A post-Keynesian macroeconomic theory for equity markets in stock-flow consistent frameworks

Lopez Bernardo, Javier (2016) A post-Keynesian macroeconomic theory for equity markets in stock-flow consistent frameworks. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This thesis presents a theoretical framework for understanding the long-term behaviour of equity markets. The framework is informed by post-Keynesian theory. It highlights the importance of effective demand for equity valuation - alongside other post-Keynesian features such as a realistic institutional setup, the (in)efficiency of financial markets in pricing assets and the importance of income and wealth distribution for macroeconomic theory. In contrast to mainstream approaches dominated and constrained only by the logic of rational agents, a Stock-Flow Consistent (SFC) methodology is followed here. The strict accounting rules of SFC models guarantee that all assets, flows and price revaluations that happen in an economic system are booked accordingly, with no accounting 'black holes' in the logical structure. The SFC approach also permits an outcome in which the market value of assets differs from their book value, a crucial distinction that should be at the core of any theory for equity returns. This thesis makes a contribution to the post-Keynesian literature on the Cambridge corporate growth models. It is shown that this literature can be used as a starting point for developing a theory of equity markets with a more realistic institutional setup. The main features of the post-Keynesian theory for equity markets developed here can be summarised as follows. First, aggregate demand determines the return on shares and their valuation in the market. Second, Tobin's q is inversely related to the growth rate of the economy in the long-run and inversely related to the marginal propensities to consume. Third, Tobin's q can be different from 1 even in the long-run. And fourth, wealth holders' consumption decisions are a major driver of the equity yield in the long-run, a feature very similar in spirit to the Levy-Kalecki profit equation, but now applied to financial markets. I conclude that post-Keynesian theory can offer an alternative to mainstream finance and fill a gap in current financial macroeconomic theory.

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