ECON 3915 – Intermediate Selected Topics: Macro
ST Fed Challenge/Monetary Policy
Instructor: Kimelman, Nancy
Schedule: TF 1:35pm -3:15 pm
Are you ready to practice macroeconomics in the real world? Can you analyze current economic trends and forecast where the economy is headed next? For most students, the answer to those questions is no. But it’s not your fault! Traditionally, macro classes focus almost exclusively on theory, largely because there is an active, rich and evolving literature in the field that takes a full semester to get through – and then just. What gets left out of these classes is the application of macro theories and concepts to the world we live in. Of course, we read and hear in the press what macroeconomists think about the present — the pandemic economy, for example — but rarely in our current sequence of courses are their ideas vetted for consistency, logic, or accuracy.
This course fills that gap. We’ll rely on a case study approach to identify the economic concepts and approaches that have explained well past episodes of inflation, recession, bubbles, etc., and we’ll lay to rest those ideas that have proven unhelpful. While we’ll find our grounding in the past, however, the clear goal of the course is to look forward, to give students the techniques and tools they need to analyze events in the future, long after their college career is over. This course also provides a strong foundation for anyone hoping to become part of the Boston Fed Challenge this Fall. Northeastern students have had great success in the Challenge, not just by advancing in the competition but by being very, very well prepared for both co-op and permanent job interviews.
A sampling of the topics we will study is: the role of inflationary expectations in determining the efficacy of monetary policy and the workings of the economy; explanations for the current mystifying trends in the labor market; actual measurements of the expenditure and money multipliers in recent business cycles; the emerging role of macroprudential policy as a discretionary policy tool, especially in developing nations; the role of the financial sector in the business cycle; the impact of income inequality on economic performance and modern economic policy; and the politics of economics.
In terms of output and grading, the course entails both small-group and independent work, a few short 2-3 page papers, and active involvement of all in class. There is also a final assignment (paper or exam).