History

The Political Economy of Structural Adjustment: IMF Conditionality, 1987 – 2012

Project Leader: 

This project will create a systematic and publically available database of macroeconomic and structural conditions in all IMF loan agreements signed after 1987. Previous studies use highly aggregated data, are very restricted in program coverage, or contain inaccuracies due to poor data quality. This database will provide detailed information on the conditions included in loans and their implementation. The aim is to provide a new resource for scholars that will enable nuanced explanations of the economic, social, and political implications of IMF conditions.

The Future of Economics: Bruce Caldwell on History and the Dismal Science

Your average economics textbook presents the neat image of a discipline with many useful conceptual paradigms for viewing the world. But it almost never gives any sense of how these ideas developed.

And as it turns out, the actual history of economics, like that of every science, is much messier.

That was Bruce Caldwell’s message in his recent address to the Southern Economics Association in November. (Click below to download a PDF of the speech as prepared for address). Read more

D'Maris Coffman – The Corn Laws: Seeing through the Eyes of Ricardo and Malthus

The British Corn Returns data provided the empirical basis for the fierce debate around the introduction and repeal of the 19th century British Corn Laws. Contemporary readers, like David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus, followed them as closely as stock market prices of today.  Much of 19th century political economy rested on contemporaries' interpretations of this data. Read more

A Quick One (Message to Naomi)

Naomi KleinYesterday, I had my first introductory economics seminar with my new students. At the end of this 4-hour marathon, which included the definition of economics and some preliminary knowledge on methodology, economic history and the history of the discipline, one of my students, who, I had noticed, stared at me quite incredulously during my speech, approached me and asked me in an aside: "Mr. Giraud, have you read the Shock Doctrine?". Read more

Paul Davidson - Legal Arbitrage Is Not Comparative Advantage 4/4

In the fourth and final part of this four-part INET "From the Director's Chair" interview, INET Executive Director Robert Johnson talks with Journal of Post Keynesian Economics co-founder Paul Davidson about Davidson's book The Keynes Solution: The Path to Global Economic Prosperity. Read more

Paul Davidson - The Trouble With the Ergodic Axiom 2/4

In the second part of this four-part INET "From the Director's Chair" interview, INET Executive Director Robert Johnson talks with Journal of Post Keynesian Economics co-founder Paul Davidson about Davidson's book The Keynes Solution: The Path to Global Economic Prosperity. Davidson explains the problems Keynes saw with the ergodic axiom, a concept economics borrowed from statistics that says the future is stable and can be predicted by data from the past. The axiom has taken hold because economists suffering from "physics envy" think they need this assumption to make economics feel more like a physical science. However, as Paul Samuelson famously wrote, this approach often dooms economists to making precise but irrelevant predictions about the future. Read more

Paul Davidson - What Goes Around Comes Around 3/4

In the third part of this four-part INET "From the Director's Chair" interview, INET Executive Director Robert Johnson talks with Journal of Post Keynesian Economics co-founder Paul Davidson about Davidson's book The Keynes Solution: The Path to Global Economic Prosperity.

Davidson examines the current economic problems in Europe and admonishes Germany for forgetting Keynes's truism that debtors' problems are creditors' problems too. To show how bolstering the Greek economy is in Germany's interests, Davidson points to the Marshall Plan as an example of how a major government investment was able to help solve a similar problem after World War II.

Paul Davidson - Keynes's Forgotten Lessons 1/4

In the first part of this four-part INET "From the Director's Chair" interview, INET Executive Director Robert Johnson talks with Journal of Post Keynesian Economics co-founder Paul Davidson about Davidson's book The Keynes Solution: The Path to Global Economic Prosperity.

Davidson discusses Keynes's oft-forgotten insights into the foundational assumptions of economics. Classical economists were treated as "Euclidians in a non-Euclidian world," Davidson says. "When they saw parallel lines intersecting they rebuked them for intersecting." Keynes saw that the problem with Euclidean economics was what he called uncertainty, meaning the idea that the future cannot be predicted from the past -- an insight that modern economics too often ignores.

Inclusive wealth and the history of GDP

The International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) recently published the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012, in which the authors propose a measure of wealth based on the stock of capital present in a country, as opposed to the flow measure of GDP. It is an important step towards a more explicit recognition of the sustainability of the economy’s use of resources, and is so obviously analogous to the standard assets-based way of accounting and estimating wealth in the corporate sector that one wonders why on earth it took so long to appear on the scene. Read more

Insights from Bagehot, for these Trying Times

Here is a talk I gave recently at Wake Forest University.  It is pretty long, but you can page through the video (on the left) by paging through the powerpoint (on the right), and anyway the last twenty minutes are devoted to questions.  I couldn't figure out how to embed it in the blog, but the link will get you there.