<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Impact of the great recession

An image of a new home construction that appears to have most of the exterior completed but which clearly is not finished and has been abandoned for some time.
The impact of the Great Recession can be seen in many areas of the economy that impact our daily lives. One of the most visible signs can be seen in the housing market where many homes and other buildings are abandoned, including ones that midway through construction. (Credit: modification of work by A McLin/Flickr Creative Commons)

The Great Recession ended in June 2009 after 18 months, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). The NBER examines a variety of measures of economic activity to gauge the overall health of the economy. These measures include real income, wholesale and retail sales, employment, and industrial production. In the years since the official end of this historic economic downturn, it has become clear that the Great Recession was two-pronged, hitting the U.S. economy with the collapse of the housing market and the failure of the financial system's credit institutions, further contaminating global economies. While the stock market rapidly lost trillions of dollars of value, consumer spending dried up, and companies began cutting jobs, economic policymakers were struggling with how to best combat and prevent a national, and even global economic collapse. In the end, policymakers used a number of controversial monetary and fiscal policies to support the housing market and domestic industries as well as to stabilize the financial sector. Some of these initiatives included:

  • Federal Reserve Bank purchase of both traditional and nontraditional assets off banks' balance sheets. By doing this, the Fed injected money into the banking system and increased the amounts of funds available to lend to the business sector and consumers. This also dropped short-term interest rates to as low as zero percent and had the effect of devaluing U.S. dollars in the global market and boosting exports.
  • The Congress and the President also passed several pieces of legislation that would stabilize the financial market. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), passed in late 2008, allowed the government to inject cash into troubled banks and other financial institutions and help support General Motors and Chrysler as they faced bankruptcy and threatened job losses throughout their supply chain. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in early 2009 provided tax rebates to low- and middle-income households to encourage consumer spending.

Four years after the end of the Great Recession, the economy has yet to return to its pre-recession levels of productivity and growth. Annual productivity increased only 1.9% between 2009 and 2012 compared to its 2.7% annual growth rate between 2000 and 2007, unemployment remains above the natural rate, and real GDP continues to lag behind potential growth. The actions taken to stabilize the economy are still under scrutiny and debate about their effectiveness continues. In this chapter, we will discuss the neoclassical perspective on economics and compare it to the Keynesian perspective. At the end of the chapter, we will use the neoclassical perspective to analyze the actions taken in the Great Recession.

Introduction to the neoclassical perspective

In this chapter, you will learn about:

  • The Building Blocks of Neoclassical Analysis
  • The Policy Implications of the Neoclassical Perspective
  • Balancing Keynesian and Neoclassical Models

In Chicago, Illinois, the highest recorded temperature was 105° in July 1995, while the lowest recorded temperature was 27° below zero in January 1958. Understanding why these extreme weather patterns occurred would be interesting. However, if you wanted to understand the typical weather pattern in Chicago, instead of focusing on one-time extremes, you would need to look at the entire pattern of data over time.

A similar lesson applies to the study of macroeconomics. It is interesting to study extreme situations, like the Great Depression of the 1930s or what many have called the Great Recession of 2008–2009. If you want to understand the whole picture, however, you need to look at the long term. Consider the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate has fluctuated from as low as 3.5% in 1969 to as high as 9.7% in 1982 and 9.6% in 2009. Even as the U.S. unemployment rate rose during recessions and declined during expansions, it kept returning to the general neighborhood of 5.0–5.5%. When the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office carried out its long-range economic forecasts in 2010, it assumed that from 2015 to 2020, after the recession has passed, the unemployment rate would be 5.0%. From a long-run perspective, the economy seems to keep adjusting back to this rate of unemployment.

