Big Ideas in Macroeconomics: A Nontechnical View by Kartik B. Athreya

By Kartik B. Athreya

Macroeconomists were caricatured both as credulous savants in love with the wonderful thing about their mathematical types or as free-market fundamentalists who admit without doubt as to the market's knowledge. during this e-book, Kartik Athreya attracts a more true photo, delivering a nontechnical description of well known principles and types in macroeconomics, and arguing for his or her worth as interpretive instruments in addition to their coverage relevance. Athreya intentionally leaves out the technical equipment, offering a vital advisor to the occasionally summary rules that force macroeconomists' learn and functional coverage advice.

Athreya describes the most method of macroeconomic version building, the foundational Walrasian general-equilibrium framework, and its glossy model, the Arrow-Debreu-McKenzie (ADM) version. within the middle of the publication, Athreya exhibits how the Walrasian strategy shapes and unifies a lot of contemporary macroeconomics. He information types vital to ongoing macroeconomic analyses: the neoclassical and stochastic progress types, the typical incomplete-markets version, the overlapping-generations version, and the common seek version. Athreya's available primer strains the hyperlinks among the perspectives and coverage suggestion of recent macroeconomists and their shared theoretical approach.

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The standard recipe ensures that one will be able to answer each of these questions. Modern macroeconomics takes seriously the view that the main role of a model is to frame questions first and (hopefully) settle them later. , “rational”). It is this tendency that permits us to have 28 Chapter 1 a meaningful conversation about whether the implications of policies are “good” or “bad” and why they are as such. Such statements are, it turns out, nearly impossible to make once one drops the assumption of rationality.

But for anyone to know this, they’d have to have wrestled with the same tradeoffs, and have built a model that is both more realistic and only somewhat less tractable to analyze. In sum, if there’s one rule we play by, it is this: it takes a model to beat a model. One measure of the difficulty of achieving this can be seen in the high payoff to succeeding; it is what essentially all of the profession’s biggest names, such as Paul Krugman, Edward Prescott, and George Akerlof, each did at some point.

A competitive market system is one in which trading partners interact only anonymously via a system of Walrasian prices that are known and taken by all of them as unchangeable. The key aspect of this system is its decentralized nature: no participant is assumed to have any information about anyone or anything beyond prices and his or her own preferences or production capabilities, and the only decision for each consumer and producer is how much of each good or service to purchase or produce, respectively, given the existing prices.

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