities was about seven years; now it’s more like seven months. According to a recent paper by Andrew Haldane, of the Bank of England, such churning has made markets far more volatile and produced yawning gaps between corporations’ market price and their actual value. Then there are the “hyperspeed” traders (some of whom hold stocks for only a few seconds), who now account for 70% of all U.S. equities trading, by one estimate. In response to these trends, executives must do a better job of filtering input, and should give more weight to the views of investors with a longer-term, buy-and-hold orientation.

If they don’t, short-term capital will beget short-term management through a natural chain of incentives and influence. If CEOs miss their quarterly earnings targets, some big investors agitate for their removal. As a result, CEOs and their top teams work overtime to meet those targets. The unintended upshot is that they manage for only a small portion of their firm’s value. When McKinsey’s finance experts deconstruct the value expectations embedded in share prices, we typically find that 70% to 90% of a company’s value is related to cash flows expected three or more years out. If the vast majority of most firms’ value depends on results more than three years from now, but management is preoccupied with what’s reportable three months from now, then capitalism has a problem.

Roughly 70% of all U.S. equities trading is now done by “hyperspeed” traders—some of whom hold stocks for only a few seconds.

Some rightly resist playing this game. Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Ford, to name just a few, have stopped issuing earnings guidance altogether. Google never did. IBM has created five-year road maps to encourage investors to focus more on whether it will reach its long-term earnings targets than on whether it exceeds or misses this quarter’s target by a few pennies. “I can easily make my numbers by cutting SG&A or R&D, but then we wouldn’t get the innovations we need,” IBM’s CEO, Sam Palmisano, told us recently. Mark Wiseman, executive vice president at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, advocates investing “for the next quarter century,” not the next quarter. And Warren Buffett has quipped that his ideal holding period is “forever.” Still, these remain admirable exceptions.

To break free of the tyranny of short-termism, we must start with those who provide capital. Taken together, pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, and sovereign wealth funds hold $65 trillion, or roughly 35% of the world’s financial assets. If these players focus too much attention on the short term, capitalism as a whole will, too.

In theory they shouldn’t, because the beneficiaries of these funds have an obvious interest in long-term value creation. But although today’s standard practices arose from the desire to have a defensible, measurable approach to portfolio management, they have ended up encouraging shortsightedness. Fund trustees, often advised by investment consultants, assess their money managers’ performance relative to benchmark indices and offer only short-term contracts. Those managers’ compensation is linked to the amount of assets they manage, which typically rises when short-term performance is strong. Not surprisingly, then, money managers focus on such performance—and pass this emphasis along to the companies in which they invest. And so it goes, on down the line.

Only 45% of those surveyed in the U.S. and the UK expressed trust in business. This stands in stark contrast to developing countries: For example, the figure is 61% in China, 70% in India, and 81% in Brazil.

As the stewardship advocate Simon Wong points out, under the current system pension funds deem an asset manager who returns 10% to have underperformed if the relevant benchmark index rises by 12%. Would it be unthinkable for institutional investors instead to live with absolute gains on the (perfectly healthy) order of 10%—especially if they like the approach that delivered those gains—and review performance every three or five years, instead of dropping the 10-percenter? Might these big funds set targets for the number of holdings and rates of turnover, at least within the “fundamental investing” portion of their portfolios, and more aggressively monitor those targets? More radically, might they end the practice of holding thousands of stocks and achieve the benefits of diversification with fewer than a hundred—thereby increasing their capacity to effectively engage with the businesses they own and improve long-term performance? Finally, could institutional investors beef up their internal skills and staff to better execute such an agenda? These are the kinds of questions we need to address if we want to align capital’s interests more closely with capitalism’s.

2. Serve Stakeholders, Enrich Shareholders

The second imperative for renewing capitalism is disseminating the idea that serving stakeholders is essential to maximizing corporate value. Too often these aims are presented as being in tension: You’re either a champion of shareholder value or you’re a fan of the stakeholders. This is a false choice.

The inspiration for shareholder-value maximization, an idea that took hold in the 1970s and 1980s, was reasonable: Without some overarching financial goal with which to guide and gauge a firm’s performance, critics feared, managers could divert corporate resources to serve their own interests rather than the owners’. In fact, in the absence of concrete targets, management might become an exercise in politics and stakeholder engagement an excuse for inefficiency. Although this thinking was quickly caricatured in popular culture as the doctrine of “greed is good,” and was further tarnished by some companies’ destructive practices in its name, in truth there was never any inherent tension between creating value and serving the interests of employees, suppliers, customers, creditors, communities, and the environment. Indeed, thoughtful advocates of value maximization have always insisted that it is long-term value that has to be maximized.

Capitalism’s founding philosopher voiced an even bolder aspiration. “All the members of human society stand in need of each others assistance, and are likewise exposed to mutual injuries,” Adam Smith wrote in his 1759 work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. “The wise and virtuous man,” he added, “is at all times willing that his own private interest should be sacrificed to the public interest,” should circumstances so demand.

Smith’s insight into the profound interdependence between business and society, and how that interdependence relates to long-term value creation, still reverberates. In 2008 and again in 2010, McKinsey surveyed nearly 2,000 executives and investors; more than 75% said that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives create corporate value in the long term. Companies that bring a real stakeholder perspective into corporate strategy can generate tangible value even sooner. (See the sidebar “Who’s Getting It Right?”)

Creating direct business value, however, is not the only or even the strongest argument for taking a societal perspective. Capitalism depends on public trust for its legitimacy and its very survival. According to the Edelman public relations agency’s just-released 2011 Trust Barometer, trust in business in the U.S. and the UK (although up from mid-crisis record lows) is only in the vicinity of 45%. This stands in stark contrast to developing countries: For example, the figure is 61% in China, 70% in India, and 81% in Brazil. The picture is equally bleak for individual corporations in the Anglo-American world, “which saw their trust rankings drop again last year to near-crisis lows,” says Richard Edelman.

How can business leaders restore the public’s trust? Many Western executives find that nothing in their careers has prepared them for this new challenge. Lee Scott, Walmart’s former CEO, has been refreshingly candid about arriving in the top job with a serious blind spot. He was plenty busy minding the store, he says, and had little feel for the need to engage as a statesman with groups that expected something more from the world’s largest company. Fortunately, Scott was a fast learner, and Walmart has become a leader in environmental and health care issues.

Tomorrow’s CEOs will have to be, in Joseph Nye’s apt phrase, “tri-sector athletes”: able and experienced in business, government, and the social sector. But the pervading mind-set gets in the way of building those leadership and management muscles. “Analysts and investors are focused on the short term,” one executive told me recently. “They believe social initiatives don’t create value in the near term.” In other words, although a large majority of executives believe that social initiatives create value in the long term, they don’t act on this belief, out of fear that financial markets might frown. Getting capital more aligned with capitalism should help businesses enrich shareholders by better serving stakeholders.

3. Act Like You Own the Place

As the financial sector’s troubles vividly exposed, when ownership is broadly fragmented, no one acts like he’s in charge. Boards, as they currently operate, don’t begin to serve as a sufficient proxy. All the Devils Are Here, by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, describes how little awareness Merrill Lynch’s board had of the firm’s soaring exposure to subprime mortgage instruments until it was too late. “I actually don’t think risk management failed,” Larry Fink, the CEO of the investment firm BlackRock, said during a 2009 debate about the future of capitalism, sponsored by the Financial Times. “I think corporate governance failed, because…the boards didn’t ask the right questions.”

