Austrian Theory and Economic Organization: Reaching Beyond by Guinevere Liberty Nell (auth.)

By Guinevere Liberty Nell (auth.)

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For more from this perspective, we can turn to Hutt’s contemporary, William Beveridge. Beveridge and Full Employment in a Free Society William Beveridge’s contribution to the literature on unemployment began with his 1909 book, Unemployment: A Problem of Industry, which principally considered the forces that would be taken up by Pigou: frictions preventing labor market adjustments in the short run. This work addressed what is today referred to as mismatch theory, without reff erence to general deficiencies in demand.

Although a menagerie of economic and social metrics were tracked and discussed during the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent recession, the unemployment rate ranked high in the public imagination as an indicator of the state of the economy. Since employment is the principal source of income for most families, labor market weakness is understandably an important concern during hard times. Guided by the social import of the problem now and in past economic crises, economists have expended considerable effort toward understanding the determinants of unemployment.

Economists consider this a natural solution partly because wage reductions should occur as a part of the market process. Unemployed workers with reservation wages below the market wage should prefer (and therefore offer) to sell their labor to willing employers at a lower rate until the market converges to equilibrium. No additional The Problem of Unemployment 45 planning or incentivizing is necessary aside from the natural pursuit of agents’ own interests. This solution to the problem of unemployment is contingent, of course, on the identification of unemployment with a labor surplus.

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