I was raised by fairly conservative parents and throughout my childhood have had the impression that Reagan was the standard candle to which all policy should be held to and in particular Reaganomics was as true as the sky was blue. As an adult I've come to realize that it is not so cut and dry and would like some insight on this and would like to know if there are books that defend the for/against on the issue of "trickle down" economics. I would prefer to hear both sides in two separate books, or in a single book as long as both sides are fairly represented. Also please note I am not a student of economics although I have a strong math background.

  • $\begingroup$ You probably won't find any strong pro-trickle down books because pretty much only the critics call it that. Maybe you should pose this question using more neutral terminology. $\endgroup$
    – BKay
    Dec 26, 2015 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ Indeed -- I think the best neutral term for what you're talking about is probably supply-side economics. Or perhaps the broader laissez-faire capitalism? If you choose the latter, just about all of Paul Krugman's books can be viewed as criticisms. Bruce Bartlett has a book called "Reagonomics" that obviously treats it favorably. Honestly, though, I'd take all of these descriptive books with a huge grain of salt. I don't know too many economists that take these pop economics books seriously, and I'm not sure more formal treatments exist, given that the the theory is hardly well-defined. $\endgroup$
    – Shane
    Dec 29, 2015 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ It is going to be hard. Most literature I have seen on it has been quite one sided; either it is a theoretical rundown of how reagonomics work to spectacular results, or it is a practical example of all the ways it doesn't work. I haven't seen anyone try to adress any flaws except claiming that none of the predictables are outcomes of the hypothesis - which I agree, make it a hard case to argue properly. I guess Piketty discussed it rather well, but that is about as left sided pummeling as I think I have ever read. $\endgroup$
    – Stian
    Mar 15, 2021 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


This is a very large subject, where the terms have not even be well defined. I find it very unlikely that you will find an answer. Before even attempting to do so, you should define concisely what is meant by the terms. And particularly, are you talking about stabilization(short run) or structural(long run) economics? Because those two things are entirely different. One strategy is to study the classical and Keynesian schools of economics, since generally it at least to me appears that classical economics is called supply side economics, while keynsians are called demand siders.

Since the question was partly related to a person and not schools of economics, you could define "Reaganomics" as what actions he actually took, and what happened as a result. Upon doing this you will probably find that he wasn't really a strident supply sider in the first place. His strategy seemed to be to reduce taxes and pay for it by taking debt. Since it was not even a recession, this can be hardly classified as an economic policy, but a political strategy. Promise something for nothing and get votes is what seemed to be his plan in light of the data, and it worked as far as politics was concerned (he won twice).

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    $\begingroup$ I suggest that your second paragraph is not very relevant to the question. As I read the question, the reference to Reaganomics is within the OP's autobiographical first sentence, and the focus of the question is the issue of "trickle down economics". Your first paragraph is relevant but would I suggest have been more appropriate as a comment since it does not attempt to answer the question but mainly seeks clarification. $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2016 at 20:39

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