Achieving an accurate understanding of the way in which key macro variables (output, employment, price levels, capital stocks,...) move together over time in decentralized market economies is a fundamental problem of macroeconomic theory. At present there is no consensus regarding which theory best explains this movement. At one end of the spectrum, new classical macroeconomists work within frameworks in which the macroeconomy is assumed to be in a continual state of equilibrium characterized by strong efficiency properties. At the other end of the spectrum, post-Walrasian macroeconomists argue that macroeconomies regularly exhibit coordination failure (various degrees of inefficiency) and even lengthy periods of disequilibrium. Given these fundamental differences, it is not surprising to see major disagreements among macroeconomists concerning the extent to which government policy makers can and ought to attempt to influence macroeconomic outcomes.
This course module will explore alternative perspectives on macroeconomic coordination in an attempt to clarify why macroeconomists exhibit such strong, passionate, and persistent disagreement on this issue.
Since all basic lecture notes for this Econ 606 course module will be available to you in advance, class discussion will be stressed in place of traditional lectures. You will be expected to study assigned readings prior to attending the class in which they are to be discussed. Key discussion questions will be identified in advance for each class meeting, and you should come to class prepared to participate in a discussion of these questions.
As indicated at the top of each assigned exercise sheet, these exercises must be received by me by the beginning of class on each due date in order to be counted as part of your cumulative course points. Late assignments will not be accepted for formal grading -- no exceptions. The reason for this policy is that exercise answers will be discussed in class on each due date; the passing out of an exercise answer key and/or the beginning of the discussion of the answers (whichever comes first) will be the effective dividing line between on-time and late assignments. The bag of collected exercises will be sealed at this time.
If you must miss class on a due date, you can still ensure your exercise is in on time by one of the following means: (a) have someone else carry the exercise to class for handing in; hand in (or have someone else hand in) the exercise directly to the TA or to the instructor prior to the start of class on the due date (e.g., during office hours); or (c) put (or have someone else put) the exercise under the Heady 375 office door of the instructor no later than fifteen minutes prior to the start of class on the due date. Please note that putting exercises in the department mail box of the instructor or TA, or emailing answers to the instructor or TA, are not among these listed options because there is no set time that mailboxes and/or email will be checked.
The intent of this policy is to help ensure that student grading is fair and accurate. Your cooperation is appreciated.
The final exam for this Econ 606 course module will be held at the end of the fifth week of class.
The exam will be a closed-book comprehensive exam covering all assigned materials for the course module. Test booklets will be provided at each exam, so you do not need to bring paper or blue books to the exam. Each exam will consist of a selection of problems designed to test your ability to analyze and discuss macroeconomic coordination issues using basic tools and concepts covered in assigned class materials. These exam problems will make use of class lecture materials, in-class discussions, required readings, and assigned exercises.
Your absence from the final exam will result in a grade of zero unless the instructor agrees there are verified extenuating circumstances such as a major medical emergency. In the latter case, your course module grade will be determined on the basis of other work completed; no make-up final exam for this course module will be scheduled.