Balancing Keynesian and Neoclassical Models

Key Concepts and Summary

The Keynesian perspective considers changes to aggregate demand to be the cause of business cycle fluctuations. Keynesians are likely to advocate that policy makers actively attempt to reverse recessionary and inflationary periods because they are not convinced that the self-correcting economy can easily return to full employment.

The neoclassical perspective places more emphasis on aggregate supply. Neoclassical economists believe that long term productivity growth determines the potential GDP level and that the economy typically will return to full employment after a change in aggregate demand. Skeptical of the effectiveness and timeliness of Keynesian policy, neoclassical economists are more likely to advocate a hands-off, or fairly limited, role for active stabilization policy.

While Keynesians would tend to advocate an acceptable tradeoff between inflation and unemployment when counteracting a recession, neoclassical economists argue that no such tradeoff exists. Any short-term gains in lower unemployment will eventually vanish and the result of active policy will only be inflation.