Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pre-Class Post 1

This is the blog of my class notes for ECO 509 - Business Conditions Analysis. The course focuses on Macroeconomics and is taught by Professor Jaejoon Woo. I added links to the official class web site on the side bar.

Course Outline
The course is divided into 3 units:
Unit 1. Overview of the World Economy and Macroeconomic Indicators

Unit 2. The Economy in the Long Run
I. National Income Accounts and the Balance of Payments System
II. Productivity and Growth
III. Money, Inflation, Interest Rates, Exchange Rates and Asset Prices

Unit 3. The Economy in the Short Run
I. AD-AS Model
II. Aggregate Demand
III. The Open Economy in the Short Run (time permitting)
IV. Monetary and Fiscal Policies, Budget Deficits and Government Debt

The text is Mankiw's Macroeconomics. Bookstore price is $150 new, $122 used. Amazon price is $103 new, about $60 used. Kind of a no-brainer, huh? There's also a Study Guide and Workbook available. The textbook has a companion web site with self tests, flashcards, a tutorial (set of powerpoint slides), a data plotter, macro models and a simulation game. You need to register (free).

There are also many outside readings, most of which are available for download online.

We'll have the Depaul usual:
4 lectures
Midterm (40%)
5 lectures
Final (40%)

The one unusual thing I noticed on the syllabus is that the midterm is a take-home test. A take-home exam is generally favored by students, but it may mean that it'll require more time, thought and analysis. The final is in-class, closed-book as usual.

Group Project
There's also a group project (20% of final grade) due on the day of the final. I'm interested in getting started on the project right away. It sounds like we can choose our own topic. It just needs to be approved by the professor. Here are a few of the things I'm interested in:

  • The macroeconomic effect of raising the eligibility age for tax-payer financed benefits for the elderly (Social Security, Medicare, etc). This is my preferred topic. It's a hot topic and there's plenty of literature to work with.
  • How macroeconomic indicators can be used effectively. (There's already plenty of discussion of their shortcomings)
  • Counterfactual assessment of a 90/10 Social Security system
  • How macroeconomic indicators influence US presidential elections
  • Microcredit (Grameen Bank) and how it influences the macroeconomy
  • Macroeconomics in online virtual environments (Second Life, WoW, Runescape, etc)
If you're interested in working with me in a serious way on one of these or any other topic for the group project, drop me an email and we can talk. I'm very interested in trying to use collaboration technology such as GoogleDocs to do the group project. If you're into that too, we'll work well together.

No comments: