Economic policy Economic policy refers to the actions that governments take in the economic field. It covers the systems for setting interest rates and government budget as well as the labor market, national ownership, and many other areas of government interventions into the economy. Such policies are often influenced by international institutions like the International Monetary Fund or World Bank as well as political beliefs and the consequent policies of parties.
Types of economic policy Almost every aspect of government has an economic aspect involving a near superfluous quantity of terms. A few examples of the kinds of economic policies that exist include: * Macroeconomic stabilization policy, which attempts to keep the money supply growing at a rate that doesn’t result in excessive inflation. * Trade policy, which refers to tariffs, trade agreements and the international institutions that govern them. Policies designed to create economic growth * Policies related to development economics * Policies dealing with the redistribution of income, property and/or wealth * As well as: regulatory policy, anti-trust policy, industrial policy and technology-based economic development policy  Macroeconomic stabilization policy= Stabilization policy attempts to stimulate an economy out of recession or constrain the money supply to prevent excessive inflation. Fiscal policy, often tied to Keynesian economics, uses government spending and taxes to guide the economy. * Fiscal stance: The size of the deficit or surplus * Tax policy: The taxes used to collect government income. * Government spending on Just about any area of government * Monetary policy controls the value of currency by lowering the supply of money to control inflation and raising it to template economic growth. It is concerned with the amount of money in circulation and, consequently, interest rates and inflation. Interest rates, if set by the Government * Incomes policies and price controls that aim at imposing non-monetary controls on inflation * Reserve requirements which affect the money multiplier there are many types of economic policies Tools and goals Policy is generally directed to achieve particular objectives, like targets for inflation, unemployment, or economic growth. Sometimes other objectives, like military spending or nationalization are important. These are referred to as the policy goals: the outcomes which the economic policy aims to achieve.
To achieve these goals, governments use policy tools which are under the control of the government. These generally include the interest rate and money supply, tax and government spending, traits, exchange rates, labor market regulations, and many other aspects of government. Selecting tools and goals Government and central banks are limited in the number of goals they can achieve in the short term. For instance, there may be pressure on the government to reduce inflation, reduce unemployment, and reduce interest rates while maintaining currency stability.
If all of these are selected as goals for the short term, then policy is likely to be incoherent, because a normal consequence of reducing inflation and maintaining currency stability is increasing unemployment and increasing interest rates. Demand-side vs.. Supply-side tools This dilemma can in part be resolved by using microeconomics, supply-side policy to help adjust markets. For instance, unemployment could potentially be reduced by altering laws relating traded unions or unemployment insurance, as well as by macroeconomic (demand-side) factors like interest rates.
Discretionary policy vs. policy rules For much of the 20th century, governments adopted discretionary policies like demand management designed to correct the business cycle. These typically used fiscal and monetary policy to adjust inflation, output and unemployment. However, following the stagflation of the sass, policymakers began to be attracted to policy rules. A discretionary policy is supported because it allows look-alikes to respond quickly to events.
However, discretionary policy can be subject to dynamic inconsistency: a government may say it intends to raise interest rates indefinitely to bring inflation under control, but then relax its stance later. This makes policy non-credible and ultimately ineffective. A rule-based policy can be more credible, because it is more transparent and easier to anticipate. Examples of rule- based policies are fixed exchange rates, interest rate rules, the stability and growth pact and the Golden Rule. Some policy rules can be imposed by external bodies, for instance the Exchange Rate Mechanism for currency.
A compromise between strict discretionary and strict rule-based policy is to grant discretionary power to an independent body. For instance, the Federal Reserve Bank, European Central Bank,Bank of England and Reserve Bank of Australia all set interest rates without government interference, but do not adopt rules. Another type of non-discretionary policy is a set of policies which are imposed by an international body. This can occur (for example) as a result of intervention by the International Monetary Fund.
Economic policy through history Main article: Economic history The first economic problem was how to gain the resources it needed to be able to perform the functions of an early government: the military, roads and other projects like building the Pyramids. Early governments generally relied on tax in kind and forced labor for their economic resources. However, with the development of money came the first policy choice. A government could raise money through taxing its citizens. However, it could now also debase the coinage and so increase the money supply.
Early civilizations also made decisions about whether to permit and how to tax trade. Some early civilizations, such as Ptolemaic Egypt adopted a closed currency policy whereby tottering merchants had to exchange their coin tort local money. This effectively levied a very high tariff on foreign trade. By the early modern age, more policy choices had been developed. There was considerable debate about mercantilism and other restrictive trade practices like the Navigation Acts, as trade policy became associated with both national wealth and with foreign and colonial policy.
Throughout the 19th Century, monetary standards became an important issue. Gold and silver were in supply in different proportions. Which metal was adopted influenced the wealth of different groups in society. The first fiscal policy With the accumulation of private capital in the Renaissance, states developed methods of financing deficits without debasing their coin. The development of capital markets meant that a government could borrow money to finance war or expansion while causing less economic hardship. This was the beginning of modern fiscal logic.
The same markets made it easy for private entities to raise bonds or sell shares to fund private initiatives. Business cycles The business cycle became a predominant issue in the 19th century, as it became clear that industrial output, employment, and profit behaved in a cyclical manner. One of the first proposed policy solutions to the problem came with the work of Keynes, who proposed that fiscal policy could be used actively to ward off depressions, recessions and slumps. The Austrian school argues that central banks create the business cycle.