06 Jul 2009

Monday Murphy Twin Spin

All Posts No Comments

* If you have never really gotten into the economics of climate change, and want an accessible introduction, here you go.

* If you have been laying awake at night, worrying that the depression of 1937-38 proves the success of Keynesianism, here you go. An excerpt:

In any event, Hoover’s last fiscal year was FY 1933, which ran from July 1, 1932, to June 30, 1933. (Roosevelt was sworn in on March 4, 1933.) Unemployment in 1933 averaged 25 percent. But, as Romer told us in the block quotation above, the unemployment rate fell rapidly once Roosevelt took over and cranked up the spending.

Yet look at the relatively insignificant increase in deficits. In the rock-bottom FY 1933, the deficit was 4.5 percent of GDP. In the first three years of the New Deal — when Romer says the economy illustrated the success of (modest) Keynesianism — the deficit averaged 5.1 percent of GDP.

Isn’t that a rather subtle result? Romer and the other Keynesians are claiming that the timid 4.5 percent deficit under Hoover, allowed the economy to sink into the worst Depression in US history, with monthly unemployment rates above 25 percent. Yet by bumping up the deficit’s share of the economy by a mere 60 basis points, FDR was able to achieve the most spectacular turnaround in US history.

Comments are closed.