What McKinsey has learned from studying successful family-owned companies suggests a way forward: The most effective ownership structure tends to combine some exposure in the public markets (for the discipline and capital access that exposure helps provide) with a significant, committed, long-term owner. Most large public companies, however, have extremely dispersed ownership, and boards rarely perform the single-owner-proxy role. As a result, CEOs too often listen to the investors (and members of the media) who make the most noise. Unfortunately, those parties tend to be the most nearsighted ones. And so the tyranny of the short term is reinforced.

The answer is to renew corporate governance by rooting it in committed owners and by giving those owners effective mechanisms with which to influence management. We call this ownership-based governance, and it requires three things:

Just 43% of the nonexecutive directors of public companies believe they significantly influence strategy. For this to change, board members must devote much more time to their roles.

More-effective boards.

In the absence of a dominant shareholder (and many times when there is one), the board must represent a firm’s owners and serve as the agent of long-term value creation. Even among family firms, the executives of the top-performing companies wield their influence through the board. But only 43% of the nonexecutive directors of public companies believe they significantly influence strategy. For this to change, board members must devote much more time to their roles. A government-commissioned review of the governance of British banks last year recommended an enormous increase in the time required of nonexecutive directors of banks—from the current average, between 12 and 20 days annually, to between 30 and 36 days annually. What’s especially needed is an increase in the informal time board members spend with investors and executives. The nonexecutive board directors of companies owned by private equity firms spend 54 days a year, on average, attending to the company’s business, and 70% of that time consists of informal meetings and conversations. Four to five days a month obviously give a board member much greater understanding and impact than the three days a quarter (of which two may be spent in transit) devoted by the typical board member of a public company.

Boards also need much more relevant experience. Industry knowledge—which four of five nonexecutive directors of big companies lack—helps boards identify immediate opportunities and reduce risk. Contextual knowledge about the development path of an industry—for example, whether the industry is facing consolidation, disruption from new technologies, or increased regulation—is highly valuable, too. Such insight is often obtained from experience with other industries that have undergone a similar evolution.

In addition, boards need more-effective committee structures—obtainable through, for example, the establishment of a strategy committee or of dedicated committees for large business units. Directors also need the resources to allow them to form independent views on strategy, risk, and performance (perhaps by having a small analytical staff that reports only to them). This agenda implies a certain professionalization of nonexecutive directorships and a more meaningful strategic partnership between boards and top management. It may not please some executive teams accustomed to boards they can easily “manage.” But given the failures of governance to date, it is a necessary change.

More-sensible CEO pay.

An important task of governance is setting executive compensation. Although 70% of board directors say that pay should be tied more closely to performance, CEO pay is too often structured to reward a leader simply for having made it to the top, not for what he or she does once there. Meanwhile, polls show that the disconnect between pay and performance is contributing to the decline in public esteem for business.

Companies should create real risk for executives.Some experts privately suggest mandating that new executives invest a year’s salary in the company.

CEOs and other executives should be paid to act like owners. Once upon a time we thought that stock options would achieve this result, but stock-option- based compensation schemes have largely incentivized the wrong behavior. When short-dated, options lead to a focus on meeting quarterly earnings estimates; even when long-dated (those that vest after three years or more), they can reward managers for simply surfing industry- or economy-wide trends (although reviewing performance against an appropriate peer index can help minimize free rides). Moreover, few compensation schemes carry consequences for failure—something that became clear during the financial crisis, when many of the leaders of failed institutions retired as wealthy people.

There will never be a one-size-fits-all solution to this complex issue, but companies should push for change in three key areas:

• They should link compensation to the fundamental drivers of long-term value, such as innovation and efficiency, not just to share price.

• They should extend the time frame for executive evaluations—for example, using rolling three-year performance evaluations, or requiring five-year plans and tracking performance relative to plan. This would, of course, require an effective board that is engaged in strategy formation.

• They should create real downside risk for executives, perhaps by requiring them to put some skin in the game. Some experts we’ve surveyed have privately suggested mandating that new executives invest a year’s salary in the company.

Redefined shareholder “democracy.”

The huge increase in equity churn in recent decades has spawned an anomaly of governance: At any annual meeting, a large number of those voting may soon no longer be shareholders. The advent of high-frequency trading will only worsen this trend. High churn rates, short holding periods, and vote-buying practices may mean the demise of the “one share, one vote” principle of governance, at least in some circumstances. Indeed, many large, top-performing companies, such as Google, have never adhered to it. Maybe it’s time for new rules that would give greater weight to long-term owners, like the rule in some French companies that gives two votes to shares held longer than a year. Or maybe it would make sense to assign voting rights based on the average turnover of an investor’s portfolio. If we want capitalism to focus on the long term, updating our notions of shareholder democracy in such ways will soon seem less like heresy and more like common sense.

While I remain convinced that capitalism is the economic system best suited to advancing the human condition, I’m equally persuaded that it must be renewed, both to deal with the stresses and volatility ahead and to restore business’s standing as a force for good, worthy of the public’s trust. The deficiencies of the quarterly capitalism of the past few decades were not deficiencies in capitalism itself—just in that particular variant. By rebuilding capitalism for the long term, we can make it stronger, more resilient, more equitable, and better able to deliver the sustainable growth the world needs. The three imperatives outlined above can be a start along this path and, I hope, a way to launch the conversation; others will have their own ideas to add.

The kind of deep-seated, systemic changes I’m calling for can be achieved only if boards, business executives, and investors around the world take responsibility for bettering the system they lead. Such changes will not be easy; they are bound to encounter resistance, and business leaders today have more than enough to do just to keep their companies running well. We must make the effort regardless. If capitalism emerges from the crisis vibrant and renewed, future generations will thank us. But if we merely paper over the cracks and return to our precrisis views, we will not want to read what the historians of the future will write. The time to reflect—and to act—is now.

 

Please see my other related posts.

Business Investments and Low Interest Rates

Mergers and Acquisitions – Long Term Trends and Waves

 

 

Key sources of Research:

Secular stagnation and low investment: Breaking the vicious cycle—a discussion paper

McKinsey

http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/europe/secular-stagnation-and-low-investment-breaking-the-vicious-cycle

Case Still Out on Whether Corporate Short-Termism Is a Problem

Larry Summers

http://larrysummers.com/2017/02/09/case-still-out-on-whether-corporate-short-termism-is-a-problem/

Where companies with a long-term view outperform their peers

McKinsey

http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/long-term-capitalism/where-companies-with-a-long-term-view-outperform-their-peers

How short-term thinking hampers long-term economic growth

FT

https://www.ft.com/content/8c868a98-b821-11e4-b6a5-00144feab7de

Anthony Hilton: Short-term thinking hits nations as a whole, not just big business

http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/anthony-hilton-short-term-thinking-hits-nations-as-a-whole-not-just-big-business-10427294.html

Short-termism in business: causes, mechanisms and consequences

EY Poland Report

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY_Poland_Report/$FILE/Short-termism_raport_EY.pdf

Overcoming the Barriers to Long-term Thinking in Financial Markets

Ruth Curran and Alice Chapple
Forum for the Future

https://www.forumforthefuture.org/sites/default/files/project/downloads/long-term-thinking-fpf-report-july-11.pdf

