The Building Blocks of Neoclassical Analysis

The neoclassical perspective on macroeconomics holds that, in the long run, the economy will fluctuate around its potential GDP and its natural rate of unemployment. This chapter begins with two building blocks of neoclassical economics: (1) potential GDP determines the economy's size and (2) wages and prices will adjust in a flexible manner so that the economy will adjust back to its potential GDP level of output. The key policy implication is this: The government should focus more on long-term growth and on controlling inflation than on worrying about recession or cyclical unemployment. This focus on long-run growth rather than the short-run fluctuations in the business cycle means that neoclassical economics is more useful for long-run macroeconomic analysis and Keynesian economics is more useful for analyzing the macroeconomic short run. Let's consider the two neoclassical building blocks in turn, and how we can embody them in the aggregate demand/aggregate supply model.