Big Ideas in Macroeconomics: A Nontechnical View by Kartik B. Athreya

By Kartik B. Athreya

Macroeconomists were caricatured both as credulous savants in love with the great thing about their mathematical types or as free-market fundamentalists who admit doubtless as to the market's knowledge. during this e-book, Kartik Athreya attracts a more true photo, delivering a nontechnical description of famous rules and versions in macroeconomics, and arguing for his or her price as interpretive instruments in addition to their coverage relevance. Athreya intentionally leaves out the technical equipment, supplying an important advisor to the occasionally summary principles that force macroeconomists' examine and functional coverage advice.

Athreya describes the most method of macroeconomic version development, the foundational Walrasian general-equilibrium framework, and its sleek model, the Arrow-Debreu-McKenzie (ADM) version. within the center of the publication, Athreya exhibits how the Walrasian strategy shapes and unifies a lot of recent macroeconomics. He info versions critical to ongoing macroeconomic analyses: the neoclassical and stochastic development types, the common incomplete-markets version, the overlapping-generations version, and the commonplace seek version. Athreya's available primer strains the hyperlinks among the perspectives and coverage recommendation of contemporary macroeconomists and their shared theoretical approach.

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Even more vitally, macroeconomists can accommodate the key feature that when policies changes, so might the behavior of agents faced with them. ” Overcoming the Lucas critique is of utmost importance if one wants to understand the likely effects of a novel policy. The relevance of such an ability should be obvious in the current financial crisis, where both the monetary and fiscal authorities are routinely attempting never-before-attempted policies. Without the modern approach, one would be helpless to predict the effects of such policies, as no historical data, by definition, can really help predict the effect of anything truly novel.

Here are some specific ways in which this improvement occurs. 1 Making Logical Errors Easier to Spot As already asserted, arguably the biggest payoff from a near-religious adherence to the recipe outlined above is that it increases economists’ ability to ferret out internal inconsistency. This helps keep us honest, and while it surely limits the scope of our inquiries, it helps those inquiries we do undertake to avoid being nonsensical, for two main reasons. First, following steps 1–3 of the recipe forces a transparent specification of the objectives and constraints faced by all the actors.

In all models that follow steps 1–4, this is readily done. Both the author and the reader are clearly informed about the benefits or costs flowing to various participants in the model. With this information, one can arrive at a meaningful judgment of how to act vis-à-vis the policy. I have now described the structure for arguments that is essentially mandated by my profession. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in the argument, no matter how worthy, falling on deaf ears. ” The main defense I will offer is that each of the places in which macroeconomists routinely draw lines in the sand is a place in which they often recognize an inability to utilize known technical machinery to derive answers.

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