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The Festival for New Economic Thinking aims to bring together those who seek to improve how economics is taught, studied and practiced. 

The Festival for New Economic Thinking will take place from 19-20 October 2017 at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange in Scotland. The event is the result of a collaborative initiative between several organisations, including INET’s Young Scholars InitiativeRethinking EconomicsNetzwerk Plurale Ökonomik/ Exploring EconomicsThe Minskys and The History of Economic Thought Website

For more information on the Festival for New Economic Thinking visit our website - https://newecon.co/

The Festival precedes the INET plenary conference taking place on 21-23 October. 

Young Scholars are welcome to attend the parallel running mini courses taking place at the Corn Exchange on 18 October, 9.30am - 3.30pm.

Course 1: 

Keynesian Macroeconomics for the 21st Century

Steven Fazzari, Washington University in St. Louis

These lectures present a perspective on macroeconomics with the primary objective of understanding the dramatic events of recent decades, events that were entirely unforeseen from the perspective of mainstream macroeconomics as taught in most graduate programs. Throughout these three lectures, we will discuss the research process that led to the development of these ideas along with thoughts about issues that provide opportunities for further research.

1. Foundations. This lecture will summarize the theoretical foundation of Keynesian macroeconomics, that is, how demand conditions affect production and employment. We will consider several versions of Say’s Law and how it fails in a monetary economy (the paradox of thrift). We will identify significant limitations to the mainstream interpretation of Keynesian macro: demand constraints on production arise from nominal rigidity and  that wage and price adjustment eliminates demand effects on output. We will also discuss the limits of monetary policy as an alternative to wage and price adjustment. I will argue that neither of the two mainstream paradigms in macroeconomics (“new classical” equilibrium  models nor “new Keynesian” models that rely on nominal rigidities) can adequately explain modern macroeconomic events, on both theoretical and empirical grounds, especially after the Great Recession and the subsequent sluggish recovery.

2. Intrinsic Keynesian Dynamics: Sowing the Seeds of Crisis. This session begins by describing basic features of an alternative macro framework in which demand can constrain aggregate economic activity beyond the “short run” of sticky wages and prices. According to what we will label the “intrinsic Keynesian perspective” demand creates the proximate constraint on aggregate output and employment most of the time, at least in recent decades in developed countries. Through the lens of Hyman Minsky’s financial instability hypothesis, we will consider dynamic processes that led up to and triggered the 2008-2009 financial crisis and Great Recession. How was household demand generated in the years prior to the crisis? What was the role of rising household indebtedness and the credit system? What triggered the crisis?

3. Macroeconomic Dynamics, Rising Inequality, and Secular Stagnation. Following the Great Recession, recovery in the US and other developed countries has been sluggish. (An issue that played an significant role in the surprising outcome of the 2016 US presidential election and is also likely important in European populist movements.) We will lay out the empirical case for secular stagnation and explore how it relates to the dynamics of demand as emphasized in the intrinsic Keynesian perspective. We also discuss evidence that rising income inequality has created a drag on household demand growth that helps explain stagnation. 

Course 2: 

Understanding Industrial Structures and Political Outcomes

Thomas Ferguson, INET

Economics and economic history are now awash in works purporting to relate politics to economics and vice versa. Many are implausible on their face and some are downright embarrassing.

This course considers how to do the job better. The approach is not highly theoretical, but mostly practical. At times it will almost resemble a cookbook and, perforce, it will have to move fast over a lot of ground.  Questions we will consider include: Firstly, how to think about the problem in general, with a stylized glance at some of the literature. Then brief discussion of models that hardly ever work, like median voter and public choice approaches. Then we take up how to analyze industrial structures and relate them to political parties and state decisions. Here the approach is very down to earth: Where do you get data and how to test it, including how to get out of econometric holes you have dug yourself into. We will briefly look at some cases, including the American New Deal, the Nazi seizure of power, and some recent American presidential elections


Course 3:

Epistemology Breakdowns: Information Economics, Fake Knowledge, Fake News

Philip Mirowski, University of Notre Dame

After Brexit and Trump, it has become commonplace to assert we live in a ‘post-truth era’. Without dealing in grand meta-narratives that postmodernists had insisted don’t exist, clearly something is happening in economics and politics with regard to ‘public epistemology’. In this course, we approach this question from a number of directions: (1) the role of neoliberalism in the history of microeconomics, and the notion of the market as superior information processor; (2) the recent promulgation of such convictions by means of social media and online developments, with consequent deformations of images of ‘truth’; and (3) the development of platform capitalism as a business model, and its ongoing re-engineering of science. Contrary to those who insist there is nothing new under the sun, we will suggest that, far from being a reprise of old-fashioned propaganda in politics, there is indeed an alternative political epistemology in the 21st century taking shape that draws strength from a ‘market epistemology’ which has assumed new forms in the recent past.