As the name “neoclassical” implies, this perspective of how the macroeconomy works is a “new” view of the “old” classical model of the economy. The classical view, the predominant economic philosophy until the Great Depression, was that short-term fluctuations in economic activity would rather quickly, with flexible prices, adjust back to full employment. This view of the economy implied a vertical aggregate supply curve at full employment GDP, and prescribed a “hands off” policy approach. For example, if the economy were to slip into recession (a leftward shift of the aggregate demand curve), it would temporarily exhibit a surplus of goods. This surplus would be eliminated with falling prices, and the economy would return to full employment level of GDP; no active fiscal or monetary policy was needed. In fact, the classical view was that expansionary fiscal or monetary policy would only cause inflation, rather than increase GDP. The deep and lasting impact of the Great Depression changed this thinking and Keynesian economics, which prescribed active fiscal policy to alleviate weak aggregate demand, became the more mainstream perspective.

Questions & Answers

why should a firm close down when it's unable to pay it's variable cost?
ANDREW Reply
what is oligopolistic competitive market?
ngong
exchange of goods and services between countries is call
Hosea Reply
foreign trade
Peace
what is constant opportunity cost
Tiffany Reply
Constant opportunity cost means the value of sacrifice remains constant in every step.
Dipam
Gross Domestic Product GDP
Yusuf Reply
what is g d p
Jayapal Reply
gross daily performance
domingo
How best can a poor country respond to an economic crisis , what does it have to sacrifice.
Bah Reply
they should pay tax as progressive system and should make sacrifice for taxation of their income and land etc
Hamza
how have the nations tries to solve the problem of scarcity in their economies?
Amani Reply
total concentration on to reduce the per unit cost of commodity by technically or whatever
Hamza
explain what will happen to producer of green coconut now that we have to lockdown in the kingdom of tonga
Tuha Reply
the demand for coconut will decrease and supply increases which result in the decrease in the price of coconut and the coconut will be more elastic
Hamza
tonga is producing more long run economic good explain the meaning of the statement and its implication on the tonga economy
Tuha Reply
Demand is the various quantities of goods and services that consumer(s)are willing and able to purchase at a price within a time
Muhammad Reply
What is demand
Mc Reply
demand relates with the need of people for their satisfaction.
Mohd
demand is de amount of goods and services a consumer us willing to purchase at a given price over a given period of time
Osei
riDemand is the amount of good and services which consumers are willing and able to buy at a particular peroid of time and at a given price
Miguel
Yes that is the tire thing
samuel
Demand is the quantity of goods and services which consumers are willing and able to purchase at a given price over a period of time
Sundaybha
simply , Demand is the sum up of 1)- desire of the commodity 2)- purchasing power for that commodity
Hamza
demand is the amount of goods and service wen consumers are willing and able to buy them at a give time
Dora
Distinguish between cross elasticity and income elasticity of demand
Ruth Reply
Distinguish between cross elasticity and income elasticity of demand
Ruth
if change in the demand of the commodity with respect to change in demand of the substitute or other product called cross elasticity
Hamza
and. if change in the demand of the commodity due to change in the income . called income elasticity
Hamza
👍
Vipul
Cross elasticity of demand is the degree of responsiveness of quantity demanded of a commodity to a small change in price of another commodity whiles Income elasticity of demand is the degree of responsiveness of quantity demanded of a commodity to a small change in income of it's consumers
Afriyie
but these are book wordings
Hamza
income elasticity of demand shows how quantity demanded changes due to changes in income on the other hand cross elasticity refers to how the quantity demanded of a particular good alers given a change in the price of another good.
Keysie
what is the competitive demand
Adiza Reply
Income
Sanni
Competitive demand are those commodity dat are competitive in nature e.g the close up and my my toothpaste the increase in price of close up may bring abt decrease in demand of it and it will serve as increase in purchase of my my
Daniel
With regards to coal shortage and manicipal debts the what form of intervention do you think Eskom can put in place.
kedibone Reply
economic growth of Bhutan
Nima Reply
please, explain all the mathematics terms used in economics
nelson
The answer is: little more than high school algebra and graphs.
Tere

Get the best Principles of economics course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of economics' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask