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Economics and Finance

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The microfinance revolution has allowed more than 150 million poor people around the world to receive small loans without collateral, build up assets, and buy insurance. The idea that providing access to reliable and affordable financial services can have powerful economic and social effects has captured the imagination of policymakers, activists, bankers, and researchers around the world; the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize went to microfinance pioneer Muhammed Yunis and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. This book offers an accessible and engaging analysis of the global expansion of financial markets in poor communities. It introduces readers to the key ideas driving microfinance, integrating theory with empirical data and addressing a range of issues, including savings and insurance, the role of women, impact measurement, and management incentives. This second edition has been updated throughout to reflect the latest data. A new chapter on commercialization describes the rapid growth in investment in microfinance institutions and the tensions inherent in the efforts to meet both social and financial objectives. The chapters on credit contracts, savings and insurance, and gender have been expanded substantially; a new section in the chapter on impact measurement describes the growing importance of randomized controlled trials; and the chapter on managing microfinance offers a new perspective on governance issues in transforming institutions. Appendixes and problem sets cover technical material.

This text presents a comprehensive treatment of the most important topics in monetary economics, focusing on the primary models monetary economists have employed to address topics in theory and policy. It covers the basic theoretical approaches, shows how to do simulation work with the models, and discusses the full range of frictions that economists have studied to understand the impacts of monetary policy. Among the topics presented are money-in-the-utility function, cash-in-advance, and search models of money; informational, portfolio, and nominal rigidities; credit frictions; the open economy; and issues of monetary policy, including discretion and commitment, policy analysis in new Keynesian models, and monetary operating procedures. The use of models based on dynamic optimization and nominal rigidities in consistent general equilibrium frameworks, relatively new when introduced to students in the first edition of this popular text, has since become the method of choice of monetary policy analysis. This third edition reflects the latest advances in the field, incorporating new or expanded material on such topics as monetary search equilibria, sticky information, adaptive learning, state-contingent pricing models, and channel systems for implementing monetary policy. Much of the material on policy analysis has been reorganized to reflect the dominance of the new Keynesian approach. Monetary Theory and Policy continues to be the only comprehensive and up-to-date treatment of monetary economics, not only the leading text in the field but also the standard reference for academics and central bank researchers.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: solution manual

This book offers a rigorous, concise, and nontechnical introduction to some of the fundamental insights of rational choice theory. It draws on formal theories of microeconomics, decision making, games, and social choice, and on ideas developed in philosophy, psychology, and sociology. Itzhak Gilboa argues that economic theory has provided a set of powerful models and broad insights that have changed the way we think about everyday life. He focuses on basic insights of the rational choice paradigm--the general conceptualization rather than a particular theory--that survive recent (and well-justified) critiques of economic theory’s various failures. Gilboa explains the main concepts in language accessible to the nonspecialist, offering a nonmathematical guide to some of the main ideas developed in economic theory in the second half of the twentieth century.

Chapters cover feasibility and desirability, utility maximization, constrained optimization, expected utility, probability and statistics, aggregation of preferences, games and equilibria, free markets, and rationality and emotions. Online appendixes offer additional material, including a survey of relevant mathematical concepts.

A Math Tool Kit

This text offers an accessible yet rigorous development of many of the fields of mathematics necessary for success in investment and quantitative finance, covering topics applicable to portfolio theory, investment banking, option pricing, investment, and insurance risk management. The approach emphasizes the mathematical framework provided by each mathematical discipline, and the application of each framework to the solution of finance problems. It emphasizes the thought process and mathematical approach taken to develop each result instead of the memorization of formulas to be applied (or misapplied) automatically. The objective is to provide a deep level of understanding of the relevant mathematical theory and tools that can then be effectively used in practice, to teach students how to “think in mathematics” rather than simply to do mathematics by rote. Each chapter covers an area of mathematics such as mathematical logic, Euclidean and other spaces, set theory and topology, sequences and series, probability theory, and calculus, in each case presenting only material that is most important and relevant for quantitative finance. Each chapter includes finance applications that demonstrate the relevance of the material presented. Problem sets are offered on both the mathematical theory and the finance applications sections of each chapter. The logical organization of the book and the judicious selection of topics make the text customizable for a number of courses. The development is self-contained and carefully explained to support disciplined independent study as well. A solutions manual for students provides solutions to the book’s Practice Exercises; an instructor’s manual offers solutions to the Assignment Exercises as well as other materials.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: instructor's manual

The field of forest economics has expanded rapidly in the last two decades, and yet there exists no up-to-date textbook for advanced undergraduate-graduate level use or rigorous reference work for professionals. Economics of Forest Resources fills these gaps, offering a comprehensive technical survey of the field with special attention to recent developments regarding policy instrument choice and uncertainty. It covers all areas in which mathematical models have been used to explain forest owner and user incentives and government behavior, introducing the reader to the rigor needed to think through the consequences of policy instruments. Technically difficult concepts are presented with a unified and progressive approach; an appendix outlines the basic concepts from calculus needed to understand the models and results developed. The book first presents the historical and classic models that every student or researcher in forest economics must know, including Faustman and Hartman approaches, public goods, spatial interdependence, two period life-cycle models, and overlapping generations problems. It then discusses topics including policy instrument choice, deforestation, biodiversity conservation, and age-class based forest modeling. Finally, it surveys such advanced topics as uncertainty in two period models, catastrophic risk, stochastic control problems, deterministic optimal control, and stochastic and deterministic dynamic programming approaches. Boxes with empirical content illustrating applications of the theoretical material appear throughout. Each chapter is self-contained, allowing the reader, student, or instructor to use the text according to individual needs.

