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7.10 New Keynesian Economics and the Stylized Facts

The new Keynesian model is relatively successful in explaining many of the

business cycle stylized facts (see Abel and Bernanke, 2001):

1. new Keynesian analysis is consistent with the procyclical behaviour of

employment as well as procyclical consumption, investment and government

expenditures and productivity (see Chapter 6 for a discussion of

procyclical productivity);

2. the non-neutrality of money in new Keynesian models is consistent with

the stylized fact that money is procyclical and leading;

3. more controversial (see Chapter 6) is the new Keynesian prediction that

inflation will tend to be procyclical and lagging. Procyclical inflation is

consistent with new Keynesian models which emphasize aggregate deThe

new Keynesian school 409

mand disturbances. However, this stylized fact has in recent years been

challenged (see Kydland and Prescott, 1990, and Chapter 6);

4. new Keynesian models, unlike the old Keynesian models, do not imply a

countercyclical real wage. When sticky nominal prices are introduced,

the real wage in new Keynesian models can be procyclical or acyclical

(see Mankiw, 1990). If the efficiency wage is sensitive to the rate of

unemployment, then real wages will tend to be mildly procyclical in

such models (see Shapiro and Stiglitz, 1984).

Greenwald and Stiglitz (1988) in their survey of macroeconomic theories

conclude that no model successfully explains all the data, but the new

Keynesian model does better than either the traditional Keynesian or real

business cycle alternatives. For those economists who see involuntary unemployment

as a stylized fact in need of explanation, the new Keynesian models

rooted in imperfect competition are ‘impressively better’ than the new classical

or real business cycle alternatives (Carlin and Soskice, 1990).