Main Article Content



One of the tasks assigned to mainstream economists is to legitimize the significance of unemployment. This paper aims to reconstruct the evolution of their approaches from the theoretical impossibility asserted by Pigou to the recognition of involuntary unemployment by Keynes and eventually to different versions of the natural unemployment rate. The unemployment rate had become an instrument for fine-tuning of the economy, but it no longer fulfills this role. It is then the whole dominant macroeconomics that is shaken to its foundations. But this crisis might help to return to expansionary fiscal policies (a Green New Deal) and to the Job Guarantee, thus echoing Keynes’ question: ‘There is work to do; there are men to do it. Why not bring them together?’


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Author Biography

MICHEL HUSSON, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales

Michel Husson is professor of economics at the Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales, France.


    Artus, Patrick. 2017. “On ne sait plus analyser la situation à long terme des économies.” Flash Economie, 7 décembre. Paris: Natixis.

    Artus, Patrick. 2018a. “La courbe de Phillips est à l’envers”. Flash Economie, 8 janvier. Paris: Natixis.

    Artus, Patrick. 2018b. “Ne pas oublier que l’inflation apparaît quand la profitabilité des entreprises est inférieure au niveau souhaité”. Flash Economie, 10 avril. Paris: Natixis.

    Artus, Patrick. 2018c. “Va-t-il falloir changer complètement la théorie qui sous-tend la politique monétaire de la zone euro?” Flash Economie, 24 mai. Paris: Natixis.

    Berson, Clémence et al. 2018. “Does the Phillips curve still exist”. Rue de la Banque n° 56, february. Paris: Banque de France.

    Beveridge, William. 1942. Social Insurance and Allied Services. London: His Majesty’s Srationery Office.

    Beveridge, William. 1944. Full Employment in a Free Society. London: George Allen & Unwin.

    Beveridge, William. 1909. Unemployment. A Problem of Industry. London: Green & Co.

    Blanchard, Olivier. 2016. “The Phillips Curve: Back to the ’60s?” American Economic Review 106(5): 31–34. DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20161003

    Blaug, Mark. 1980. The methodology of economics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Bremer, William. 1975. “Along the “American Way”: The New Deal’s Work Relief Programs for the Unemployed.” The Journal of American History 62(3): 636–652. DOI: 10.2307/2936218

    Cordemans, Naïm and Joris Wauters. 2018. “Inflation et activité économique sont-elles mal synchronisées dans la zone euro?” Revue économique de la Banque Nationale de Belgique, juin 2018. Brussels: Banque Nationale de Belgique.

    Davies, Gavyn. 2017. “The (non) disappearing Phillips Curve: why it matters.” Financial Times October 22. Retrieved September 05, 2019 (

    ECB. 2018. “Price and wage-setting in advanced economies.” ECB Forum on Central Banking 1006. Sintra, 18-20 June.

    Friedman, Milton. 1968. “The Role of Monetary Policy.” The American Economic Review 58(1): 1–17.

    Friedman, Milton. 1977. “Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment.” The Journal of Political Economy 85(3): 451–472.

    Galbraith, James K. 1997. “Time to Ditch the NAIRU.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 11(1): 93–108.

    Gayon, Vincent. 2017. “Le keynésianisme international se débat. Sens de l’acceptable et tournant néolibéral à l’OCDE.” Annales Histoire, Sciences sociales 72(1): 123–164.

    Hobson, John.1899. Problems of Poverty. An Inquiry into the Industrial Condition of the Poor. London: Methuen & Co.

    Hopkins, Harry L. 1936. Untitled address, March 14. United Neighborhood Houses Papers, The Social Welfare History Archives, University of Minnesota.

    Husson, Michel. 2018a. “Des lois anglaises sur les pauvres à la dénonciation moderne de l’assistanat (II).” A l’encontre, 7 avril. Retrieved September 05, 2019 (

    Husson, Michel. 2018b. “Phillips (l’inventeur de la courbe): une trajectoire hors du commun.” note hussonet 121, 3 juillet. Retrieved September 05, 2019 (

    IMF. 2017. “Recent Wage Dynamics in Advanced Economics: Drivers and Implications.” World Economic Outlook, October 2017. Retrieved September 05, 2019 (

    Keynes, John M. and John H. Henderson. 1929. Can Lloyd George Do It? An Examination of the Liberal Pledge. London: The Nation and Athenaeum.

    Keynes, John M. 1936. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Layard, Richard, Stephen Nickell, and Richard Jackman. 1991. Unemployment. Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Lipsey, Richard. 1960. “The Relation between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wage Rates: A Further Analysis.” Economica 27(105): 1-31.

    Lucas, Robert E. 1978. “Unemployment Policy.” The American Economic Review 68(2): 353-357.

    Lucas, Robert E. 1979. “OECD’s McCracken Report. A Review.” Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy 11(1): 161-168.

    Marshall, Alfred. 1903. “Letter to Percy Alden.” Pp. 446-447 in Memorials of Alfred Marshall, edited by Arthur C. Pigou. London: MacMillan and Co. 1925.

    Marx, Karl. 1976. Capital. Book I. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books Ltd.

    McCracken, Paul, ed. 1977. Towards full employment and price stability: a report to the OECD by a group of independent experts. Paris: OECD Publishing.

    McLeay, Michael and Silvana Tenreyro. 2018. “Optimal Inflation and the Identification of the Phillips Curve.” Vox, 3 July.

    Modigliani, Franco and Lucas Papademos. 1975. “Targets for Monetary Policy in the Coming Year.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 1975(1): 141-165.

    OECD. 2018. Rising employment overshadowed by unprecedented wage stagnation. July. Paris: OECD Publishing.

    Phillips, Alban W. H. 1958. “The Relation Between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wage Rates in the United Kingdom, 1861-1957.” Economica 25(100): 283-299.

    Pigou, Arthur C. 1913. Unemployment. London: Williams & Norgate.

    Rubin, Goulven. 2012. “Robert Solow de la courbe de Phillips à la question des fondements de la macroéconomie: 1960-1981.” Paris: HAL, archives ouvertes.

    Samuelson, Paul A. and Robert M. Solow. 1960. “Analytical Aspects of Anti-Inflation Policy.” The American Economic Review 50(2): 177-194.

    Sargent, Thomas, Noah Williams, and Tao Zha. 2006. “Shocks and Government Beliefs: The Rise and Fall of American Inflation.” The American Economic Review 96(4): 1193-1224.

    Schwarzer, Johannes. 2015. Price Stability versus Full Employment: The Phillips Curve Dilemma Reconsidered. Dissertation. Fakultät Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften der Universität Hohenheim, am 4 Dezember.

    Solow, Robert M. 1978. “Summary and Evaluation.” Pp. 203-209 in After the Phillips Curve: Persistence of High Inflation and High Unemployment. Boston: The Boston Federal Reserve Bank.

    Solow, Robert M. 1979. “What We Know and Don’t Know About Inflation.” Technology Review 81(3): 30-44.

    Tcherneva, Pavlina R. 2012. “Permanent On-The-Spot Job Creation. The Missing Keynes Plan for Full Employment and Economic Transformation.” Review of Social Economy 70(1): 57-80.

    The Economist. 2018. “If wages are to rise, workers need more bargaining power.” May 31st.

    Tobin, James. 1972. “Inflation and Unemployment.” The American Economic Review 62(1/2): 1-18.