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No, this statement is false. It would be more accurate to say that rational expectations seek to predict the future as accurately as possible, using all of past experience as a guide. Adaptive expectations are largely backward looking; that is, they adapt as experience accumulates, but without attempting to look forward.


An unemployment rate of zero percent is presumably well below the rate that is consistent with potential GDP and with the natural rate of unemployment. As a result, this policy would be attempting to push AD out to the right.

In the short run, it is possible to have unemployment slightly below the natural rate for a time, at a price of higher inflation, as shown by the movement from E0 to E1 along the short-run AS curve. However, over time the extremely low unemployment rates will tend to cause wages to be bid up, and shift the short-run AS curve back to the left. The result would be a higher price level, but an economy still at potential GDP and the natural rate of unemployment, as determined by the long-run AS curve. If the government continues this policy, it will continually be pushing the price level higher and higher, but it will not be able to achieve its goal of zero percent unemployment, because that goal is inconsistent with market forces.


The statement is accurate. Rational expectations can be thought of as a version of neoclassical economics because it argues that potential GDP and the rate of unemployment are shaped by market forces as wages and prices adjust. However, it is an “extreme” version because it argues that this adjustment takes place very quickly. Other theories, like adaptive expectations, suggest that adjustment to the neoclassical outcome takes a few years.


The short-term Keynesian model is built on the importance of aggregate demand as a cause of business cycles and a degree of wage and price rigidity, and thus does a sound job of explaining many recessions and why cyclical unemployment rises and falls. The neoclassical model emphasizes aggregate supply by focusing on the underlying determinants of output and employment in markets, and thus tends to put more emphasis on economic growth and how labor markets work.

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