Unemployment and Inflation (PEC2257.01)

Lopamudra Banerjee

Macroeconomics is very much about tying together facts and theories, and in this course, we will examine how macroeconomic principles can help us understand the nature and causes of inflation and unemployment that is plaguing the world economy in this post-Covid moment. We will also study the tension between policies that quell inflation but give rise to unemployment and worsen wage income, and the policies that aim to rescue the economy from downturn or recession but brings about inflation that bite into consumer and corporate spending power. We will reflect on how employment and income had effectively been stabilized in the past and how inequality in income and spending power was addressed in earlier periods, especially in the industrialized advanced market economies of the world. Focus will also be on macroeconomic policies to address unemployment and inflation in the non-‘Western’ world. Using the insight gained from these discussions, we will deliberate over how the global economy is trying to avoid a long-drawn out contraction and moderate the rate of inflation now, in the present times.

The course has two requirements: [a] Class participation based on deep reading of assigned materials, 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.]

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 will be taught through synchronous meeting each week to be attended by all students in the class for lectures, data workshops, class discussions and collective sharing of ideas. There will be occasional remote classes held online together with the more-frequent in-person meetings. There may also be occasional 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: Hybrid
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Four Credit , Hybrid , Political Economy
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