Abstract

The paper presents a post-Keynesian view of unemployment. It argues, first, that the effective labour demand need not be downward sloping with respect to real wages, and aggregate demand need not be downward sloping with respect to inflation; second, that there is a broad case for unemployment hysteresis, understood as endogeneity of the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU), based on social norms in wage bargaining and on the supply-side effects of capital accumulation; and, third, that, much as Keynes argued, capital investment (rather than labour-market institutions) is the key variable to explain changes in aggregate unemployment performance across countries and over time. Overall, the paper advocates a Keynesian view of the NAIRU, where effective demand determines unemployment in the short run and the deviation of actual unemployment from the NAIRU determines the change in inflation. In the medium term the NAIRU is endogenous and follows actual unemployment.

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