Expected completion: Spring 2014
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)
Essays on Growth, Distribution, and Finance: studies on Kaleckian and Marxian political economy
The present thesis consists of three essays that engage with the heterodox economics tradition, in particular its Kaleckian and Marxian variants. The first two essays deal specifically with Kalecki's analysis of the relationship between pricing and distribution and its development by the Kaleckians. In the first of them, his formulation is reconstructed and compared with a growth and distribution model elaborated by his followers, especially Rowthorn, Dutt, and Taylor. Then, some questionings that this theory has received (concerning the relation between competition and distribution, the relation between short and long term determination, and some issues of aggregation) are discussed. Finally, alternative interpretations of the model suggested by these questionings are analyzed. The second essay can be seen as a further development of the topic of the first, focusing on the political dimension of the relationship between pricing and distribution. It investigates the concept of class struggle in Kalecki's writings. First, his inclusion of trade unions' strength as one of the determining elements of the degree of monopoly is examined, taking into consideration Lerner's formulation of the latter. Then, the limits of this understanding of class struggle are pointed out from the standpoint of Marx's conceptual distinction between labor and labor-power. Finally, a reinterpretation of Kalecki's "Political aspects of full employment" is provided, indicating the broader conception of class struggle implicit in this work and its usefulness to a better understanding of capital-labor conflicts in contemporary capitalism.
After this engagement with the Kaleckian tradition, the third essay shifts the focus toward Marxian economics. It offers an interpretation of the Great Recession based on Foley's circuit of capital model. According to this interpretation the contractionary effects of financialization were compensated by the housing bubble, from the mid-1990s to the early 2006. The busting of the bubble, then, was followed by the crisis. The model is calibrated with reference to quarterly data from the Flow of Funds Accounts, from 1960 to 1995. The interaction of financialization and the housing bubble, from 1996 to 2006 and from 2006 to 2009, is examined by simulating a baseline version of the model and imposing observed shocks.
Fields of expertise
Macroeconomics, Political Economy, History of Economic Thought, Economic History