The Mother of All Output Gaps

There’s an interesting assumption going on behind the estimation of the output gaps (the difference between the economy’s current output and the economy’s estimated maximum potential output)–that not only did the economy decline during the recent crisis, but that the economy’s potential declined as well. This assumption leads to governments believing that their economies are less capable than perhaps they are, that the output gaps are not especially large, and that there is little revenue to be raised to offset stimulus spending, but what if it is not true? The idea comes from Capital Economics, a macroeconomics research company, has received attention from the Financial Times and Paul Krugman, and now it will receive attention from me as today’s topic.

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