IS-LM and Monetarism

Michael D. Bordo, Anna J. Schwartz

NBER Working Paper No. 9713
Issued in May 2003
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, Monetary Economics

This paper discusses monetarist objections to the IS-LM model. We explore the views of two principal spokesmen for monetarism: Milton Friedman and the team of Karl Brunner and Allan Meltzer. Friedman did not explicitly state the reasons he generally chose not to use the IS-LM model in rejecting Keynesian views on the demand function for money, the role of autonomous expenditures in cyclical fluctuations, the potency of fiscal policy as against monetary policy, etc. He presented statistical findings, historical evidence, and econometric results to support his alternative analysis of macroeconomics, but his critics were unconvinced. In 1970, in an effort to use his critics' common language, he set up a model with explicit terms for IS-LM to encompass both the quantity theory and the income-expenditure theory. Friedman attributed the failure of this effort to the fact that he was a Marshallian, his opponents Walrasians. Brunner and Meltzer's objections to IS-LM were explicit. They found it too spare, so they elaborated it by adding a credit market, disaggregating the asset market by specifying three assets: base money, government debt, and real capital. They set up a model with financial institutions and utilized it to study the effects of a variety of policies. In brief, summarizing the views of both Friedman and Brunner and Meltzer, monetarists dislike the IS-LM framework because it limits monetary influence too narrowly, essentially to the interest elasticity of money demand, and defines investment in an excessively narrow fashion, and even that is not explicit.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9713

Published: Bordo, Michael D. and Anna J. Schwartz. "IS-LM And Monetarism," History of Political Economy, 2004, v36(4,Winter), 217-239. citation courtesy of

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