The Controversy over Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)

On Sunday, February 6, the New York Times ran an article on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) on the front page of its business section with the title, “Time for a Victory Lap.” Link here, subscription may be required. (Note: The title of the article was later changed on the nytimes.com site to “Is This What Winning Looks Like?” perhaps because of the controversy linked to below.)

The article led to a controversy on Twitter (but, then, what topic doesn’t lead to a controversy on Twitter?). Social media is, obviously, not always the best place to discuss economic theory and policy, but instructors and students interested in the debate may find the following links useful both because of the substantive issues raised and as an example of how debates over economic policy can sometimes become heated.

Harvard economist Lawrence Summers reacts negatively to the content of the New York Times article (and to MMT) here.

Economics blogger Noah Smith also reacts negatively to the article here. Smith’s blog post discussing the article at length is here, subscription may be required.

Former Fed economist Claudia Sahm defends the article (and MMT) here.

Jeanna Smialek, the author of the New York Times article, reacts to critics of the article here and to Noah Smith’s blog post here. Smith responds to her response here.

Jason Furman of Harvard’s Kennedy School provides a brief discussion of whether MMT has had much influence on monetary policy here

We discuss MMT in the Apply the Concept, “Modern Monetary Theory: Should We Stop Worrying and Love the Debt?” in Macroeconomics, Chapter 16, Section 16.6 and in Economics, Chapter 26, Section 26.6.

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