Robert M. Solow

Robert M. Solow is Institute Professor of Economics.

  • Inflation, Unemployment, and Monetary Policy

    Inflation, Unemployment, and Monetary Policy

    Robert M. Solow, James B. Taylor, and Benjamin M. Friedman

    Edited and with an introduction by Benjamin M. Friedman 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.

    • Hardcover $24.00
    • Paperback $4.75 £3.99
  • Critical Essay on Modern Macroeconomic Theory

    Critical Essay on Modern Macroeconomic Theory

    Frank Hahn and Robert M. Solow

    Macroeconomics began as the study of large-scale economic pathologies such as prolonged depression, mass unemployment, and persistent inflation. In the early 1980s, rational expectations and new classical economics dominated macroeconomic theory, with the result that such pathologies can hardly be discussed within the vocabulary of the theory. This essay evolved from the authors' profound disagreement with that trend. It demonstrates not only how the new classical view got macroeconomics wrong, but alsohow to go about doing macroeconomics the right way. Hahn and Solow argue that what was originally offered as a normative model based on perfect foresight and universal perfect competition—useful for predicting what an ideal, omniscient planner should do—has been almost casually transformed into a model for interpreting real macroeconomic behavior, leading to Panglossian economics that does not reflect actual experience. Following an explanation of microeconomic foundations, chapters introduce the basic elements for a better macro model. The model is simple, but combined with the appropriate model of the labor market it can say useful things about the fluctuation of employment, the correlation between wages and employment, and the role for corrective monetary policy.

    • Hardcover $35.00
    • Paperback $9.75 £7.99
  • Made in America

    Made in America

    Regaining the Productive Edge

    Michael L. Dertouzos, Robert M. Solow, and Richard K. Lester

    Made in America identifies what is best and worth replicating in American industrial practice and sets out five national priorities for regaining the productive edge.

    What went wrong and how can America become second to none in industrial productivity? This long awaited study by a team of top notch MIT scientists and economists - the MIT Commission on Industrial Productivity - takes a hard look at the recurring weaknesses of American industry that are threatening the country's standard of living and its position in the world economy. Made in America identifies what is best and worth replicating in American industrial practice and sets out five national priorities for regaining the productive edge. Unlike other studies that prescribe macroeconomic cures, Made in America focuses on the reorganization and effective integration of human resources and new technologies within the firm as a principal driving force for long term growth in productivity. Made in America examines the relationship between human resources and technological change in detail and singles out the most significant productivity weaknesses from the myriad causes that are typically cited. These include short­time horizons and a preoccupation with the bottom line, outdated strategies that focus excessively on the domestic market, lack of cooperation within and among U.S. firms, neglect of human resources, technological failures in translating discoveries to products, and a mismatch between governmental actions and the needs of industry. Looking ahead Made in America asserts that industrial performance would improve substantially simply by building on what is best in U.S. industry. It describes representative systems of production that can serve as models of best industrial practice for niche producers, price competitive specialized producers, and flexible mass producers. Among the goals singled out as national priorities are the creation of a new economic citizenship that involves well­educated workers as active partners in the reproduction process, a new strategic focus on production, finding a better balance between cooperation and individualism, learning to live in an increasingly international economy, and making proper provision for the future both in terms of capital and human resources. The findings and goals of Made in America are based on such measures of productivity performance as product quality, innovativeness, time to market, and service in eight manufacturing sectors - semiconductors, computers, and office equipment; automobiles; steel; consumer electronics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals; textiles; machine tools; and commercial aircraft. These measures revealed a large gap between the best and average U.S. practice.

    • Hardcover $70.00 £54.00


  • Lives of the Laureates, Sixth Edition

    Lives of the Laureates, Sixth Edition

    Twenty-three Nobel Economists

    Roger W. Spencer and David A. Macpherson

    Autobiographical accounts by Nobel laureates reflect the richness and diversity of contemporary economic thought and offer insights into the creative process.