Understanding Short-Termism: Questions and Consequences

http://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Understanding-Short-Termism.pdf

Ending Short-Termism : An Investment Agenda for Growth

http://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Ending-Short-Termism.pdf

The Short Long

Speech by
Andrew G Haldane, Executive Director, Financial Stability, and Richard Davies

Brussels May 2011

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/historicpubs/speeches/2011/speech495.pdf

Capitalism for the Long Term

Dominic Barton

From the March 2011 Issue

https://hbr.org/2011/03/capitalism-for-the-long-term

Quarterly capitalism: The pervasive effects of short-termism and austerity

https://currentlyunderdevelopment.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/quarterly-capitalism-the-pervasive-effects-of-short-termism-and-austerity/

Is Short-Term Behavior Jeopardizing the Future Prosperity of Business?

http://www.wlrk.com/docs/IsShortTermBehaviorJeopardizingTheFutureProsperityOfBusiness_CEOStrategicimplications.pdf

Andrew G Haldane: The short long

Speech by Mr Andrew Haldane, Executive Director, Financial Stability, and Mr Richard
Davies, Economist, Financial Institutions Division, Bank of England,
at the 29th Société
Universitaire Européene de Recherches Financières Colloquium,
Brussels, 11 May 2011

http://www.bis.org/review/r110511e.pdf

THE UNEASY CASE FOR FAVORING LONG-TERM SHAREHOLDERS

Jesse M. Fried

https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/17985223/Fried_795.pdf?sequence=1

The fringe economic theory that might get traction in the 2016 campaign

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/02/the-fringe-economic-theory-that-might-get-traction-in-the-2016-campaign/?utm_term=.932bc0b97758

FCLT Global:  Focusing Capital on the Long Term

Publications

http://www.fcltglobal.org/insights/publications

Finally, Evidence That Managing for the Long Term Pays Off

Dominic Barton

James Manyika

Sarah Keohane Williamson

February 07, 2017 UPDATED February 09, 2017

https://hbr.org/2017/02/finally-proof-that-managing-for-the-long-term-pays-off

Focusing Capital on the Long Term

Dominic Barton

Mark Wiseman

From the January–February 2014 Issue

Is Corporate Short-Termism Really a Problem? The Jury’s Still Out

Lawrence H. Summers

February 16, 2017

Yes, Short-Termism Really Is a Problem

Roger L. Martin

October 09, 2015

Long-Termism or Lemons

The Role of Public Policy in Promoting Long-Term Investments

By Marc Jarsulic, Brendan V. Duke, and Michael Madowitz October 2015

Center for American Progress

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/21060054/LongTermism-reportB.pdf

 

Overcoming Short-termism: A Call for A More Responsible Approach to Investment and Business Management

https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2009/09/11/overcoming-short-termism-a-call-for-a-more-responsible-approach-to-investment-and-business-management/

 

 

Focusing capital on the Long Term

Jean-Hugues Monier – Senior Parter – McKinsey & Company

Princeton University – November 2016

http://jrc.princeton.edu/sites/jrc/files/jean-hugues_j._monier_slides_final.pdf

A Brief History of Macro-Economic Modeling, Forecasting, and Policy Analysis

A Brief History of Macro-Economic Modeling, Forecasting, and Policy Analysis

 

From A History of Macroeconomics from Keynes to Lucas and Beyond

history-of-macro

 

From Modern Macroeconomic Models as Tools for Economic Policy

I believe that during the last financial crisis, macroeconomists (and I include myself among them) failed the country, and indeed the world. In September 2008, central bankers were in desperate need of a playbook that offered a systematic plan of attack to deal with fast- evolving circumstances. Macroeconomics should have been able to provide that playbook. It could not. Of course, from a longer view, macroeconomists let policymakers down much earlier, because they did not provide policymakers with rules to avoid the circumstances that led to the global financial meltdown.

Because of this failure, macroeconomics and its practitioners have received a great deal of pointed criticism both during and after the crisis. Some of this criticism has come from policymakers and the media, but much has come from other economists. Of course, macroeconomists have responded with considerable vigor, but the overall debate inevitably leads the general public to wonder: What is the value and applicability of macroeconomics as currently practiced?

 

There have been several criticisms of Main stream Economic Modeling from economists such as

  • Paul Romer
  • Willem H Buiter
  • Paul Krugman
  • R Cabellero
  • William White
  • Dirk Bezemer
  • Steve Keen
  • Jay Forrester
  • Lavoie and Godley

 

Issues with Neo Classical Models

  • No role of Money, Credit  and Finance
  • Lack of Interaction between Real and Financial sectors
  • Lack of Aggregate Demand
  • Rational Expectations and others.

 

Orthodox and Heterodox Modeling

  • Input Output Equations Models – Inter Industry Analysis
  • Structural Models
  • CGE and DSGE Models
  • VAR ( Vector Auto Regression ) Models
  • Stock flow Consistent Models
  • System Dynamics models

 

Neoclassical Models

  • Structural
  • VAR after Lucas Critique
  • DSGE (Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models)
  • DSGE – VAR

 

From HISTORY OF MACROECONOMETRIC MODELLING: LESSONS FROM PAST EXPERIENCE

The origin of macroeconometric modelling dates back to after World War II when Marschak organised a special team at the Cowles Commission by inviting luminaries such as Tjalling Koopmans, Kenneth Arrow, Trygve Haavelmo, T.W. Anderson, Lawrence Klein, G. Debreu, Leonid Hurwitz, Harry Markowitz, and Franco Modigliani (Diebold, 1998).

An interesting feature of macro modelling in this group was that there were three divisions to undertake the modelling procedures: first, economic theory or model specification; second, statistical inference (including model estimation, diagnostic tests and applications); and third, model construction which was dealing with data preparation and computations. The use of a team approach in macroeconometric modelling has been regarded as both cause and effect of large scale macroeconometric modelling (Intriligator, Bodkin and Hsiao, 1996).

Klein joined this team and conducted his first attempt in the mid 1940s to build a MEM for the US economy. See Klein (1983), Bodkin, Klein and Marwah (1991) and Intriligator, Bodkin and Hsiao (1996) for discussions of the MEMs which have been constructed for developed countries such as

  • the Klein interwar model,
  • the Klein-Goldberger model,
  • the Wharton model,
  • the DRI (Data Resources. Inc.) model,
  • the CANDIDE model,
  • the Brooking model etc.

 

 

History of Early Models

A. Klein Interwar Model

  • MODEL I
  • MODEL II
  • MODEL III
  • Developed in late 1940s

B. Klein -Goldberger Model

  • Developed at University of Michigan in 1950s.  Annual forecasts

C. BEA Model

  • Developed by L Klein.  Quarterly.  Operational in 1961. Transferred to BEA.  Eventually became BEA model.

D. Wharton Model

  • WHAR – III, with Anticipations
  • WHAR – MARK III
  • WHAR -ANNUAL
  • WEFA,  Project LINK
  • Wharton models were constantly operated until 2001.  DRI and WEFA merged to form Global Insight, Inc.

E. DRI Model

  • Built in 1969.  by Data Resources inc.  by Eckstein, Fromm, and Duessenbury.

F. Brookings Model

  • Developed by L Klein and J.S. Duessenberry. .  Quarterly.

