The stock-flow consistent (SFC) modeling approach, grounded in the pioneering work of Wynne Godley and James Tobin in the 1970s, has been adopted by a growing number of researchers in macroeconomics, especially after the publication of Godley and Lavoie (2007), which provided a general framework for the analysis of whole economic systems, and the recognition that macroeconomic models integrating real markets with flow-of-funds analysis had been particularly successful in predicting the Great Recession of 2007–9. We introduce the general features of the SFC approach for a closed economy, showing how the core model has been extended to address issues such as financialization and income distribution. We next discuss the implications of the approach for models of open economies and compare the methodologies adopted in developing SFC empirical models for whole countries. We review the contributions where the SFC approach is being adopted as the macroeconomic closure of microeconomic agent-based models, and how the SFC approach is at the core of new research in ecological macroeconomics. Finally, we discuss the appropriateness of the name “stock-flow consistent” for the class of models we survey.
Forthcoming in Journal of Economic Surveys
Abstract. Several authors, particularly from ecological economics, locate a ‘growth imperative’ within the current monetary system based on credit money and positive interest rates. The strongest claim comes from papers such as Binswanger (2009, 2015) arguing based on a monetary circuit model that growth is unavoidable to maintain economic stability independent on the will of the economic agents. On the other side of the spectrum, Jackson & Victor (2015) have disputed this claim, presenting a post-Keynesian stock-flow consistent model that converges to a stationary state in their numerical simulations.
The central aim of this paper is to clarify why certain modeling approaches lead to a growth imperative and others do not. We analyzed the models in the tradition of Binswanger and concluded that their accounting of banks’ capital is inconsistent, and a modeling assumption central for a growth imperative is not underpinned theoretically: Bank’s equity capital has to increase even if debt does not. This is a discrepancy between the authors’ intentions in their texts and their actual models.
Second, we analyze several post-Keynesian models, a single static one, and four discrete time stock-flow consistent models. We show how to perform a stability analysis in the parameter space, and find that depending on parameter values, the stationary state can be stable or not. A stationary state with zero net saving and investment can be reached with positive interest rates, if the parameter ‘consumption out of wealth’ is above a threshold that rises with the interest rate.
We conclude that a monetary system based on interest-bearing debt-money with private banks does not lead to an ‘inherent’ growth imperative, but the stationary state can be unstable. This is caused by agents’ decisions, not by structural inevitableness. The stability analysis adds additional insights to numerical simulations of the dynamics, because we can precisely determine the parameter ranges where a stationary state can be reached.
Abstract The paper moves from a discussion of the challenges posed by the crisis to standard macroeconomics and the solutions adopted within the DSGE community. Although sev- eral recent improvements have enhanced the realism of standard models, we argue that major drawbacks still undermine their reliability. In particular, DSGE models still fail to recognize the complex adaptive nature of economic systems, and the implications of money endogeneity. The paper argues that a coherent and exhaustive representation of the inter-linkages between the real and financial sides of the economy should be a pivotal feature of every macroeconomic model and proposes a macroeconomic framework based on the combination of the Agent Based and Stock Flow Consistent approaches. The papers aims at contributing to the nascent AB-SFC literature under two fundamental respects: first, we develop a fully decentralized AB-SFC model with several innovative features, and we thoroughly validate it in order to check whether the model is a good candidate for policy analysis applications. Results suggest that the properties of the model match many empirical regularities, ranking among the best performers in the related literature, and that these properties are robust across different parameterizations. Second, the paper has also a methodological purpose in that we try to provide a set or rules and tools to build, calibrate, validate, and display AB-SFC models.
This link gives you access freely to the paper until August 18.
Alessandro Caiani, Antoine Godin, Eugenio Caverzasi, Mauro Gallegati, Stephen Kinsella, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Agent based-stock flow consistent macroeconomics: Towards a benchmark model, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Volume 69, August 2016, Pages 375-408
Tim Jackson, Peter Victor and Ali Asjad Naqvi, ‘Towards a Stock-Flow Consistent Ecological Macroeconomics’, ESRC Passage Working paper Series 15-02, 2015 Abstract: Modern western economies (in the Eurozone and elsewhere) face a number of challenges over the coming decades. Achieving full employment, meeting climate change and other key environmental targets, and reducing inequality rank amongst the highest of these. The conventional route to achieving these goals has been to pursue economic growth. But this route has created two critical problems for modern economies. The first is that higher growth leads (ceteris parabis) to higher environmental impact. The second is that fragility in financial balances has accompanied relentless demand expansion.
The prevailing global response to the first problem has been to encourage a decoupling of output from impacts by investing in green technologies (green growth). But this response runs the risk of exacerbating problems associated with the over-leveraging of households, firms and governments and places undue confidence in unproven and imagined technologies. An alternative approach is to reduce the pace of growth and to restructure economies around green services (post-growth). But the potential dangers of declining growth rates lie in increased inequality and in rising unemployment. Some more fundamental arguments have also been made against the feasibility of interest-bearing debt within a post-growth economy.
