Macroeconomics 1: “Growth and Crisis” (PEC2208.01)

Lopamudra Banerjee

Economic growth is considered desirable as it can potentially improve the average material standard of living for people over the long-run. Yet, the capitalist economic system is a crisis-riddled economic order; and, periodic occurrences of crises (such as intermittent recessions and the more serious depressions) severely disrupts people’s economic wellbeing and bring about other forms of social dis-stabilities. Much of the concerns in macroeconomic analyses are with the prospects of growth for a country (or a region, or the world economy in general) and the chances of crises. Some of the key questions that are asked in this context are: what is the nature and sources of growth, and why and how do crisis occur episodically and inescapably? Who gains most from growth processes and why, and who suffers most from crisis and why? And, what economic interventions should be made to promote growth and contain crisis, and how do the policy interventions work? In this seminar, we will explore these questions together. Our specific attention will be on [a] the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on aggregate production, employment, and prices across the world, and [b] the implications of systemic economic inequality for economic growth and crisis for a country.

This is an introductory course on macroeconomic theory and applications. The course is designed for students in their first and second years of college. We will explore the basic ideas in the course verbally and through written expositions, and make use of macroeconomic data (on unemployment, inflation, and production) to provide evidential support to our arguments. We will use graphs and mathematical formulations to express the key concepts in formal terms. For this, a grasp of high-school algebra and geometry is required, and some familiarity with spreadsheet analyses of data is expected. Also, some knowledge of calculus will be advantageous. No prior knowledge of economics is necessary to take this course.

The course has two requirements: [a] Class participation and attendance, and [b] a research project and related homework assignments. [You should not miss a class. Before coming to class, you must engage carefully with the assigned materials, and you must participate seriously in class discussions. Also, as a research project for the class, we will carry out empirical analysis of an issue dealing with economic growth and economic crisis for your studied country.]

The course will be taught through [A] one two-hour long synchronous meeting each week to be attended by all students in the class for lectures, data workshops, class discussions and collective sharing of ideas; together with [B] asynchronous group tutorial meetings [normally between four or five students and the course instructor] based around conversations on students’ work and research questions.

Learning Outcomes:
The course is designed to [1] help students gain a critical understanding of core economic principles and apply them to a wide range of real-world issues, and [2] guide them in formulating their own analytical questions as they expand their knowledge through active, self-determined investigation. Throughout this course, students will expand their capabilities for economic reasonings, and progress in their capacities to inquire, engage and communicate.

Delivery Method: Fully remote
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 8:30AM - 10:20AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

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