G. MPS Model

  • FRB-MIT Model

H. The Hickman – Coen Model

  • Developed by Hickman and Coen for long term forecasting

I. FAIR model

  • Developed by Ray Fair at Princeton.  Now at Yale.  Available for free.

J. The St. Louis Model

  • Developed by FRB/ST.Louis

K. Michigan MQEM Model

  • Quarterly. DHL III

L. The Liu-HWA Model

  • Developed in 1970s.  Monthly.

M. WEFA -DRI/ Global Insight Model

  • Developed after merger of WEFA and DRI in 2001

N. Michigan MQEM /RSQE Model

  • Developed and extended in 1990s.  Replaced by Hymans RSQE model.

O. Current Quarterly Model

  • L Klein and Global Insight collaboration. L Klein died in 2013.

P. CANDIDE Model

  • Model developed for Canada

 

 

From Economic Theory, Model Size, and Model Purpose

models-7

 

 

From HISTORY OF MACROECONOMETRIC MODELLING: LESSONS FROM PAST EXPERIENCE

A Macro Econometric Model (MEM) is a set of behavioural equations, as well as institutional and definitional relationships representing the main behaviours of economic agents and the operations of an economy. The equations, or behavioural relations, can be empirically validated to capture the structure of a macroeconomy, and can then be used to simulate the effects of policy changes.

Macroeconometric modelling is multi- dimensional and both a science and an art. Bautista (1988) and Capros, Karadeloglou and Mentzas (1990) have classified macroeconomic models into broad groups: MEMS and CGE (computable general equilibrium) models.

Further, according to Challen and Hagger (1983, pp.2-22) there are five varieties of MEMs in the literature:

  • the KK (Keynes- Klein) model,
  • the PB (Phillips-Bergstrom) model,
  • the WJ (Walras-Johansen) model,
  • the WL (Walras-Leontief) model,
  • the MS (Muth-Sargent) model.

The KK model is mainly used by model builders in developing countries to explain the Keynesian demand-oriented model of macroeconomic fluctuations. They deal with the problems of short-run instability of output and employment using mainly stabilisation policies. The basic Keynesian model has been criticised as it does not consider the supply side and the incorporation of production relations. Furthermore, this modelling approach does not adequately capture the role of the money market, relative prices and expectations. As a response to the shortcomings associated with the KK model, the St Louis model was constructed by the monetarist critics (Anderson and Carlson, 1970) in order to highlight the undeniable impacts of money on the real variables in the economy.

The second type of MEM, the PB, emerged in the literature when Phillips (1954, 1957) used both the Keynesian and the Neoclassical theories within a dynamic and continuous time model to analyse stabilisation policy. Although the PB model is also a demand-oriented model, differential or difference equations are used to estimate its stochastic structural parameters. In essence, the steady state and asymptotic properties of models are thus examined in a continuous time framework. One should note that this modelling method in practice becomes onerous to implement especially for large scale models.

The third type of MEM, the WJ, can be referred to as a multi-sector model in which the economy is disaggregated into various interdependent markets, each reaching an equilibrium state by the profit maximising behaviour of producers and utility maximising actions of consumers in competitive markets. Similar to an input-output (IO) approach, different sectors in the WJ model are linked together via their purchases and sales from, and to, each other. However, it is different from an IO model as it is highly non-linear and uses logarithmic differentiation.

The fourth type of MEMs, known as the WL model, has been widely considered as the more relevant MEM for developing countries (Challen and Hagger, 1983). The WL model incorporates an IO table into the Walrasian general equilibrium system, enabling analysts to obtain the sectoral output, value added or employment given the values of the sectoral or aggregate final demand components.

Finally, the foundations of the MS model are based on the evolution of the theory of rational expectations. The MS model is similar to the KK model in that they both are dynamic, non-linear, stochastic and discrete. But in this model the formation of expectations is no longer a function of previous values of dependent variables. The forward looking expectation variables can be obtained only through solving the complete model. The New Classical School demonstrated the role of the supply side and expectations in a MEM with the aim of highlighting the inadequacy of demand management policies. To this end, Sargent (1976) formulated forward-looking variants of this model which suggest no trade-off between inflation and unemployment in the short term, which is in sharp contrast to both the Keynesian and Monetarist modelling perspectives.

It is noteworthy that the subsequent advances in the WJ and WL models led to the formulation of CGE modelling, which is categorised here as the second type of macroeconomic model. The Neoclassical CGE models are based on the optimising behaviour of economic agents. The main objectives of CGE models are to conduct policy analysis on resource economics, international trade, efficient sectoral production and income distribution (Capros, Karadeloglou and Mentzas, 1990).

The 1960s witnessed the flowering of the large scale macroeconometric modelling. This decade saw the construction of the Brookings model, in which an input-output table was incorporated into the model. Adopting the team approach in modelling procedure in the 1970s, the majority of model builders aimed at the commercialisation of the comprehensive macro models, such as DRI, Wharton and Chase, by providing information to private enterprises. Modellers designed their models on the basis of quarterly or monthly data with the goal of keeping the models up-to-date, for commercial gain. As a consequence of taking such measures, model-builders became commercially successful (Fair, 1987). It is believed that in this era, the full-grown models “would contribute substantively to enlarging our understanding of economic processes and to solving real- world economic problems” (Sowey and Hargreaves, 1991: 600).

During the last three decades, MEMs have been internationalised via Project LINK which was first operated at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1987 according to Bodkin (1988b) Project LINK consisted of 79 MEMs of individual countries or aggregations. In Project LINK the world is treated as a closed system of approximately 20,000 equations which “allow trade, capita flows, and possible exchange rate and other repercussions to influence systematically the individual national economies” (Bodkin, 1988b: 222).

 

From STRUCTURAL ECONOMETRIC MODELLING: METHODOLOGY AND TOOLS WITH APPLICATIONS UNDER EVIEWS

Since an early date in the twentieth century, economists have tried to produce mathematical tools which, applied to a given practical problem, formalized a given economic theory to produce a reliable numerical picture. The most natural application is of course to forecast the future, and indeed this goal was present from the first. But one can also consider learning the consequences of an unforeseen event, or measuring the efficiency of a change in the present policy, or even improving the understanding of a set of mechanisms too complex to be grasped by the human mind.

In the last decades, three kinds of tools of this type have emerged, which share the present modelling market.

  •   The “VAR” models. They try to give the most reliable image of the near future, using a complex estimated structure of lagged elements, based essentially on the statistical quality, although economic theory can be introduced, mostly through constraints on the specifications. The main use of this tool is to produce short term assessments.
  •   The Computable General Equilibrium models. They use a detailed structure with a priori formulations and calibrated coefficients to solve a generally local problem, through the application of one or several optimizing behaviors. The issues typically addressed are optimizing resource allocations, or describing the consequences of trade agreements. The mechanisms described contain generally little dynamics.

This is no longer true for the Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium models, which dominate the current field. They include dynamic behaviors and take into account the uncertainty in economic evolutions. Compared to the traditional models (see later) they formalize explicitly the optimizing equilibria, based on the aggregated behavior of individual agents. This means that they allow agents to adapt their behavior to changes is the rules governing the behaviors of others, including the State, in principle escaping the Lucas critique. As the model does not rely on traditional estimated equations, calibration is required for most parameters.

