Category: Economics 10e: Ch 19

The potential relevance of Keynesian economic theory has been sharply brought back into focus as governments struggle to find an appropriate mix of policies to try to avoid or mitigate the impact of recession on their economy. Chancellor Alistair Darling has relaxed fiscal rules to allow spending to rise in an attempt to boost aggregate demand and compensate for falling consumer demand.

How to kick start a faltering economy the Keynes way BBC Magazine (22/10/08)
Situation vacant: a theorist is sought to succeed Mr Keynes Guardian (11/10/08)
In praise of ….. John Maynard Keynes Guardian (9/10/08)
Spend, spend, spend: Alistair Darling adopts John Maynard Keynes doctrine Times Online (20/10/08)
Darling invokes Keynes as he eases spending rules to fight recession Guardian (20/10/08)
Follow Gordon Brown again and spend out of recession Times Online (14/10/08)
Economists condemn Chancellor Alistair Darling’s spending plan Telegraph (26/10/08)
Keynes, the man to get the Government out of a crisis The Independent (20/10/08)

Questions

1. Explain briefly the Keynesian approach to the management of the level of aggregate demand.
2. Using diagrams as appropriate, show the impact of the relaxation of fiscal spending rules on the UK economy.
3. Discuss the extent to which a Keynesian approach to economic policy is likely to help the government avoid a recession in the UK. Is leaving the control of interest rates in the hands of an independent Bank of England a constraint on the effectiveness of this policy approach?

A key determinant of the credit crunch was a shortage of liquidity and a breakdown of the interbank lending market. In an attempt to ease the credit situation and restart the interbank lending market, the Bank of England auctioned over £40bn of credit at the end of September. The aim of this was to boost the liquidity position of the banks.

Central banks pump billions into system Guardian (27/9/08)
Bank of England pumps £55bn into credit markets Times Online (26/9/08)
Where has all the money gone? BBC Magazine (15/10/08)

Questions

1. Explain why the Bank of England needed to boost liquidity in the money markets.
2. Using diagrams as appropriate, show the impact of this increase in credit on the money markets. What constraints does the Bank of England face in ensuring that it achieves the desired outcome?
3. Discuss whether the approach of raising liquidity is likely to be more or less effective than a change in the regulatory framework.

Inflation has reached a 16-year high of 5.2% in September 2008 with rising energy bills leading to much of the increase. This puts inflation well outside the target rate for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), but analysts are convinced that it will fall sharply in the coming months with some predicting inflation to be just 1% by autumn 2009. Even the Bank of England has now agreed that inflationary risks have moved “decisively to the downside” allowing them to cut the interest rate from 5% to 4.5% as part of a globally coordinated interest rate cut.

Rising gas bills send inflation to 16-year high Times Online (14/10/08)
Inflation high but fear of recession grows Guardian (14/10/08)
Inflation soars to 5.2% Guardian (14/10/08)
Fresh storm gathering as inflation surge adds £3bn to welfare bill Times Online (15/10/08)
Rising cost of living prompts further pay strike threats Times Online (15/10/08)
Where now for UK inflation? BBC News Online (14/10/08)
Consumer inflation reaches 5.2% BBC News Online (14/10/08)

Questions

1. Explain how the CPI is calculated.
2. What are the principal factors that have led to the rise in inflation to 5.2%?
3. Discuss whether, in the current financial crisis, it is appropriate for the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to be targeting just inflation.
4. Explain the transmission mechanism whereby a cut in interest rates will affect inflation. Discuss whether this transmission mechanism will be as relevant in the current financial climate.

Times of economic uncertainty often lead to people seeking what they consider as ‘safe havens’ for their money. Traditionally gold has been one of these safe havens. This financial crisis has been no exception and the price of gold has risen, but there has also been a rapid growth in demand for gold bullion and gold coins and dealers have found themselves besieged by people looking to protect their savings. ATS Bullion, a London gold bullion dealer, has even seen queues: something quite unprecedented for them.

There’s gold in them thar’ shops: the rush is on Guardian (2/10/08)
Austria witnesses new gold rush BBC News Online (12/10/08)
Gold rush as investors pile into bars Financial Times (3/10/08)
Market turmoil sparks gold rush to specialist funds Times Online (13/10/08)

Questions

1. What the main determinants of demand for gold coins and gold bullion?
2. Using diagrams as appropriate, show the changes that have taken place in the market for gold coins in recent months.
3. Discuss the extent to which the supply of gold bullion is likely to keep up with the rapid growth in demand

Inflationary expectations can be an important determinant of the actual level of inflation and so the Bank of England monitor people’s perceptions of inflation closely. Expectations of inflation are currently at their highest level in eight years.

Questions

1. Explain the transmission mechanism by which higher inflationary expectations are translated into inflation.
2. What are the key determinants of inflationary expectations?
3. Discuss strategies that (a) the Bank of England and (b) the government can adopt to reduce inflationary expectations.