Thursday, November 23, 2017

Brian Romanchuk — The Theoretical Incoherence Of Full Employment Arguments

One quite often runs into arguments that rely on assuming full employment, and then relating that policy decisions. In my view, such arguments are fundamentally weak; we need to refer to actual model results to discuss policy. In this article, I explain why an attempt to apply a NAIRU argument to a Job Guarantee is misguided. The analysis is unusual: instead of discussing a single model, the behaviour of an entire class of reasonable economic models is analysed. This reflects the attitude towards model uncertainty that animates robust control theory.
Since my thesis is that full employment arguments are mathematically incoherent, I had little choice but to lapse into a stilted mathematical writing style. My apologies....

Bond Economics
The Theoretical Incoherence Of Full Employment Arguments
Brian Romanchuk

I have little doubt that my previous article on J* -- a definition that I invented -- was confusing to most of my readers. As I wrote, I reverted to a mathematical style of writing. It is likely that inventing a concept and proving it does not exist is a pastime that would mainly be of interest to mathematicians (and philosophers). However, I have a real-world target in mind: NAIRU. All we need to do generalise the theorem procedure, and we can prove that a similar concept -- U* -- does not exist in the current institutional structure. We can then use that information to annihilate any definition of NAIRU that ends up being equivalent to U*.
Why not take on NAIRU directly, a reader might ask? This is because economists are not mathematicians. They use any number of different concepts, and assume that they are the same thing. It is a waste of time trying to prove the incoherence of each of these concepts; we just prove that U* cannot exist, and we can then just prove the equivalence of any particular definition of NAIRU to U* as needed.
Obviously,. that seems to be a rather grandiose assertion. I could easily be wrong. The most obvious hurdle is that there could be a flaw in my J* non-existence proof. I have thrown it out there, and I am waiting for it to be shot down. A more intelligent approach would have been to approach people privately and get their opinion, but hey, I decided to roll the dice.
From J* To U*: What My Conjecture Is About 

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