    Lives of the Laureates offers readers an informal history of modern economic thought as told through autobiographical essays by twenty-three Nobel Prize laureates in Economics. The essays not only provide unique insights into major economic ideas of our time but also shed light on the processes of intellectual discovery and creativity. The accounts are accessible and engaging, achieving clarity without sacrificing inherently difficult content.

    This sixth edition adds four recent Nobelists to its pages: Eric Maskin, who illustrates his explanation of mechanism design with an example involving a mother, a cake, and two children; Joseph Stiglitz, who recounts his field's ideological wars linked to policy disputes; Paul Krugman, who describes the insights he gained from studying the model of the Capitol Hill Babysitting Coop (and the recession it suffered when more people wanted to accumulate babysitting coupons than redeem them); and Peter Diamond, who maps his development from student to teacher to policy analyst.

    Lives of the Laureates grows out of a continuing lecture series at Trinity University in San Antonio, which invites Nobelists from American universities to describe their evolution as economists in personal as well as technical terms. These lectures demonstrate the richness and diversity of contemporary economic thought. The reader will find that paths cross in unexpected ways—that disparate thinkers were often influenced by the same teachers—and that luck as well as hard work plays a role in the process of scientific discovery.

    The Laureates Lawrence R. Klein • Kenneth J. Arrow • Paul A. Samuelson • Milton Friedman • George J. Stigler • James Tobin • Franco Modigliani • James M. Buchanan • Robert M. Solow • William F. Sharpe • Douglass C. North • Myron S. Scholes • Gary S. Becker • Robert E. Lucas, Jr. • James J. Heckman • Vernon L. Smith • Edward C. Prescott • Thomas C. Schelling • Edmund S. Phelps • Eric S. Maskin • Joseph E. Stiglitz • Paul Krugman • Peter A. Diamond

    • Hardcover $37.00 £29.00
  • In 100 Years

    In 100 Years

    Leading Economists Predict the Future

    Ignacio Palacios-Huerta

    In this book, ten prominent economists—including Nobel laureates and several likely laureates—offer their ideas about what the future might hold in 100 years.

    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, 2013 Nobelist Robert Shiller provides an innovative view of future risk management methods using information technology; and Martin Weitzman raises the intriguing but alarming possibility of using geoengineering techniques to mitigate the inevitable effects of climate change.

    Contributors Daron Acemoglu, Angus Deaton, Avinash K. Dixit, Edward L. Glaeser, Andreu Mas-Colell, John E. Roemer, Alvin E. Roth, Robert J. Shiller, Robert M. Solow, Martin L. Weitzman

    • Hardcover $26.95 £19.95
    • Paperback $18.95 £14.99
  • Secrets of Economics Editors

    Secrets of Economics Editors

    Michael Szenberg and Lall Ramrattan

    Experienced economics editors discuss navigating the world of scholarly journals, with details on submission, reviews, acceptance, rejection, and editorial policy.

    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.

    Contributors 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

    • Paperback $19.75 £14.99
  • In the Wake of the Crisis

    In the Wake of the Crisis

    Leading Economists Reassess Economic Policy

    Olivier Blanchard, David Romer, Michael Spence, and Joseph E. Stiglitz

    Prominent economists reconsider the fundamentals of economic policy for a post-crisis world.

    In 2011, the International Monetary Fund invited prominent economists and economic policymakers to consider the brave new world of the post-crisis global economy. The result is a book that captures the state of macroeconomic thinking at a transformational moment.

    The crisis and the weak recovery that has followed raise fundamental questions concerning macroeconomics and economic policy. These top economists discuss future directions for monetary policy, fiscal policy, financial regulation, capital-account management, growth strategies, the international monetary system, and the economic models that should underpin thinking about critical policy choices.

    Contributors Olivier Blanchard, Ricardo Caballero, Charles Collyns, Arminio Fraga, Már Guðmundsson, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Otmar Issing, Olivier Jeanne, Rakesh Mohan, Maurice Obstfeld, José Antonio Ocampo, Guillermo Ortiz, Y. V. Reddy, Dani Rodrik, David Romer, Paul Romer, Andrew Sheng, Hyun Song Shin, Parthasarathi Shome, Robert Solow, Michael Spence, Joseph Stiglitz, Adair Turner

    • Hardcover $25.00 £20.00
    • Paperback $13.95 £10.99
  • Understanding Inflation and the Implications for Monetary Policy

    Understanding Inflation and the Implications for Monetary Policy

    A Phillips Curve Retrospective

    Jeff Fuhrer, Yolanda K. Kodrzycki, Jane Sneddon Little, and Giovanni P. Olivei

    Current perspectives on the Phillips curve, a core macroeconomic concept that treats the relationship between inflation and unemployment.