  •  The “structural” models. They start from a given economic framework, defining the behaviors of the individual agents according to some globally consistent economic theory. They use the available data to associate to these behaviors reliable formulas, which are linked by identities guaranteeing the consistency of the whole set. These models can be placed halfway between the two above categories: they do rely on statistics, and also on theory. To accept a formula, it must respect both types of criteria.

The use of this last kind of models, which occupied the whole field at the beginning, is now restricted to policy analysis and medium term forecasting. For the latter, they show huge advantages: the full theoretical formulations provide a clear and understandable picture, including the measurement of individual influences. They allow also to introduce stability constraints leading to identified long term equilibriums, and to separate this equilibrium from the dynamic fluctuations which lead to it.

Compared to CGEs and DSGEs, optimization behaviors are present (as we shall see later) and introduced in the estimated equations. But they are frozen there, in a state associated with a period, and the behavior of other agents at the time. If these conditions do not change, the statistical validation is an important advantage. But sensitivity to shocks is flawed, in a way which is difficult to measure.

 

From Macroeconomic Modeling in the Policy Process: A Review of Tools Used at the Federal Reserve Board and Their Relation to Ongoing Research

models-1models-2models-3

 

From Macroeconomic Modeling in the Policy Process: A Review of Tools Used at the Federal Reserve Board and Their Relation to Ongoing Research

models-4

 

USA Central Bank Models

A. FRB Models (Neo Classical)

  • MPS ( MIT-PENN-FRB)
  • FRB/US (since 1996)
  • FRB/MCM
  • FRB/WORLD
  • FRB/EDO
  • SIGMA
  • VAR Models
  • Accelerator Models

B.  FRB/NY DSGE Model

C.  FRB/Chicago DSGE Model

D. FRB/Philadelphia DSGE Model – PRISM

 

 

Newer Central Bank Models

From Macroeconomic Models for Monetary Policies: A Critical Review from a Finance Perspective

There has been a remarkable evolution of macroeconomic models used for monetary policy at major central banks around the world, in aspects such as model formulation, solution methods, estimation approaches, and importantly, communication of results between central banks. Central banks have developed many different classes and variants of macroeconomic models in the hopes of producing a reliable and comprehensive analysis of monetary policy. Early types of models included quantitative macroeconomic models1, reduced-form statistical models, structural vector autore- gressive models, and large-scale macroeconometric models, a hybrid form combining the long-run structural relationships implied by a partial equilibrium treatment of theory (e.g., the decision rule for aggregate consumption) and reduced-form short-run relationships employing error-correcting equations.

Over the past 20 years in particular, there have been significant advances in the specification and estimation for New Keynesian Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (New Keynesian DSGE) models. Significant progress has been made to advance policymaking models from the older static and qualitative New Keynesian style of modeling to the New Keynesian DSGE paradigm. The New Keynesian DSGE model is designed to capture real world data within a tightly structured and self-consistent macroeconomic model. The New Keynesian DSGE model has explicitly theoretical foundations, allowing it to circumvent the Sims Critique (see Sims, 1980) and the Lucas Critique (see Lucas, 1976), and therefore it can provide more reliable monetary policy analysis than earlier models. A consensus baseline New Keynesian DSGE model has emerged, one that is heavily influenced by estimated impulse response functions based on Structural Vector Autoregression (SVAR) models. In particular, a baseline New Keynesian DSGE model has recently been shown by Christiano et al. (2005) to successfully account for the effects of a monetary policy shock with nominal and real rigidities. Similarly, Smets and Wouters (2003, 2007) show that a baseline New Keynesian DSGE model can track and forecast time series as well as, if not better than, a Bayesian vector autoregressive (BVAR) model. New Keynesian DSGE models have been developed at many central banks, becoming a crucial part of many of their core models.2 Sbordone et al. (2010) have emphasized that an advantage of New Keynesian DSGE models is that they share core assumptions about the behavior of agents, making them scalable to relevant details to address the policy question at hand. For example, Smets and Wouters (2007) introduced wage stickiness and investment frictions into their model, Gertler et al. (2008) incorporated labor market search and wage bargaining, and Bernanke et al. (1999), Chari et al. (1995) and Christiano et al. (2008) studied the interaction between the financial sector and macroeconomic activity.

The devastating aftermath of the financial crisis and the Great Recession has prompted a rethink of monetary policy and central banking. Central bank monetary policy models face new challenges. Many macroeconomists (and in fact, many of the world’s leading thinkers) have called for a new generation of DSGE models. The first and foremost critique of the current state of the art of New Keynesian DSGE models is that these models lack an appropriate financial sector with a realistic interbank market, and as a result, the models fail to fully account for an important source of aggregate fluctuations, such as systemic risk. Second, the linkage between the endogenous risk premium and macroeconomic activity is crucial for policymakers to understand the transmission mechanism of monetary policy, especially in financially stressed periods. In models that lack a coherent endogenous risk premium, policy experiments become unreliable in stressed periods, and the model cannot provide a consistent framework for conducting experimental stress tests regarding financial stability or macroprudential policy. Third, heterogeneity among the players in the economy is essential to our understanding of inefficient allocations and flows between agents. These inefficiencies have an extremely important effect on the equilibrium state of the economy. Without reasonable heterogeneity among agents in models, there is no way to infer the distributional effects of monetary policy.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly in terms of government policy, a new generation of models is in strong demand to provide policymakers a unified and coherent framework for both conventional and unconventional monetary policies. For example, at the onset of the financial crisis, the zero lower bound went from a remote possibility to reality with frightening speed. This led central banks to quickly develop unconventional measures to provide stimulus, including credit easing, quantitative easing and extraordinary forward guidance. These unconventional measures demanded a proper platform to be analyzed. Furthermore, these unconventional monetary policies have blurred the boundary between monetary policy and fiscal policy. Through these policies, central banks gave preference to some debtors over others (e.g. industrial companies, mortgage banks, governments), and some sectors over others (e.g. export versus domestic). In turn, the distributional effects of monetary policy were much stronger than in normal times. As a result, these measures are sometimes referred to as quasi-fiscal policy. As Sims emphasized, a reliable monetary policy experiment cannot ignore the effect of ongoing fiscal policy. In order to implement unconventional measures during the crisis, central banks put much more risk onto government balance sheets than ever before, which had the potential to lead to substantial losses. Thus the government balance sheets in these models should be forward-looking, and its risk characteristics are crucial to the success of the model. 

 

 

Other Central Banks Models

From Macro-Econometric System Modelling @75

A fourth generation of models has arisen in the early 2000s. Representatives are TOTEM (Bank of Canada, Murchinson and Rennison, 2006), MAS (the Modelling and Simulation model of the Bank of Chile, Medina and Soto, 2005), GEM (the Global Economic Model of the IMF, Laxton and Pesenti, 2003), BEQM (Bank of England Quarterly Model, Harrison et al, 2004), NEMO (Norwegian Economic Model at the Bank of Norway, Brubakk et al, 2006), The New Area Wide Model at the European Central Bank, Kai et al, 2008), the RAMSES model at the Riksbank (Adolfson et al, 2007), AINO at the Bank of Finland (Kuismanen et al, 2003), SIGMA (Erceg et al, 2006) at the U.S. Federal Reserve, and KITT (Kiwi Inflation Targeting Technology) at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Beneˇs et al, 2009.

