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supply-side economicsthe branch of economic analysis concerned with the productive capability of an economy (POTENTIAL GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT) and with policies that attempt to expand the stock of factors of production and to improve the flexibility of factor markets so as to generate the largest possible output for a given level of AGGREGATE DEMAND. Supply-side economists have examined institutional rigidities in factor markets and the effect of higher factor prices in ‘pricing people out of jobs’. This has led them to condemn the activities of trade unions in labour markets on the grounds that trade unions impose RESTRICTIVE LABOUR PRACTICES (such as overmanning and demarcation boundaries) and push WAGE RATES up to levels that exceed the MARGINAL REVENUE PRODUCTIVITY of the workers concerned, thereby causing UNEMPLOYMENT and COST-PUSH INFLATION. Such ideas have also led supply-side economists to condemn certain SOCIAL-SECURITY BENEFITS systems and PROGRESSIVE TAXATION systems for creating a POVERTY TRAP that acts as a disincentive for the unemployed to take low-paid jobs.
More broadly, supply-side economics has been concerned with ways in which the AGGREGATE SUPPLY SCHEDULE can be shifted outwards so as to enable more output to be produced in response to growing aggregate demand without raising the PRICE LEVEL.
Governments may adopt supply-side policies to increase the stock of factors of production and to improve the efficiency of resource use by promoting the flexibility of markets in responding to demand changes. These policies include reductions in taxation and other disincentives to work to increase labour participation rates; financial incentives to increase capital investment in plant and equipment and promote similar investments in process and product invention and innovation; education and training policies to improve the supply of required skills; more competition in the financial sector to improve the efficiency of capital markets; privatization and reduced government control of industry (deregulation) to encourage industrial efficiency; regional policy assistance, private rented accommodation and portable pensions to encourage labour mobility; lower tax rates and changed social security benefits to provide incentives to work harder and take risks; curbs on the power of trade unions to improve the flexibility of labour markets, wider share ownership and assistance to the self-employed to promote enterprise culture. These measures can help to increase economic growth rates and reduce unemployment. See also NEGATIVE INCOME TAX, PROFIT-RELATED PAY, LAFFER CURVE.