Suggested readings:

Philip Mirowski & Edward Nik-Khah, The Knowledge we Have Lost in Information (Oxford, 2017)

Philip Mirowski, “Hell is Truth Seen too Late,” boundary 2, forthcoming

Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse Shapiro (2008) “Competition and Truth in the Market for News,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, (22):121-159.

Nick Srnicek, Platform Capitalism, (Polity, 2017).


Course 4:

Discourses on Foreign Trade: Trade and Development in the History of Economic Thought

Goncalo Fonseca, INET

Discourses on Foreign Trade: Trade and Development in the History of Economic Thought

Economic nationalism has returned.  International trade is once again under suspicion in the public square. Economists and other experts, nurtured on the doctrine of comparative advantage, have been surprised.  Many have attributed the current turn towards trade restrictions to a temporary madness, confident that if the general public were informed of the truths of economics, they would realize that liberalization of trade is the best policy.  

But is this what economics really says?

The case for free trade is one of the oldest in economics - indeed, it is hard to think of one without the other.  The great Scottish philosopher Adam Smith gave birth to both simultaneously. But the suspicion of foreign trade did not go away with the publication of the Wealth of Nations. 

In this course, we will look at trade theory from a historical perspective. We shall examine the evolution of ideas about trade, as well as how changing economic circumstances informed their development, and how these ideas translated into policy. We shall cover trade from its earliest reaches, its passage via the Mercantilist era, through Liberal and Nationalist interpretations in the 19th Century, into 20th Century models of trade and development. 

As it turns out, the cases for and against trade are subtle.  In this course we shall examine what economists have had to say about the gains from trade, the costs of trade, institutions and policies and the link between trade and long-run growth and development. Prior familiarity with trade theory is not a prerequisite, and shall be built up as we go.

Course 5:

Alternative Theories of Development

Erik Reinert, Tallinn University of Technology

These lectures provide alternative perspectives on the theory and history of economic development. The dominant canon of New Institutional Economics has proven to be only a partial explanation of disparities in income across space and time. Power conflict, diverse institutions and structuralism are brought to bear as more complete explanations. 

The history of Development Economics is traced back to early Modern Europe in the Italian City States, where economic emulation, production of increasing returns activities and technology are the centre of economic change and development. The lectures explore how this old tradition was applied in Western Europe, the US and Chinese and Indian Development thinking. Thus, the lectures explore the theories and approaches, which, over a prolonged period of time, have existed as viable alternatives to today’s mainstream and neoclassical tenets. Statistics of the bestselling economics books, measured by the number of editions, is provided as an indicator of influence. We look at critical development issues: Premature de-industrialization, Development and the Environment, Globalization and Development; among others. 

Our YSI working groups welcome contributions by young scholars who wish to present their research in the group meetings and at the exhibition space at the Festival. Refer to the listed types of submissions and working groups below to see their specific call for abstracts as well as the collaborative call for data visualisation. You may register your submission to one or two working groups of your choice. The deadline for submissions is August 21st, 2017.

Travel stipends will be awarded on the basis of merit and need. If you indicate the need for travel support, please include a brief motivation (we are interested in your thoughts on new economic thinking, how the Festival may benefit you and your research, and whether you’ve had any previous engagement with YSI).

Call for Abstracts [has ended]

The following working groups invite you to submit your contribution for a paper presentation during the group meetings at the Festival. Click on the relevant link below!

AfricaBehavior and SocietyComplexity
CooperativesEast AsiaEconomic Development
Economic HistoryFinance, Law and EconomicsFinancial Stability
Gender and EconomicsHistory of Economic ThoughtInequality
InnovationKeynesian EconomicsLatin America 
Philosophy of Economics Political Economy of EuropeSouth Asia
Urban and Regional DevelopmentSustainabilityStates and Markets

Call for Data Visualization

You can apply to the collaborative exhibition and data visualization contest organized by the Working Groups on Economic Development, Africa, Complexity, East Asia, Inequality, Latin America, and Urban and Regional DevelopmentClick here to view the joint call for contributions! Exhibitors will have the chance to showcase their works as well as discuss their original research findings throughout the Festival.

Finalists will have the chance to present their research findings and motivation behind the poster in front of a panel of data specialists and professors. The Award for Best Visualization will end the session, based on marking by a panel of senior scholars.

“Alternative Theories of Economic Development” - Call for Participants

The Working Group on Economic Development is calling for your participation in a two-part workshop and a debate competition. The Workshop will be largely based on the recently published book, Alternative Theories of Economic Development, edited by Erik S. Reinert, Jayati Ghosh and Rainer Kattel. The aim of the Debating competition is to illustrate how one question can be analyzed from many different angles by having each contestant arguing from one specific theoretical tradition.

For more information, click here. 

In order to submit your abstract you must be registered the Young Scholars Directory. Please visit ysd.ineteconomics.org/register in case you have not done so yet. This is also a great opportunity to join the working groups you are interested in.

If you are already part of the Young Scholars Directory, click here to go straight to the submission platform. 

If you have any further queries regarding the Festival, contact festival@newecon.co. For more information on the Call for Abstracts, please contact ysi@ineteconomics.org