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Economics and Finance

Economics and Finance

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The Transition from Plan to Market

As China has transformed itself from a centrally planned economy to a market economy, economists have tried to understand and interpret the success of Chinese reform. As the Chinese economist Yingyi Qian explains, there are two schools of thought on Chinese reform: the “School of Universal Principles,” which ascribes China’s successful reform to the workings of the free market, and the “School of Chinese Characteristics,” which holds that China’s reform is successful precisely because it did not follow the economics of the market but instead relied on the government.

The Macroeconomics of Search and Unemployment

This book offers an integrated framework to study the theoretical and quantitative properties of economies with frictions in multiple markets. Building on analyses of markets with frictions by 2010 Nobel laureates Peter A. Diamond, Dale T. Mortensen, and Christopher A. Pissarides, which provided a new theoretical approach to search markets, the book applies this new paradigm to labor, finance, and goods markets. It shows, in particular, how frictions in different markets interact with each other.

This book introduces the economic applications of the theory of continuous-time finance, with the goal of enabling the construction of realistic models, particularly those involving incomplete markets. Indeed, most recent applications of continuous-time finance aim to capture the imperfections and dysfunctions of financial markets—characteristics that became especially apparent during the market turmoil that started in 2008.

Classical and Gibbs-Sampling Approaches with Applications

Both state-space models and Markov switching models have been highly productive paths for empirical research in macroeconomics and finance. This book presents recent advances in econometric methods that make feasible the estimation of models that have both features. One approach, in the classical framework, approximates the likelihood function; the other, in the Bayesian framework, uses Gibbs-sampling to simulate posterior distributions from data.

Over the last two hundred years, mortality and fertility levels in the Western world have dropped to unprecedented levels. This demographic transition was accompanied by an economic transition that led to widespread education and economic growth after centuries of near-stagnation. At the same time, other changes have occurred in family structures, culture, and the organization of society. Economists have only recently begun to take into account the demographic transition from high mortality and high fertility when modeling and researching economic development.

Reforming the Greek Economy

More than eight years after the global financial crisis began, the economy of Greece shows little sign of recovery, and its position in the eurozone seems tenuous. Between 2008 and 2014, incomes in Greece shrank by more than 25 percent, homes lost more than a third of their value, and the unemployment rate reached 27 percent. Most articles on Greece in the media focus on the effects of austerity, repayment of its debt, and its future in the eurozone.

Reform Priorities

The European Union (EU) faces critical challenges in energy policy making, the most pressing of which are how to achieve the deep greenhouse gas reductions promised at the December 2015 UN Conference of the Parties in Paris, and how this effort can be coordinated with already existing policies. Energy policy is primarily a member state responsibility, and policy makers need an overarching view of the main issues in energy policy and their interaction with environmental policies.

In Giving Kids a Fair Chance, Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman argues that the accident of birth is the greatest source of inequality in America today. Children born into disadvantage are, by the time they start kindergarten, already at risk of dropping out of school, teen pregnancy, crime, and a lifetime of low-wage work. This is bad for all those born into disadvantage and bad for American society.

Design and Analysis

In the twenty-first-century digital world, virtual goods are sold for real money. Digital game players happily pay for avatars, power-ups, and other game items. But behind every virtual sale, there is a virtual economy, simple or complex. In this book, Vili Lehdonvirta and Edward Castronova introduce the basic concepts of economics into the game developer’s and game designer’s toolkits. Lehdonvirta and Castronova explain how the fundamentals of economics—markets, institutions, and money—can be used to create or analyze economies based on artificially scarce virtual goods.

The Art of Policymaking in India

In December 2009, the economist Kaushik Basu left the rarefied world of academic research for the nuts and bolts of policymaking. Appointed by the then Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, to be chief economic adviser (CEA) to the Government of India, Basu—a theorist, with special interest in development economics, and a professor of economics at Cornell University—discovered the complexity of applying economic models to the real world. Effective policymaking, Basu learned, integrates technical knowledge with political awareness.

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