Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply Review
7.3 Recessionary and Inflationary Gaps and Long-Run
A Shift in Aggregate Demand: An Increase in Government Purchases
Suppose an economy is initially in equilibrium at potential output YP as in Figure 7.12 "Long-Run Adjustment to an Inflationary Gap". Because the economy is operating at its potential, the labor market must be in equilibrium; the quantities of labor demanded and supplied are equal.
Figure 7.12 Long-Run Adjustment to an Inflationary Gap
An increase in aggregate demand to AD2 boosts real GDP to Y2 and the price level to P2, creating an inflationary gap of Y2 − YP. In the long run, as price and nominal wages increase, the short-run aggregate supply curve moves to SRAS2. Real GDP returns to potential.
Now suppose aggregate demand increases because one or more of its components (consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports) has increased at each price level. For example, suppose government purchases increase. The aggregate demand curve shifts from AD1 to AD2 in Figure 7.12 "Long-Run Adjustment to an Inflationary Gap". That will increase real GDP to Y2 and force the price level up to P2 in the short run. The higher price level, combined with a fixed nominal wage, results in a lower real wage. Firms employ more workers to supply the increased output.
The economy's new production level Y2 exceeds potential output. Employment exceeds its natural level. The economy with output of Y2 and price level of P2 is only in short-run equilibrium; there is an inflationary gap equal to the difference between Y2 and YP. Because real GDP is above potential, there will be pressure on prices to rise further.
Ultimately, the nominal wage will rise as workers seek to restore their lost purchasing power. As the nominal wage rises, the short-run aggregate supply curve will begin shifting to the left. It will continue to shift as long as the nominal wage rises, and the nominal wage will rise as long as there is an inflationary gap. These shifts in short-run aggregate supply, however, will reduce real GDP and thus begin to close this gap. When the short-run aggregate supply curve reaches SRAS2, the economy will have returned to its potential output, and employment will have returned to its natural level. These adjustments will close the inflationary gap.