From Macroeconomic Models for Monetary Policies: A Critical Review from a Finance Perspective

  • the Bank of Canada (QPM, ToTEM),
  • the Bank of England (MTMM, BEQM),
  • the Central Bank of Chile (MAS),
  • the Central Reserve Bank of Peru (MEGA-D),
  • the European Central Bank (NAWM, CMR),
  • the Norges Bank (NEMO),
  • the Sveriges Riksbank (RAMSES),
  • the US Federal Reserve (SIGMA, EDO),
  • the Central Bank of Brazil,
  • the Central Bank of Spain,
  • the Reserve Bank of New Zealand,
  • the Bank of Finland,
  • and IMF (GEM, GFM and GIMF).

In particular, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Central Bank of Chile, the Central European Bank, the Norges Bank, the Sveriges Rikbank, and the U.S. Federal Reserve have incorporated New Keynesian DSGE models into their core models.

 

 

Other Institutions Models

  • USA CBO (Congressional Budget Office)
  • USA OMB ( Office of Management and Budget)
  • USA Department of Energy – EIA Models
  • USA Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Model
  • University of Michigan RSQE Model
  • World Bank
  • UN
  • IMF
  • OECD
  • FAIR US and MC Model at Yale University

 

Other Governmental Agencies Models

  • PITM Model
  • MATH Model
  • KGB Model
  • TRIM Model
  • Claremont Model

 

Private Sector Forecasting Models

  • The Conference Board
  • Wells Fargo
  • JP Morgan
  • Citi
  • Oxford Economics
  • Moody’s Analytics
  • IHS Inc./Global Insight

 

Old Non Governmental Models

  • DRI (Data Resources Inc.)
  • Chase Econometrics
  • Wharton Econometrics

They all merged into an entity IHS, Inc.

In 1987 Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates (WEFA) merged with Chase Econometrics, a competitor to DRI and WEFA,[13] and in 2001 DRI merged with WEFA to form Global Insight.[14][15] In 2008 Global Insight was bought by IHS Inc., thus inheriting 50 years of experience and more than 200 full-time economists, country risk analysts, and consultants. [16]

 

The following book is a good resource for Lists of Models used in various countries.

  • Macroeconometric Models By Władysław Welfe

 

 

Heterodox Models

 

  • System Dynamics Models
  • Stock Flow Consistent Models
  • Flow of Funds Models
  • Agent based Computational Models
  • Network Economics Approaches

 

From Can Disequilibrium Macroeconomic Models Be Used to Anticipate Financial Instability? A Case Study

Two other approaches to modeling the macroeconomy are flow-of-funds models and stock-flow consistent models, and a fourth is agent-based models. All trace unfolding processes rather than equilibrium snapshots, and are so evolutionary. SFC models also differ from DSGE models in that they aim to be financially complete (but obviously stylized) representations of the economy.

 

Please see my other posts on Heterodox Modeling.

Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, Circular and Cumulative Causation in Economics

Jay W. Forrester and System Dynamics

Micro Motives, Macro Behavior: Agent Based Modeling in Economics

Stock-Flow Consistent Modeling

Foundations of Balance Sheet Economics

Contagion in Financial (Balance sheets) Networks

 

 

Key People:

  • Jan Tinbergen
  • Lawrance Klein
  • Wassily Leontief
  • Tjalling Koopmans
  • Franco Modigliani
  • Kenneth Arrow
  • Trygve Haavelmo
  • T.W. Anderson
  • G. Debreu
  • Leonid Hurwitz
  • Harry Markowitz
Key Sources of Research:

 

 

Macroeconomic Models, Forecasting, and Policymaking

Andrea Pescatori and Saeed Zaman

http://www.relooney.com/NS3040/0_New_14947.pdf

 

 

The Evolution of Macro Models at the Federal Reserve Board

􏰃Flint Brayton, Andrew Levin, Ralph Tryon, and John C. Williams

Revised: February 7, 1997

https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1997/199729/199729pap.pdf

 

 

A Guide to FRB/US

A Macroeconomic Model of the United States

Macroeconomic and Quantitative Studies 􏰂 Division of Research and Statistics Federal Reserve Board Washington, D.C. 20551

version 1.0, October 1996

https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1996/199642/199642pap.pdf

 

 

The FRB/US Model: A Tool for Macroeconomic Policy Analysis

Flint Brayton, Thomas Laubach, and David Reifschneider

2014

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/notes/feds-notes/2014/a-tool-for-macroeconomic-policy-analysis.html

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/frbus/us-models-package.htm

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/frbus/us-documentation-papers.htm

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/frbus/us-technical-qas.htm

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/notes/feds-notes/2014/november-2014-update-of-the-frbus-model-20141121.html

 

 

Estimated Dynamic Optimization (EDO) Model

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/edo/edo-models-about.htm

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/edo/edo-model-package.htm

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/edo/edo-documentation-papers.htm

 

 

The FRBNY DSGE Model

Marco Del Negro Stefano Eusepi Marc Giannoni Argia Sbordone Andrea Tambalotti Matthew Cocci Raiden Hasegawa M. Henry Linder

 

2013

https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/staff_reports/sr647.pdf

 

 

Can Disequilibrium Macroeconomic Models Be Used to Anticipate Financial Instability?

A Case Study

Dirk J. Bezemer

 

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/224f/a6d8daa2716892ed0984f8aa0882c6dccefc.pdf

 

 

Central Bank Models:Lessons from the Past and Ideas for the Future

John B. Taylor

November 2016

http://web.stanford.edu/~johntayl/2016_pdfs/Text_Keynote_BoC_Workshop_Taylor-2016.pdf

 

 

DSGE models and central banks

by Camilo E Tovar

2008

http://www.bis.org/publ/work258.pdf

 

 

Macro-Finance Models of Interest Rates and the Economy

Glenn D. Rudebusch∗
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6b60/3c8c75a3daa52749dd4ade71f9ae1642f9aa.pdf

 

 

Panel Discussion on Uses of Models at Central Banks

ECB Workshop on DSGE Models and Forecasting September 23, 2016

John Roberts

 

https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/conferences/shared/pdf/20160922_dsge/Roberts_Panel_discussion.pdf

 

 

The Chicago Fed DSGE Model

Scott A. Brave Jerey R. Campbell  Jonas D.M. Fisher  Alejandro Justiniano

August 16, 2012

https://www.chicagofed.org/publications/working-papers/2012/wp-02

 

 

Macroeconomics and consumption: Why central bank models failed and how to repair them

John Muellbauer

21 December 2016

http://voxeu.org/article/why-central-bank-models-failed-and-how-repair-them

 

 

Model Comparison and Robustness: A Proposal for Policy Analysis after the Financial Crisis

Volker Wieland

1st Version: November 28, 2010 This Version: March 21, 2011

 

http://www.macromodelbase.com/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/Wieland_CournotConf_110321.pdf

 

 

TOBIN LIVES: INTEGRATING EVOLVING CREDIT MARKET ARCHITECTURE INTO FLOW OF FUNDS BASED MACRO- MODELS

John Duca and John Muellbauer

September 2012

 

http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/12225/paper622.pdf

 

 

FRB/US Equations Documentation

http://www.petertulip.com/frbus_equation_documentation.pdf

 

 

