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Economics and Finance

Economics and Finance

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This book provides an innovative, integrated, and methodical approach to understanding complex financial models, integrating topics usually presented separately into a comprehensive whole. The book brings together financial models and high-level mathematics, reviewing the mathematical background necessary for understanding these models organically and in context. It begins with underlying assumptions and progresses logically through increasingly complex models to operative conclusions. Readers who have mastered the material will gain the tools needed to put theory into practice and incorporate financial models into real-life investment, financial, and business scenarios.

Modern finance’s most bothersome shortcoming is that the two basic models for building an optimal investment portfolio, Markowitz’s mean-variance model and Sharpe and Treynor’s Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), fall short when we try to apply them using Excel Solver. This book explores these two models in detail, and for the first time in a textbook the Black-Litterman model for building an optimal portfolio constructed from a small number of assets (developed at Goldman Sachs) is thoroughly presented. The model’s integration of personal views and its application using Excel templates are demonstrated. The book also offers innovative presentations of the Modigliani–Miller model and the Consumption-Based Capital Asset Pricing Model (CCAPM). Problems at the end of each chapter invite the reader to put the models into immediate use. Fundamental Models in Financial Theory is suitable for classroom use or as a reference for finance practitioners.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: solution manual

Lessons from China

The development and deployment of cleaner energy technologies have become globalized phenomena. Yet despite the fact that energy-related goods account for more than ten percent of international trade, policy makers, academics, and the business community perceive barriers to the global diffusion of these emerging technologies. Experts point to problems including intellectual property concerns, trade barriers, and developing countries’ limited access to technology and funding. In this book, Kelly Gallagher uses analysis and case studies from China’s solar photovoltaic, gas turbine, advanced battery, and coal gasification industries to examine both barriers and incentives in clean energy technology transfer.

Gallagher finds that the barriers are not as daunting as many assume; these technologies already cross borders through foreign direct investment, licensing, joint R&D, and other channels. She shows that intellectual property infringement is not as widespread as business leaders fear and can be managed, and that firms in developing countries show considerable resourcefulness in acquiring technology legally. She finds that financing does present an obstacle, especially when new cleaner technologies compete with entrenched, polluting, and often government-subsidized traditional technologies. But the biggest single barrier, she finds, is the failure of government to provide sensible policy incentives. The case studies show how government, through market-formation policy, can unleash global market forces. Gallagher’s findings have theoretical significance as well; she proposes a new model of global technology diffusion that casts doubt on aspects of technology transfer theory.

Theory and Empirical Evidence
Edited by Karl Wärneryd

Modern economics has largely ignored the issue of outright conflict as an alternative way of allocating goods, assuming instead the existence of well-defined property rights enforced by an undefined third party. And yet even in ostensibly peaceful market transactions, conflict exists as an outside option, sometimes constraining the outcomes reached through voluntary agreement. In this volume, economists offer a crucial rational-choice perspective on conflict, using methodological approaches that range from the game theoretic to the experimental.

Several chapters use the recently developed contest success function to model conflict, examining such topics as alliance formation, regional conflicts under fiscal federalism, coups d’etat in developing countries, and the correlation between conflict and economic growth in Bolivia. Other chapters consider subjects that include the link between occupational choices and antigovernment activity in Afghanistan, social unrest and the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program, and the effect of Tajikistan’s civil war on ex-combatants’ capacity for trust and cooperation.

Taken together, these contributions show that economics needs a theory of conflict to understand both outright conflict and transactions in the shadow of conflict. But beyond this, they show that the study of conflict also needs the rigorous, methodology-based perspectives of economics.

Vincenzo Bove, Raul Caruso, Alessandra Cassar, Jacopo Costa, Maria Cubel, Leandro Elia, Jose Luis Evia, Davide Fiaschi, Pauline Grosjean, Ruixue Jia, Kai A. Konrad, Roberto Laserna, Pinghan Liang, Roberto Ricciuti, Stergios Skaperdas, Caleb Stroup, Karl Wärneryd, Sam Whitt, Ben Zissimos

Saving Ourselves, Our Kids, and Our Economy

The United States is bankrupt, flat broke. Thanks to accounting that would make Enron blush, America’s insolvency goes far beyond what our leaders are disclosing. The United States is a fiscal basket case, in worse shape than the notoriously bailed-out countries of Greece, Ireland, and others. How did this happen? In The Clash of Generations, experts Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns document our six-decade, off-balance-sheet, unsustainable financing scheme. They explain how we have balanced our longer lives on the backs of our (relatively few) children. At the same time, we've been on a consumption spree, saving and investing less than nothing. And that’s not to mention the evisceration of the middle class and a financial system that has proven it can’t be trusted. Kotlikoff and Burns outline grassroots strategies for saving ourselves--and especially our children--from what could be a truly catastrophic financial collapse.

