Unlike the other approaches to modelling wages and prices that we discuss in the next chapters, Aukrust’s model (or the Scandinavian model for that matter) is seldom cited in the current literature. There are two reasons why this is unfortunate. First, Aukrust’s theory is a rare example of a genuinely macroeconomic theory that deals with aggregates which have precise and operational definitions. Moreover, Aukrust’s explanation of the hypothesised behavioural relationships is ‘thick’, that is, he relies on a broad set of formative forces which are not necessarily reducible to specific (‘thin’) models of individual behaviour. Second, the Norwegian model of inflation sees inflation as a many-faceted system property, thus avoiding the one-sidedness of many more recent theories that seek to pinpoint one (or a few) factors behind inflation (e. g. excess money supply, excess product demand, too low unemployment, etc.).
In the typology of Rorty (1984), our reconstruction of Aukrust’s model has used elements both from rational reconstructions, which present past ideas with the aid of present-day concepts and methods, and historical reconstructions, which understand older theories in the context of their own times. Thus, our brief excursion into the history of macroeconomic thought is traditional and pluralistic as advocated by Backhouse (1995: ch. 1). Appraisal in terms of modern concepts hopefully communicates the set of testable hypotheses emerging from Aukrust’s model to interested practitioners. On the other hand, Aukrust’s taciturnity on the relationship between wage-setting and the determination of long-run unemployment is clearly conditioned by the stable situation of near full employment in the 1960s. In Chapter 4, we show how a Phillips curve can be combined with Aukrust’s model so that unemployment is endogenised. We will also show that later models of the bargaining type, can be viewed as extensions (and new derivations) rather than contradictory to Aukrust’s contribution.
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