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Less Than Zero: The Case for a Falling Price Level in a Growing Economy (Hobart Papers) Paperback – August, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0255364027 ISBN-10: 0255364024

5 New from $291.73 9 Used from $17.04 1 Collectible from $212.82
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Paperback, August, 1997
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Product Details

  • Series: Hobart Papers (Book 132)
  • Paperback: 82 pages
  • Publisher: Coronet Books Inc (August 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0255364024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0255364027
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,912,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Junglies VINE VOICE on March 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Editorial Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a London based think tank, records in his forward to Professor Selgin's book that the counter-revolution in economics has resulted in a revival of classical liberal ideas. Later he notes that the central argument of the book, is a monetary policy that permitted prices to vary with changes in productivity ie a productivity norm. The author, in his research, claims that the idea was considered by 19th century thinkers but was almost lost under the tidal wave of Keynesian ideas.
This paper finds particular relevance at the moment when interest rates in the United States and Japan are close to zero.
Professor Selgin begins the book with a note on the current view of monetary policy being directed at achieving a price level at or close to zero. The idea of monetary expansion as a means of achieving full employment has been discredited. He introduces his concept of a variable price level with reference to a productivity norm and establishes basic ideas about productivity.
From here he begins to develop his concept in greater detail, looking at the case for a zero price level before moving on to consider the issue of productivity and relative prices. The argument he develops uses historial evidence as well as a little formal analysis involving 4 Aggregate Supply/Demand diagrams but the level of rigour is not too onerous for the general reader.
A brief chapter considering the effects of a productivity norm on contracts between debtors and creditors before Professor Selgin moves to the Historical Implications of a productivity norm. In this chapter he sets out a number of examples from history whereby falling price levels were considered to be signs of depression and rising ones to be a sign of excessive monetary expansion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Molina on December 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Short but sweet book. It packs a lot of info into a small amount of space. It also makes use of analogy to illustrate concepts, which is nice. Selgin does a great job talking about why deflation is not *always* bad and that you don't even have to go outside of conventional economics to see it, as can be illustrated with the usual Aggregate Supply and Demand diagram. He then goes on talking about how this in the context of an economy with a central bank and what policy might allow for benign deflation. His conclusion is that a productivity norm would be more effective - targeting the growth rate of NGDP (not the level of NGDP as some economists are talking about these days). According to less than zero, this would allow the benefits of reduced production costs to be more readily visible to us in the price level and would prevent macroeconomic disruptions caused by the central bank (for if the central bank targets the price level, it could create a bubble in response to benign deflation by stimulating aggregate demand)
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