Challenges for Central Banks’ Macro Models

Jesper Lindé, Frank Smets and Rafael Wouters

2016

 

http://www.riksbank.se/Documents/Rapporter/Working_papers/2016/rap_wp323_160512.pdf

 

 

Central Bank Models: Lessons from the Past and Ideas for the Future

John B. Taylor

2016

 

http://www.bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/central-bank-models-lessons-past.pdf

 

 

Lawrence R. Klein: Macroeconomics, econometrics and economic policy􏰑

Ignazio Visco

2014

 

http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/sites/economics.sas.upenn.edu/files/u4/Visco_Klein_2014.pdf

 

 

Macro-Econometric System Modelling @75

Tony Hall  Jan Jacobs Adrian Pagan

http://www.ncer.edu.au/papers/documents/WP95.pdf

 

 

The Econometrics of Macroeconomic Modelling

Gunnar Ba ̊rdsenØyvind Eitrheim Eilev S. Jansen Ragnar Nymoen

http://folk.uio.no/rnymoen/master210104.pdf

 

 

The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer

N. Gregory Mankiw

May 2006

 

http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/mankiw/files/macroeconomist_as_scientist.pdf?m=1360042085

 

 

 Macroeconometric Models

By Władysław Welfe

 

 

HISTORY OF MACROECONOMETRIC MODELLING: LESSONS FROM PAST EXPERIENCE

Abbas Valadkhani

 

http://eprints.qut.edu.au/385/1/Valadkhani_131.pdf

 

 

ECONOMETRICS: AN HISTORICAL GUIDE FOR THE UNINITIATED

by D.S.G. Pollock

University of Leicester

http://www.le.ac.uk/economics/research/RePEc/lec/leecon/dp14-05.pdf

 

 

RBI-MSE Joint Initiative on Modeling the Indian Economy for Forecasting and Policy Simulations

N R Bhanumurthy NIPFP, New Delhi, India

 

http://www.mse.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Model-1.pdf

 

 

ECONOMIC MODELS

 

http://pages.hmc.edu/evans/chap1.pdf

 

 

MACROECONOMIC MODELLING OF MONETARY POLICY

BY MATT KLAEFFLING

SEPTEMBER 2003

https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp257.pdf?62a2706261fcf6fb02a681c780f3408f

 

 

Macroeconomic Modeling in India

N R Bhanumurthy NIPFP, New Delhi, India

 

http://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/India-Macroeconomic%20modeling%20in%20India.pdf

 

 

Macroeconomic Modeling in the Policy Process: A Review of Tools Used at the Federal Reserve Board and Their Relation to Ongoing Research

 

Michael Kiley

 

http://www.bcb.gov.br/secre/apres/Apresentação%20Michael%20Kiley.pdf

 

 

Policy Analysis Using DSGE Models: An Introduction

Argia M. Sbordone, Andrea Tambalotti, Krishna Rao, and Kieran Walsh

2010

 

https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/epr/10v16n2/1010sbor.pdf

 

 

DSGE Model-Based Forecasting

Marco Del Negro Frank Schorfheide

Staff Report No. 554 March 2012

 

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7597/2761a45dbc2a4b57990d250adb8ae846129f.pdf

 

 

The Use of (DSGE) Models in Central Bank Forecasting: The FRBNY Experience

Marco Del Negro

 

https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/conferences/shared/pdf/20160922_dsge/DelNegro_DSGE_forecasting_panel.pdf

 

 

Modern Macroeconomic Models as Tools for Economic Policy

Narayana Kocherlakota

 

https://www.minneapolisfed.org/~/media/files/pubs/region/10-05/2009_mplsfed_annualreport_essay.pdf

 

 

STRUCTURAL ECONOMETRIC MODELLING: METHODOLOGY AND TOOLS WITH APPLICATIONS UNDER EVIEWS

 

http://www.eviews.com/StructModel/structmodel.pdf

 

 

Macroeconomic Models for Monetary Policies: A Critical Review from a Finance Perspective∗

Winston W. Dou †, Andrew W. Lo‡, and Ameya Muley

This Draft: March 12, 2015

https://bfi.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/research/MacroFinanceReview_v11_DLM.pdf

 

 

Lawrence R. Klein 1920-2013: Notes on the early years

Olav Bjerkholt, University of Oslo

 

 

A History of Macroeconomics from Keynes to Lucas and Beyond

 

By Michel De Vroey

2016

 

 

Economic Theory, Model Size, and Model Purpose

John B Taylor

Chapter in a Book Large Scale Macroe conomtric Models

1981

 

Jay W. Forrester and System Dynamics

Jay W. Forrester and System Dynamics

 

 

Jay Forrester passed away at the age of 98 on November 16, 2016

The link below will take you to JWF memorial webpage.

Jay W Forrester Memorial Web Page at the System Dynamics Society

I admire Jay W Forrester greatly.  I was introduced to Operational Research and System dynamics back in early 1980s after I graduated from IIT Roorkee Engineering undergraduate degree in India.  I had bought a book on Operations Research at a road side book seller in Dariya Ganj, Old Delhi, India.

I met Jay on three occasions.  I attended Business Dynamics Executive Education program at MIT Sloan School of Management back in 2002.  Jay was one of the Instructor.  Then I again met Jay at 2003 SDS International Conference at New York City.  Last time I met Jay was in Washington DC at the Club of Rome Symposium celebrating 40 yrs anniversary of publication of The Limits to Growth book.

Jay will be missed greatly.

– Mayank Chaturvedi

 

Jay Forrester’s vision of future of Economics and System Dynamics.

Traditional mainstream academic economics, by trying to be a science, has failed to answer major questions about real- life economic behavior. Economics should become a systems profession, such as management, engineering, and medicine. By closely observing the structures and policies in business and government, simulation models can be constructed to answer questions about business cycles, causes of major depressions, inflation, monetary policy, and the validity of descriptive economic theories. A system dynamics model, as a general theory of economic behavior, now endogenously generates business cycles, Kuznets cycles, the economic long wave, and growth. A model is a theory of the behavior that it generates. The economic model provides the theory, thus far missing from economics, for the Great Depression of the 1930s and how such episodes can recur 50–70 years apart. Simpler system dynamics models can become the vehicle for a relevant and exciting pre-college economics education.

 

From PHD thesis of I David Wheat

Within the interdisciplinary system dynamics (SD) community, the motivation to improve understanding of economic systems came nearly fifty years ago with Jay W. Forrester’s seminal call for a new kind of economics education, a call that he has renewed in the K-12 education setting in recent years. John Sterman’s encyclopedic Business Dynamics is a symbol not only of the breadth of his own economic policy and management research and teaching but also the range of work done by others in this field.

Teaching the economics of resource management with system dynamics tools has been the devotion of Andrew Ford and Erling Moxnes. James Lyneis took his management consultant’s expertise into the university classroom and developed an SD-based microeconomics course. Economists Michael Radzicki and Kaoru Yamaguchi have developed complete graduate-level economics courses on a system dynamics foundation. An informal survey produced this list of others who have used SD as a teaching tool in economics courses: Glen Atkinson, Scott Fullwiler, John Harvey, Steve Keen, Ali Mashayekhi, Jairo Parada, Oleg Pavlov, Khalid Saeed, Jim Sturgeon, Linwood Tauheed, Pavlina Tcherneva, Scott Trees, Eric Tymoigne, Lars Weber, and Agnieszka Ziomek, and that is surely just a fraction.

