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The state spends first: Logic, facts, fictions, open questions

Sergio Cesaratto ()

Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, 2016, vol. 39, issue 1, 44-71

Abstract: Keynesian (or Kaleckian) logic leads post Keynesian economists to presume that a variation of state revenues from taxes and sales of Treasury bonds are the result of a variation in state spending and not the other way around. In the past two decades, the exponents of modern monetary theory (MMT) have been at the forefront in asserting the Keynesian (or Kaleckian) logic of this proposition, filling a theoretical vacuum in post Keynesian thinking. The question is that MMT consolidates the Treasury and Central Bank (CB) so that the latter automatically creates purchasing power in favor of decisions of the former to spend. Critics, however, point out that most institutional arrangements forbid CBs to finance the Treasury directly. After Lavoie (2013), the debate has moved forward and seen some convergence. The present paper critically reviews for unfamiliar readers an otherwise almost esoteric but fundamental discussion.

Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1080/01603477.2016.1147333

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