Traction

Haven’t written much on Sumner’s NGDP world but there has been a rather gigantic shift among the economic elite, I think, on replacing inflation targeting with NGDP targeting (and level targeting?).

NGDP targeting is when the fed ignores inflation figures and concentrates on how incomes are doing, which is NGDP. It combines real GDP and inflation measures which, in the real world, are combined.

I’ve been reading Sumner’s blog for some time now and he’s the guy that’s had THE big idea right from the start of this whole crisis. History will judge him well.

Here is Krugman:

My beef with market monetarism early on was that its proponents seemed to be saying that the Fed could always hit whatever nominal GDP level it wanted; this seemed to me to vastly underrate the problems caused by a liquidity trap. My view was always that the only way the Fed could be assured of getting traction was via expectations, especially expectations of higher inflation –a view that went all the way back to my early stuff on Japan. And I didn’t think the climate was ripe for that kind of inflation-creating exercise.

At this point, however, we seem to have a broad convergence. As I read them, the market monetarists have largely moved to an expectations view. And now that we’re almost four years into the Lesser Depression, I’m willing, out of a combination of a sense that support is building for a Fed regime shift and sheer desperation, to support the use of expectations-based monetary policy as our best hope.

And one thing the market monetarists may have been right about is the usefulness of focusing on nominal GDP. As far as I can see,the underlying economics is about expected inflation; but stating the goal in terms of nominal GDP may nonetheless be a good idea, largely as a selling point, since it (a) is easier to make the case that we’ve fallen far below where we should be and (b) doesn’t sound so scary and anti-social

Here is a Sumner Summary.

Here is another Sumner Summary.

If this kind of thing interests you in the least, make a careful study of Scott’s blog. You’ll learn a LOT.

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