Theory and Computation

This text provides an introduction to the modern theory of economic dynamics, with emphasis on mathematical and computational techniques for modeling dynamic systems. Written to be both rigorous and engaging, the book shows how sound understanding of the underlying theory leads to effective algorithms for solving real world problems. The material makes extensive use of programming examples to illustrate ideas. These programs help bring to life the abstract concepts in the text. Background in computing and analysis is offered for readers without programming experience or upper-level mathematics. Topics covered in detail include nonlinear dynamic systems, finite-state Markov chains, stochastic dynamic programming, stochastic stability and computation of equilibria. The models are predominantly nonlinear, and the emphasis is on studying nonlinear systems in their original form, rather than by means of rudimentary approximation methods such as linearization. Much of the material is new to economics and improves on existing techniques. For graduate students and those already working in the field, Economic Dynamics will serve as an essential resource.

This comprehensive introduction to economic growth presents the main facts and puzzles about growth, proposes simple methods and models needed to explain these facts, acquaints the reader with the most recent theoretical and empirical developments, and provides tools with which to analyze policy design. The treatment of growth theory is fully accessible to students with a background no more advanced than elementary calculus and probability theory; the reader need not master all the subtleties of dynamic programming and stochastic processes to learn what is essential about such issues as cross-country convergence, the effects of financial development on growth, and the consequences of globalization. The book, which grew out of courses taught by the authors at Harvard and Brown universities, can be used both by advanced undergraduate and graduate students, and as a reference for professional economists in government or international financial organizations. The Economics of Growth first presents the main growth paradigms: the neoclassical model, the AK model, Romer’s product variety model, and the Schumpeterian model. The text then builds on the main paradigms to shed light on the dynamic process of growth and development, discussing such topics as club convergence, directed technical change, the transition from Malthusian stagnation to sustained growth, general purpose technologies, and the recent debate over institutions versus human capital as the primary factor in cross-country income differences. Finally, the book focuses on growth policies--analyzing the effects of liberalizing market competition and entry, education policy, trade liberalization, environmental and resource constraints, and stabilization policy--and the methodology of growth policy design. All chapters include literature reviews and problem sets. An appendix covers basic concepts of econometrics.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: solution manual

Policy makers need quantitative as well as qualitative answers to pressing policy questions. Because of advances in computational methods, quantitative estimates are now derived from coherent nonlinear dynamic macroeconomic models embodying measures of risk and calibrated to capture specific characteristics of real-world situations. This text shows how such models can be made accessible and operational for confronting policy issues.

The book starts with a simple setting based on market-clearing price flexibility. It gradually incorporates departures from the simple competitive framework in the form of price and wage stickiness, taxes, rigidities in investment, financial frictions, and habit persistence in consumption.

Most chapters end with computational exercises; the MATLAB code for the base model can be found in the appendix. As the models evolve, readers are encouraged to modify the codes from the first simple model to more complex extensions.

Computational Macroeconomics for the Open Economy can be used by graduate students in economics and finance as well as policy-oriented researchers.

Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda

The past twenty-five years have seen a significant evolution in environmental policy, with new environmental legislation and substantive amendments to earlier laws, significant advances in environmental science, and changes in the treatment of science (and scientific uncertainty) by the courts. This book offers a detailed discussion of the important issues in environmental law, policy, and economics, tracing their development over the past few decades through an examination of environmental law cases and commentaries by leading scholars. The authors focus on pollution, addressing both pollution control and prevention, but also emphasize the evaluation, design, and use of the law to stimulate technical change and industrial transformation, arguing that there is a need to address broader issues of sustainable development.

Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics, which grew out of courses taught by the authors at MIT, treats the traditional topics covered in most classes in environmental law and policy, including common law and administrative law concepts and the primary federal legislation. But it goes beyond these to address topics not often found in a single volume: the information-based obligations of industry, enforcement of environmental law, market-based and voluntary alternatives to traditional regulation, risk assessment, environmental economics, and technological innovation and diffusion. Countering arguments found in other texts that government should play a reduced role in environmental protection, this book argues that clear, stringent legal requirements--coupled with flexible means for meeting them--and meaningful stakeholder participation are necessary for bringing about environmental improvements and technologicial transformations.

This book is regularly updated online at http://mitpress.mit.edu/ashford_environmental_law

A vast body of empirical evidence has accumulated demonstrating that incentives affect health care choices made by both consumers and suppliers of health care services. Decisions in health care are affected by many types of incentives, such as the rate of return pharmaceutical manufacturers expect on their investments in research and development, or disincentives, such as increases in the copayments patients must make when they visit physicians or are admitted to hospitals.

In this volume, leading scholars in health economics review these new and important results and describe their own recent research assessing the role of incentives in health care markets and decisions people make that affect their personal health. The contexts include demand decisions—choices made by individuals about health care services they consume and the health insurance policies they purchase—and supply decisions made by medical students, practicing physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Researchers and students of health economics and policy makers will find this book a valuable resource, both for learning economic concepts, particularly as they apply to health care, and for reading up-to-date summaries of the empirical evidence. General readers will find the book's chapters accessible, interesting, and useful for gaining an understanding of the likely effects of alternative health care policies.

Contributors:
Henry J. Aaron, Ernst R. Berndt, John Cawley, Julie M. Donohue, Donna Gilleskie, Brian R. Golden, Gautam Gowrisankaran, Chee-Ruey Hsieh, Hirschel Kasper, Thomas G. McGuire, Joseph P. Newhouse, Sean Nicholson, Mark V. Pauly, Anna D. Sinaiko, Frank Sloan

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