Kotlikoff and Burns sounded the alarm in their widely acclaimed The Coming Generational Storm, but politicians didn’t listen. Now the need for action is even more urgent. It’s up to us to demand radical reform of our tax system, our healthcare system, and our Social Security system, and to insist on better paths to investment return than those provided by Wall Street (mis)managers. Kotlikoff and Burns's "Purple Plans" (so called because they will appeal to both Republicans and Democrats) have been endorsed by a who’s who of economists and offer a new way forward; and their revolutionary investment strategy for individuals replaces the idea of financial capital with "life decision capital."

Of course, we won't be doing all this just for ourselves. We need to fix America’s fiscal mess before our kids inherit it.

Leading Economists Predict the Future

This pithy and engaging volume shows that economists may be better equipped to predict the future than science fiction writers. Economists’ ideas, based on both theory and practice, reflect their knowledge of the laws of human interactions as well as years of experimentation and reflection. Although perhaps not as screenplay-ready as a work of fiction, these economists’ predictions are ready for their close-ups. In this book, ten prominent economists—including Nobel laureates and several likely laureates—offer their ideas about the world of the twenty-second century.

In scenarios that range from the optimistic to the guardedly gloomy, these thinkers consider such topics as the transformation of work and wages, the continuing increase in inequality, the economic rise of China and India, the endlessly repeating cycle of crisis and (projected) recovery, the benefits of technology, the economic consequences of political extremism, and the long-range effects of climate change. For example, Daron Acemoglu offers a thoughtful discussion of how trends of the last century—including uneven growth, technological integration, and resource scarcity—might translate into the next; 2013 Nobelist Robert Shiller provides an innovative view of future risk management methods using information technology; 2012 Nobelist Alvin Roth projects his theory of Matching Markets into the next century, focusing on schools, jobs, marriage and family, and medicine; 1987 Nobelist Robert Solow considers the shift away from remunerated labor, among other subjects; and Martin Weitzman raises the intriguing but alarming possibility of using geoengineering techniques to mitigate the nevitable effects of climate change.

In a 1930 essay mentioned by several contributors, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” John Maynard Keynes offered predictions that, read today, range from absolutely correct to spectacularly wrong. This book follows in Keynes’s path, hoping, perhaps, to better his average.

Editors of academic journals are often the top scholars in their fields. They are charged with managing the flow of hundreds of manuscripts each year—from submission to review to rejection or acceptance—all while continuing their own scholarly pursuits. Tenure decisions often turn on who has published what in which journals, but editors can accept only a fraction of the papers submitted. In this book, past and present editors of economics journals discuss navigating the world of academic journals. Their contributions offer essential reading for anyone who has ever submitted a paper, served as a referee or associate editor, edited a journal—or read an article and wondered why it was published.

The editors describe their experiences at journals that range from the American Economic Review to the Journal of Sports Economics. The issues they examine include late referee reports, slow resubmission of manuscripts, and plagiarism—as well as the difficulties of “herding cats” and the benefits of husband-wife editorial partnerships. They consider the role of the editor, as gatekeeper or developer of content; and they advise authors to write more carefully and clearly, to include citations that locate their articles in the context of the existing literature, and to update their work after it has been submitted and rejected elsewhere. The chapters also offer a timely, insider’s perspective on the general effectiveness of the system of academic journals in economics.

Richard V. Adkisson, Richard G. Anderson, William A. Barnett, Suzanne R. Becker, William R. Becker, Daniel W. Bromley, William G. Dewald, Antony W. Dnes, Zvi Eckstein, Richard Friberg, Esther Gal-Or, Craufurd Goodwin, Thorvaldur Gylfason, Campbell R. Harvey, Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Leo H. Kahane, R. Preston McAfee, John Pencavel, Gerald Pfann, Steven Pressman, Lall B. Ramrattan, J. Barkley Rosser Jr., Paul H. Rubin, William F. Shughart II, Robert M. Solow, Daniel F. Spulber, Michael Szenberg, Timothy Taylor, Abu N.M. Wahid, Michael Watts, Lawrence J. White, Jürgen von Hagen, Fabrizio Zilibotti

This book draws on ideas from philosophical logic, computational logic, multi-agent systems, and game theory to offer a comprehensive account of logic and games viewed in two complementary ways. It examines the logic of games: the development of sophisticated modern dynamic logics that model information flow, communication, and interactive structures in games. It also examines logic as games: the idea that logical activities of reasoning and many related tasks can be viewed in the form of games.

