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Macroeconomics

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The 1990s saw the best economic performance in the United States in three decades. Strong economic growth and falling unemployment were accompanied by low inflation and rising budget surpluses. Although personal bankruptcies climbed, the personal saving rate fell, and the trade deficit expanded, overall, U.S. economic performance during the 1990s was outstanding.

This book is a unique attempt to write the first history of the making of American economic policy during the 1990s. One way to view it is as a "debriefing" of those who made the decisions. Each chapter is devoted to a particular area of economic policy and consists of a background paper written by leading academic economists together with short essays by prominent policymakers, many of whom served in the Clinton administration or previous administrations, and by independent observers. The questions asked about each policy area include: What were the pros and cons of alternative options under consideration? What decision was made? What were the relevant economic arguments for that decision, and what political interests were served? Were other options missing from consideration? Is it possible to judge whether the decision was the right one? Are there lessons for the future?

Explaining Economic Policy

What determines the size and form of redistributive programs, the extent and type of public goods provision, the burden of taxation across alternative tax bases, the size of government deficits, and the stance of monetary policy during the course of business and electoral cycles? A large and rapidly growing literature in political economics attempts to answer these questions. But so far there is little consensus on the answers and disagreement on the appropriate mode of analysis.Combining the best of three separate traditions--the theory of macroeconomic policy, public choice, and rational choice in political science--Torsten Persson and Guido Tabellini suggest a unified approach to the field. As in modern macroeconomics, individual citizens behave rationally, their preferences over economic outcomes inducing preferences over policy. As in public choice, the delegation of policy decisions to elected representatives may give rise to agency problems between voters and politicians. And, as in rational choice, political institutions shape the procedures for setting policy and electing politicians. The authors outline a common method of analysis, establish several new results, and identify the main outstanding problems.

An equilibrium theory of unemployment assumes that firms and workers maximize their payoffs under rational expectations and that wages are determined to exploit the private gains from trade. This book focuses on the modeling of the transitions in and out of unemployment, given the stochastic processes that break up jobs and lead to the formation of new jobs, and on the implications of this approach for macroeconomic equilibrium and for the efficiency of the labor market.This approach to labor market equilibrium and unemployment has been successful in explaining the determinants of the "natural" rate of unemployment and new data on job and worker flows, in modeling the labor market in equilibrium business cycle and growth models, and in analyzing welfare policy. The second edition contains two new chapters, one on endogenous job destruction and one on search on the job and job-to-job quitting. The rest of the book has been extensively rewritten and, in several cases, simplified.


Just as macroeconomic models describe the overall economy within a changing, or dynamic, framework, the models themselves change over time. In this text Stephen J. Turnovsky reviews in depth several early models as well as a representation of more recent models. They include traditional (backward-looking) models, linear rational expectations (future-looking) models, intertemporal optimization models, endogenous growth models, and continuous time stochastic models. The author uses examples from both closed and open economies. Whereas others commonly introduce models in a closed context, tacking on a brief discussion of the model in an open economy, Turnovsky integrates the two perspectives throughout to reflect the increasingly international outlook of the field.

This new edition has been extensively revised. It contains a new chapter on optimal monetary and fiscal policy, and the coverage of growth theory has been expanded substantially. The range of growth models considered has been extended, with particular attention devoted to transitional dynamics and nonscale growth. The book includes cutting-edge research and unpublished data, including much of the author's own work.


For many years it was fashionable to treat macroeconomics and microeconomics as separate subjects without looking too deeply at the relationship between the two. But in the 1970s there occurred an episode of high inflation and high unemployment, which was inconsistent with orthodox theory. As a result, macroeconomists began to pay much greater attention to the microfoundations of their subject.

In this book Roger E. A. Farmer takes a somewhat controversial point of view, arguing for the future of macroeconomics as a branch of applied general equilibrium theory. His main theme is that macroeconomics is best viewed as the study of equilibrium environments in which the welfare theorems break down. This approach makes it possible to discuss the role of government policies in a context in which policy may serve some purpose.

Since the publication of the first edition in 1993, self-fulfilling prophecies has become a major competitor to the real business-cycle view of economic fluctuations. The second edition has been updated in three ways: (1) problems are included at the end of every chapter, and a study guide containing sample answers to all of the problems is available; (2) a new chapter discusses research from the past five years on business fluctuations in multisector models; and (3) the chapter on representative agent growth models now includes an appendix that explains the transversality condition.

The connection between price inflation and real economic activity has been a focus of macroeconomic research—and debate—for much of the past century. Although this connection is crucial to our understanding of what monetary policy can and cannot accomplish, opinions about its basic properties have swung widely over the years.

Today, virtually everyone studying monetary policy acknowledges that, contrary to what many modern macroeconomic models suggest, central bank actions often affect both inflation and measures of real economic activity, such as output, unemployment, and incomes. But the nature and magnitude of these effects are not yet understood.

In this volume, Robert M. Solow and John B. Taylor present their views on the dilemmas facing U.S. monetary policymakers. The discussants are Benjamin M. Friedman, James K. Galbraith, N. Gregory Mankiw, and William Poole. The aim of this lively exchange of views is to make both an intellectual contribution to macroeconmics and a practical contribution to the solution of a public policy question of central importance.


An Integrated Approach

prepared by Debra Moore Patterson

An Integrated Approach

This paperback edition is not available in the U.S. and Canada. Many undergraduate texts treat macroeconomics as a set of distinct topics rather than as a unified body of theory and empirical findings. In contrast, this text by Alan Auerbach and Laurence Kotlikoff uses a single analytic framework--the two-period life-cycle model--to explore and connect each of the major issues in contemporary macroeconomics. The model describes the evolution of the economy over time in terms of the behavior of overlapping generations of individuals, each of whom lives for two periods: youth and old age. This versatile framework can encompass most macroeconomic schools of thought through the alteration of key assumptions. The use of one basic model also allows the authors to explore important topics not always addressed adequately in other texts; these include credit constraints, real business cycles, generational accounting, and international capital flows markets.Written in a clear, accessible style, this shortened and simplified second edition provides a systematic way to interpret macroeconomic outcomes, to understand various policy proposals, and to appreciate how individuals and firms fit into the big picture.

Not for sale in U.S. and Canada.

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

For a long time, the study of macroeconomics has focused almost exclusively on a closed economy and downplayed the role of international transactions. Today, however, researchers recognize that one cannot fully understand domestic macroeconomic relationships without considering the global economy within which each country operates. Increasingly, economists are treating international transactions as an integral part of the macroeconomic system, and international macroeconomics has become an area of intensive research activity.

International Macroeconomic Dynamics provides extensive applications of important macroeconomic dynamic models to the international economy. It adopts the main contemporary macroeconomic framework, the representative agent model, and develops a series of models of increasing complexity. The author considers both small and large economies and analyzes them in both deterministic and stochastic contexts. The emphasis is very much on the development of the analytical models; a novel feature is the extensive use of continuous-time stochastic methods. While the author applies the models to a range of important policy issues, particularly issues of fiscal policy, the reader is invited to view the analyses as blueprints for other applications.

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