    In 1958, economist A. W. Phillips published an article describing what he observed to be the inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment; subsequently, the “Phillips curve” became a central concept in macroeconomic analysis and policymaking. But today's Phillips curve is not the same as the original one from fifty years ago; the economy, our understanding of price setting behavior, the determinants of inflation, and the role of monetary policy have evolved significantly since then. In this book, some of the top economists working today reexamine the theoretical and empirical validity of the Phillips curve in its more recent specifications. The contributors consider such questions as what economists have learned about price and wage setting and inflation expectations that would improve the way we use and formulate the Phillips curve, what the Phillips curve approach can teach us about inflation dynamics, and how these lessons can be applied to improving the conduct of monetary policy.

    Contributors Lawrence Ball, Ben Bernanke, Oliver Blanchard, V. V. Chari, William T. Dickens, Stanley Fischer, Jeff Fuhrer, Jordi Gali, Michael T. Kiley, Robert G. King, Donald L. Kohn, Yolanda K. Kodrzycki, Jane Sneddon Little, Bartisz Mackowiak, N. Gregory Mankiw, Virgiliu Midrigan, Giovanni P. Olivei, Athanasios Orphanides, Adrian R. Pagan, Christopher A. Pissarides, Lucrezia Reichlin, Paul A. Samuelson, Christopher A. Sims, Frank R. Smets, Robert M. Solow, Jürgen Stark, James H. Stock, Lars E. O. Svensson, John B. Taylor, Mark W. Watson

    • Hardcover $19.75 £14.99
  • Revisiting Keynes

    Revisiting Keynes

    Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren

    Lorenzo Pecchi and Gustavo Piga

    Leading economists revisit a provocative essay by John Maynard Keynes, debating Keynes's vision of growth, inequality, work, leisure, entrepreneurship, consumerism, and the search for happiness in the twenty-first century.

    In 1931 distinguished economist John Maynard Keynes published a short essay, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” in his collection Essays in Persuasion. In the essay, he expressed optimism for the economic future despite the doldrums of the post-World War I years and the onset of the Great Depression. Keynes imagined that by 2030 the standard of living would be dramatically higher; people, liberated from want (and without the desire to consume for the sake of consumption), would work no more than fifteen hours a week, devoting the rest of their time to leisure and culture. In Revisiting Keynes, leading contemporary economists consider what Keynes got right in his essay—the rise in the standard of living, for example—and what he got wrong—such as a shortened work week and consumer satiation. In so doing, they raise challenging questions about the world economy and contemporary lifestyles in the twenty-first century.

    The contributors—among them, four Nobel laureates in economics—point out that although Keynes correctly predicted economic growth, he neglected the problems of distribution and inequality. Keynes overestimated the desire of people to stop working and underestimated the pleasures and rewards of work—perhaps basing his idea of “economic bliss” on the life of the English gentleman or the ideals of his Bloomsbury group friends. In Revisiting Keynes, Keynes's short essay—usually seen as a minor divertissement compared to his other more influential works—becomes the catalyst for a lively debate among some of today's top economists about economic growth, inequality, wealth, work, leisure, culture, and consumerism.

    Contributors William J. Baumol, Leonardo Becchetti, Gary S. Becker, Michele Boldrin, Jean-Paul Fitoussi, Robert H. Frank, Richard B. Freeman, Benjamin M. Friedman, Axel Leijonhufvud, David K. Levine, Lee E. Ohanian, Edmund S. Phelps, Luis Rayo, Robert Solow, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Fabrizio Zilibotti

    • Hardcover $7.75 £6.95
    • Paperback $20.00 £14.99