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The ABCs of RBCs
An Introduction to Dynamic Macroeconomic Models
George McCandless
Harvard University Press, 2008

The ABCs of RBCs is the first book to provide a basic introduction to Real Business Cycle (RBC) and New-Keynesian models. These models argue that random shocks—new inventions, droughts, and wars, in the case of pure RBC models, and monetary and fiscal policy and international investor risk aversion, in more open interpretations—can trigger booms and recessions and can account for much of observed output volatility.

George McCandless works through a sequence of these Real Business Cycle and New-Keynesian dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models in fine detail, showing how to solve them, and how to add important extensions to the basic model, such as money, price and wage rigidities, financial markets, and an open economy. The impulse response functions of each new model show how the added feature changes the dynamics.

The ABCs of RBCs is designed to teach the economic practitioner or student how to build simple RBC models. Matlab code for solving many of the models is provided, and careful readers should be able to construct, solve, and use their own models.

In the tradition of the “freshwater” economic schools of Chicago and Minnesota, McCandless enhances the methods and sophistication of current macroeconomic modeling.


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Aggressive Unilateralism
America's 301 Trade Policy and the World Trading System
Jagdish Bhagwati and Hugh T. Patrick, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 1990
This title was formally part of the Studies in International Trade Policy Series, now called Studies in International Economics.

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Allocation of Income within the Household
Edward P. Lazear and Robert T. Michael
University of Chicago Press, 1988
Allocation of Income within the Household develops an important new economic model of income distribution within the family, one that attempts to determine which family characteristics affect spending patterns. Professors Lazear and Michael base their work on an analysis of the 1972-73 Consumer Expenditure Survey and test their conclusions against the 1960-61 survey to verify the persistence of the effects discovered. They find, for example, that the average household spends $38 per child for every $100 spent per adult and that the level of relative and absolute expenditure on the child rises with the level of education of the head of the household.

Lazear and Michael also explore the implications their study may hold for the process of determining child support payments in households that dissolve. They argue that, unless the spending of every dollar can be monitored, alimony cannot be disentangled from child support. They also develop several criteria by which income might be distributed among family members, and, using one of those criteria, they present a series of tables that suggest the appropriate payment from one parent to another given family size, structure, and income level. Their model is particularly useful because it takes account of the ways other family members who were not part of the original household may contribute income to the new household. Other issues considered include the appropriate way to deal with children with special needs and the timing of transfer payments.

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American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War
Edited by Robert E. Gallman and John Joseph Wallis
University of Chicago Press, 1992
This benchmark volume addresses the debate over the effects of early industrialization on standards of living during the decades before the Civil War. Its contributors demonstrate that the aggregate antebellum economy was growing faster than any other large economy had grown before.

Despite the dramatic economic growth and rise in income levels, questions remain as to the general quality of life during this era. Was the improvement in income widely shared? How did economic growth affect the nature of work? Did higher levels of income lead to improved health and longevity? The authors address these questions by analyzing new estimates of labor force participation, real wages, and productivity, as well as of the distribution of income, height, and nutrition.

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The American Political Economy
Macroeconomics and Electoral Politics
Douglas A. Hibbs, Jr.
Harvard University Press, 1987

Here is the most comprehensive and authoritative work to date on relationships between the economy and politics in the years from Eisenhower through Reagan. Extending and deepening his earlier work, which had major impact in both political science and economics, Douglas Hibbs traces the patterns in and sources of postwar growth, unemployment, and inflation. He identifies which groups “win” and “lose” from inflations and recessions. He also shows how voters’ perceptions and reactions to economic events affect the electoral fortunes of political parties and presidents.

Hibbs’s analyses demonstrate that political officials in a democratic society ignore the economic interests and demands of their constituents at their peril, because episodes of prosperity and austerity frequently have critical influence on voters’ behavior at the polls. The consequences of Eisenhower’s last recession, of Ford’s unwillingness to stimulate the economy, of Carter’s stalled recovery were electorally fatal, whereas Johnson’s, Nixon’s, and Reagan’s successes in presiding over rising employment and real incomes helped win elections.

The book develops a major theory of macroeconomic policy action that explains why priority is given to growth, unemployment, inflation, and income distribution shifts with changes in partisan control of the White House. The analysis shows how such policy priorities conform to the underlying economic interests and preferences of the governing party’s core political supporters. Throughout the study Hibbs is careful to take account of domestic institutional arrangements and international economic events that constrain domestic policy effectiveness and influence domestic economic outcomes.

Hibbs’s interdisciplinary approach yields more rigorous and more persuasive characterizations of the American political economy than either purely economic, apolitical analyses or purely partisan, politicized accounts. His book provides a useful benchmark for the advocacy of new policies for the 1990s—a handy volume for politicians and their staffs, as well as for students and teachers of politics and economics.


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The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles
David Harvey
Pluto Press, 2020

Amidst waves of economic crises, health crises, class struggle and neo-fascist reaction, few possess the clarity and foresight of world-renowned theorist, David Harvey. Since the publication of his bestselling A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Harvey has been tracking the evolution of the capitalist system as well as tides of radical opposition rising against it. In The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, Harvey introduces new ways of understanding the crisis of global capitalism and the struggles for a better world.

While accounting for violence and disaster, Harvey also chronicles hope and possibility. By way of conversations about neoliberalism, capitalism, globalization, the environment, technology, social movements and crises like COVID-19, he outlines, with characteristic brilliance, how socialist alternatives are being imagined under very difficult circumstances.

In understanding the economic, political and social dimensions of the crisis, Harvey’s analysis in The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles will be of strategic importance to anyone wanting to both understand and change the world.


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Asset Accumulation and Economic Activity
Reflections on Contemporary Macroeconomic Theory
James Tobin
University of Chicago Press, 1982
In this work James Tobin discusses two major issues of macroeconomics: the strength of automatic market forces in maintaining full employment equilibrium and the efficacy of government fiscal and monetary policies in stabilizing the economy.

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