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Why Stimulus Has Failed

The world suffers from a shortage of aggregate demand relative to supply, but more monetary and fiscal stimulus has done little to revive growth and employment. That is because years of a debt-fueled boom left behind an economy that supplies too much of the wrong kind of good relative to the changed demand.

NEW DELHI – Two fundamental beliefs have driven economic policy around the world in recent years. The first is that the world suffers from a shortage of aggregate demand relative to supply; the second is that monetary and fiscal stimulus will close the gap.

Is it possible that the diagnosis is right, but that the remedy is wrong? That would explain why we have made little headway so far in restoring growth to pre-crisis levels. And it would also indicate that we must rethink our remedies.

High levels of involuntary unemployment throughout the advanced economies suggest that demand lags behind potential supply. While unemployment is significantly higher in sectors that were booming before the crisis, such as construction in the United States, it is more widespread, underpinning the view that greater demand is necessary to restore full employment.

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