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Discussion Paper

The Natural Rate as New Classical Macroeconomics

Friedman identified his “natural rate” as Walrasian equilibrium. Keynes’s “full employment” is also classical equilibrium: labor markets are clearing at existing real wages. Why is equilibrium unemployment not zero? Keynes and Friedman cite, but do not explain, “frictional” unemployment. They differ on what explains cycles. Friedman and Lucas answer: misperceptions of inflation. Markets clear at wrong prices and quantities. Today New Classicals stress variations in the natural rate itself. In Keynesian cycles markets don’t clear.