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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Manuscript Update

This is just a short update on the situation on my latest book manuscript. As I noted earlier, I am splitting my text on recessions into two parts, and publishing the first volume before finishing the second. (Whether or not that is a mistake remains to be determined.)

The working title is "Recessions: Volume I." The manuscript is about 50,000 words, with some previously written material moved to Volume II. There is no new content to add, and it is now just a question of editing. I am not making any promises about a publication date, but before year end seems plausible.

My writing has been slowed down by other projects, including some landscaping. Since I am re-writing existing texts, I have not been following the news flow too carefully. As such, my blog commentary has been less frequent. My output here should speed up, with a bit of MMT tinge courtesy of going to the MMT conference in a couple of weeks.

As for the book, the style is a little bit different than earlier ones. The text itself should be less specialised than my recent books on breakeven inflation and SFC models. However, it is more of a survey, with just of over 70 endnotes/footnotes, with the bulk of those citations (the rest are long-winded explanations of obscure points, or attempts at humour). The book is a broad survey of post-Keynesian economic theory associated with recessions, although the chapter on empirical recession models is theory-agnostic (and mainly from authors who would be viewed as "mainstream").

In other words, the text is essentially a survey, but at a more introductory level than most academic surveys. In essence, a survey of surveys, and the reader will be pointed in various directions if they wish to dig further. However, there should be nothing that scares a casual reader.

I split the second volume off into a separate text as it will contain discussions that will scare casual readers. I will be looking at interest rate effects, including some in-depth analysis of the dreaded yield curve, as well as housing markets. Those discussions will be technical, but similar in complexity to my blog articles. However, I will be addressing neoclassical models, and I see no way of doing so without getting into the mathematics. I have serious concerns about how I can present that discussion in an appetizing fashion, so I dropped back and punted the problem to next year.

The second volume would also contain the parts that are closest to being an original argument: my assertion that the business cycle is inherently hard to forecast. This is not exactly too original in the context of post-Keynesian economics, but I may or may not have a distinctive take on the subject. This was another topic I decided it was easier to wait and think about the presentation.

As a final note, it is somewhat unfortunate that I had not started the book earlier; the recent recession scares would have helped sales. However, if the trend continues, those recession scares may continue a while longer in the absence of an actual recession, which is a win-win outcome.

(c) 2019 Brian Romanchuk

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