 

Key Sources of Research:

 

Economic theory for the new millennium

Jay W. Forrester

2003

 

System Dynamics Review vol 29, No 1 (January-March 2013): 26–41

 

 

 

Three slices of Jay Forrester’s general theory of economic behavior: An interpretation

 

Khalid Saeed

Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA, USA

February 13, 2013

 

http://www.systemdynamics.org/conferences/2013/proceed/papers/P1018.pdf

 

 

System Dynamics: A disruptive science

A conversation with Jay W. Forrester, founder of the field

Khalid Saeed Worcester Polytechnic Institute Sept. 2013

 

http://static.clexchange.org/ftp/ISDC2013_forresterchat.pdf

http://digitalcommons.wpi.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=ssps-papers&sei-redir=1&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.com%2Fscholar%3Fstart%3D40%26q%3Djay%2Bw%2Bforrester%2Bsystem%2Bdynamics%26hl%3Den%26as_sdt%3D0%2C47%26as_ylo%3D2013#search=%22jay%20w%20forrester%20system%20dynamics%22

 

 

Unintended Consequences

Jay Forrester

http://simgua.com/documents/SB_Forrester.pdf

 

 

A dynamic synthesis of basic macroeconomic theory : implications for stabilization policy analysis

Nathan Forrester

PHD THESIS

https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/15739

 

 

SYSTEM DYNAMICS: PORTRAYING BOUNDED RATIONALITY

 

John D.W. Morecroft

1982

 

https://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/49181/systemdynamicspo00more.pdf?sequence=1

 

 

THE SYSTEM DYNAMICS NATIONAL MODEL:  MACRO BEHAVIOR FROM MICRO STRUCTURE

JAY W FORRESTER

 

http://systemsmodelbook.org/uploadedfile/1470_0a924c5b-b909-42fa-be9b-932588278f36_forre004.pdf

 

 

1976 Economic Forecast Report including studies by Jay W Forrester and Nathial Mass

US congress Joint Economic Review of US Economy

http://njlaw.rutgers.edu/collections/gdoc/hearings/7/76603310f/76603310f_1.pdf

 

 

Backround Material for a Meeting on Long Waves, Depression and Innovation –

IMPLICATIONS FOR NATIONAL AND REGIONAL ECONOMIC POLICY

Jay W. Forrester, Alan K.Oraham, Peter M.Senge, John D Sterman

 

Siena/Florence, October 26-29, 1983

Bianchi, G., Bruckmann, G. and Vasko, T.

 

http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/2338/1/CP-83-044.pdf

 

 

 

Industrial Dynamics-After the First Decade

Author(s): Jay W. Forrester

Management Science, Vol. 14, No. 7, Theory Series (Mar., 1968), pp. 398-415

 

http://www.sfu.ca/~vdabbagh/Forrester68.pdf

 

 

Systems Analysis as a Tool for Urban Planning

JAY W. FORRESTER, FELLOW, IEEE

1970

 

http://web.boun.edu.tr/ali.saysel/ESc59M/forrester.pdf

 

 

IS ECONOMETRIC MODELING OBSOLETE?

AUTHOR: Mr. Oakley E. Van Slyke

 

https://www.casact.org/pubs/dpp/dpp80/80dpp650.pdf

 

 

Money and Macroeconomic Dynamics : Accounting System Dynamics Approach

 

Kaoru Yamaguchi

Ph.D. Japan Futures Research Center

Awaji Island, Japan

November 11, 2016

 

http://muratopia.org/Yamaguchi/macrodynamics/Macro%20Dynamics.pdf

 

 

The Feedback Method : A System Dynamics Approach to Teaching Macroeconomics

I. David Wheat, Jr.

Dissertation for the degree philosophiae doctor (PhD)

System Dynamics Group, Social Science Faculty University of Bergen

 

http://bora.uib.no/bitstream/handle/1956/2239/Introduction_David_Wheat.pdf?sequence=46

 

 

Disequilibrium Systems Representation of Growth Models—Harrod-Domar, Solow, Leontief, Minsky, and Why the U.S. Fed Opened the Discount Window to Money-Market Funds

Frederick Betz

2015

 

http://file.scirp.org/pdf/ME_2015120814432915.pdf

 

 

Cyclical dynamics of airline industry earnings

Kawika Piersona and John D. Sterman

System Dynamics Review vol 29, No 3 (July-September 2013): 129–156

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Sterman2/publication/259542762_Cyclical_dynamics_of_airline_industry_earnings/links/5550ead108ae739bdb9202a9.pdf

 

 

 

Modeling Financial Instability

Steve Keen

http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Keen2014ModelingFinancialInstability.pdf

 

 

Harvey, J.T.,

2013.

Keynes’s trade cycle: a system dynamics model.

Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, 36(1), pp.105-130.

 

 

ECONOMICS, TECHNOLOGY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Jay Forrester

 

https://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/2197/SWP-1983-18213738.pdf?sequence=1

 

 

Forrester, J. W. (1968). Market Growth as Influenced by Capital Investment. Industrial Management Review (now Sloan Management Review), 9(2), 83-105.

 

 

Forrester, J. W 1971). Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems. Collected Papers of J.W. Forrester. Cambridge, MA: Wright-Allen Press.

 

 

Forrester, J. W (1976). Business Structure, Economic Cycles, and National Policy. Futures, June.

 

 

Forrester, J. W (1979). An Alternative Approach to Economic Policy: Macrobehavior from Microstructure. In Kamrany & Day (Eds.), Economic Issues of the Eighties. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

 

 

Forrester, J. W., Mass, N. J., & Ryan, C. (1980). The System Dynamics National Model: Understanding Socio-economic Behavior and Policy Alternatives. Technology Forecasting and Social Change, 9, 51-68.

 

 

Forrester, N. B. (1982). A Dynamic Synthesis of Basic Macroeconomic Theory: Implications for Stabilization Policy Analysis. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

 

 

Low, G. (1980). The Multiplier-Accelerator Model of Business Cycles Interpreted from a System Dynamics Perspective. In J. Randers (Ed.), Elements of the System Dynamics Method. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

 

 

Mass, N. J. (1975). Economic Cycles: An Analysis of Underlying Causes. Cambridge, MA: Wright-Allen Press, Inc.

 

 

Mass, N. J.(1980). Stock and Flow Variables and the Dynamics of Supply and Demand. In J. Randers (Ed.), Elements of the System Dynamics Method. (pp. 95-112). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

 

 

Meadows, D. L., Behrens III, W. W., Meadows, D. H., Naill, R. F., & Zahn, E. (1974). Dynamics of Growth in a Finite World. Cambridge, MA: Wright-Allen Press.

 

 

Morecroft, J. D. W. & Sterman, J. D. (Eds.). (1994). Modeling for Learning Organizations. Portland, OR: Productivity Press.

 

 

Radzicki, M. (1993). A System Dynamics Approach to Macroeconomics (Guest lecture at the Department of Information Science, University of Bergen.).

 

 

Richardson, G. P. (1991). Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory. Waltham, MA: Pegasus Communications, Inc.

 

 

Senge, P. M. (1990). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. New York: Doubleday.

 

 

Sterman, J. D. (1985). A Behavioral Model of the Economic Long Wave. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 6, 17-53.

 

 

Sterman, J. D. (2000). Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Companies.