In doing so, the book takes up the “intelligent interaction” of agents engaging in competitive or cooperative activities and examines the patterns of strategic behavior that arise. It develops modern logical systems that can analyze information-driven changes in players’ knowledge and beliefs, and introduces the “Theory of Play” that emerges from the combination of logic and game theory. This results in a new view of logic itself as an interactive rational activity based on reasoning, perception, and communication that has particular relevance for games.

Logic in Games, based on a course taught by the author at Stanford University, the University of Amsterdam, and elsewhere, can be used in advanced seminars and as a resource for researchers.

Mapping Paths to Prosperity

Why do some countries grow and others do not? The authors of The Atlas of Economic Complexity offer readers an explanation based on "Economic Complexity," a measure of a society’s productive knowledge. Prosperous societies are those that have the knowledge to make a larger variety of more complex products. The Atlas of Economic Complexity attempts to measure the amount of productive knowledge countries hold and how they can move to accumulate more of it by making more complex products.

Through the graphical representation of the "Product Space," the authors are able to identify each country's "adjacent possible," or potential new products, making it easier to find paths to economic diversification and growth. In addition, they argue that a country’s economic complexity and its position in the product space are better predictors of economic growth than many other well-known development indicators, including measures of competitiveness, governance, finance, and schooling.

Using innovative visualizations, the book locates each country in the product space, provides complexity and growth potential rankings for 128 countries, and offers individual country pages with detailed information about a country’s current capabilities and its diversification options. The maps and visualizations included in the Atlas can be used to find more viable paths to greater productive knowledge and prosperity.

Cartels and Bidding Rings

Explicit collusion is an agreement among competitors to suppress rivalry that relies on interfirm communication and/or transfers. Rivalry between competitors erodes profits; the suppression of rivalry through collusion is one avenue by which firms can enhance profits. Many cartels and bidding rings function for years in a stable and peaceful manner despite the illegality of their agreements and incentives for deviation by their members. In The Economics of Collusion, Robert Marshall and Leslie Marx offer an examination of collusive behavior: what it is, why it is profitable, how it is implemented, and how it might be detected.

Marshall and Marx, who have studied collusion extensively for two decades, begin with three narratives: the organization and implementation of a cartel, the organization and implementation of a bidding ring, and a parent company’s efforts to detect collusion by its divisions. These accounts--fictitious, but rooted in the inner workings and details from actual cases--offer a novel and engaging way for the reader to understand the basics of collusive behavior. The narratives are followed by detailed economic analyses of cartels, bidding rings, and detection.

The narratives offer an engaging entrée to the more rigorous economic discussion that follows. The book is accessible to any reader who understands basic economic reasoning. Mathematical material is flagged with asterisks.

A Nontechnical View

Macroeconomists have been caricatured either as credulous savants in love with the beauty of their mathematical models or as free-market fundamentalists who admit no doubt as to the market’s wisdom. In this book, Kartik Athreya draws a truer picture, offering a nontechnical description of prominent ideas and models in macroeconomics, arguing for their value as interpretive tools as well as their policy relevance. Athreya deliberately leaves out the technical machinery, providing students new to modern macroeconomics as well as readers with no formal training in economics or mathematics—including economic writers and policymakers—with an essential guide to the sometimes abstract ideas that drive macroeconomists’ research and practical policy advice.

Athreya describes the main approach to macroeconomic model construction, the foundational Walrasian general equilibrium framework, and its modern version, the Arrow-Debreu-McKenzie (ADM) model. He then explains the reasons for the relevance of this model for interpreting real-world outcomes, and lays out the so-called Fundamental Theorems of Welfare Economics. In the heart of the book, Athreya shows how the Walrasian approach shapes and unifies much of modern macroeconomics. He details models central to ongoing macroeconomic analyses: the neoclassical and stochastic growth models, the standard incomplete-markets model, the overlapping-generations model, and the standard search model. Athreya’s accessible primer traces the links between the views and policy advice of modern macroeconomists and their shared theoretical approach.

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