The work described in this paper was motivated by the need to address these fundamental dilemmas and to inform the debate that has emerged in recent years about the relative merits of green growth and post-growth scenarios. In pursuit of this aim we have developed a suite of macroeconomic models based on the methodology of Post-Keynesian Stock Flow Consistent (SFC) system dynamics. Taken together these models represent the first steps in constructing a new macroeconomic synthesis capable of exploring the economic and financial dimensions of an economy confronting resource or environmental constraints. Such an ecological macroeconomics includes an account of basic macroeconomic variables such as the GDP, consumption, investment, saving, public spending, employment, and productivity. It also accounts for the performance of the economy in terms of financial balances, net lending positions, money supply, distributional equity and financial stability.
This report illustrates the utility of this new approach through a number of specific analyses and scenario explorations. These include an assessment of the Piketty hypothesis (that slow growth increases inequality), an analysis of the ‘growth imperative’ hypothesis (that interest bearing debt requires economic growth for stability), and an analysis of the financial and monetary implications of green investment policies. The work also assesses the scope for fiscal policy to improve social and environmental outcomes
Malcolm Sawyer and Marco Veronese Passarella, ‘The Monetary Circuit in the Age of Financialisation: A Stock-Flow Consistent Model with A Twofold Banking Sector’, Metroeconomica, doi: 10.1111/meca.12103, 2015 Abstract: The paper explores how the Theory of Monetary Circuit can be developed to reflect some important features of the evolution of the financial system in the past three decades, which have been associated with what may be termed ‘financialisation.’ For this purpose, we embed the benchmark single-period monetary circuit scheme proposed by Graziani in a richer set of institutional arrangements. The stock-flow consistent modelling technique pioneered by Godley and Lavoie is used to support our narrative.
Patrizio Lainà, ‘Money Creation under Full-reserve Banking: A Stock-Flow Consistent Model’, Levy Institute Working Paper n.851, 2015 Abstract: This paper presents a stock-flow consistent model+ of full-reserve banking. It is found that in a steady state, full-reserve banking can accommodate a zero-growth economy and provide both full employment and zero inflation. Furthermore, a money creation experiment is conducted with the model. An increase in central bank reserves translates into a two-thirds increase in demand deposits. Money creation through government spending leads to a temporary increase in real GDP and inflation. Surprisingly, it also leads to a permanent reduction in consolidated government debt. The claims that full-reserve banking would precipitate a credit crunch or excessively volatile interest rates are found to be baseless
Abstract: The emergence and persistence of large trade imbalances as well as the volatility of financial flows among countries have been attributed, at least in part, to the inadequacy of the current international monetary system after the breakdown of Bretton Woods. From a different perspective, the current eurozone crisis is also the result, in our view, of a flawed institutional setting. These problems call for reforms to mitigate or avoid the recessionary bias that is the outcome of current systems, as Keynes predicted in the discussion preceding the Bretton Woods agreements. In this paper we briefly review the evidence on international imbalances, and survey the rapidly growing literature on the subject. We introduce a set of models based on the stock-flow-consistent approach pioneered by Godley (1999) and Lavoie and Godley (2003). We discuss how to use these models to explore potential reform of the international monetary system.
The first version of this paper dates back to 2011… but it has been written to provide a benchmark model so that other researchers could expand on it, so it should not become obsolete too quickly!
The European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention has just published a special issue dedicated to Post-Keynesian stock-flow consistent modeling.
Introduction by Antoine Godin, papers:
Huub Meijers, Joan Muysken and Olaf Sleijpen
– The deposit financing gap: another Dutch disease
Saed Khalil and Stephen Kinsella
– Bad banks choking good banks: simulating balance sheet contagion
Eugenio Caverzasi and Antoine Godin
– Financialisation and the sub-prime crisis: a stock-flow consistent model
Jacques Mazier and Sebastian Valdecantos
– A multi-speed Europe: is it viable? A stock-flow consistent approach
Biagio Ciuffo and Eckehard Rosenbaum
– Comparative numerical analysis of two stock-flow consistent post-Keynesian growth models
A new working paper by Ítalo Pedrosa and Antonio Carlos Macedo e Silva, “A Minskyan-Fisherian SFC model for analyzing the linkages of private financial behavior and public debt” is available here Abstract: This paper builds a stock-flow consistent (SFC) model to analyze how private financial behavior impacts fiscal variables, by exploring the linkages between the financial and productive sides of the economy with prices given by a Phillips curve. We study three different fiscal expenditure regimes: 1. Automatic stabilizer: government expenditures follow an exogenous long run trend; 2. Countercyclical fiscal expenditure; 3. Fiscal austerity: government reduces expenditures when it faces an increase in its debt to capital ratio. The model has three major implications, ratifying Keynesian intuitions. First, an increase in public debt is an unintended consequence of contractionary financial conditions. Second, in most cases countercyclical fiscal expenditures improve both the economic activity and the trajectory of public debt to GDP. Third, austerity policies postpone and magnify the after-shock adjustment, and may not be compatible with fiscal soundness.
Ayoze Alfageme kindly offered to update our references database on publications adopting the stock-flow-consistent approach.
The following is a preliminary list of recent papers, that will soon be included in our database: