A Humble Request from a Student of Economics

by robekulick

Dear [Prominent Economist],

Students of economics need your help! A few years ago, macroeconomics was  a relatively placid  field within economics where it seemed like there was a large amount of agreement on how to formulate macroeconomic policy. Since the financial crisis, however, any semblance of consensus has eroded and we have entered a new period of intense disagreement between various schools of economic thought. The financial crisis and the economic stagnation that ensued have served to remind students of economics that macroeconomic policy has very real consequences for real people. Thus, it is imperative for those of us who constitute the next generation of economic thought to thoroughly understand the current macroeconomic debate.

The growth of economics blogs has undoubtedly been both a consequence of and a catalyst for the discord among macroeconomists. I think overall the proliferation of economics blogs has been very positive for students of economics. We have unprecedented access to the thoughts of leading economic thinkers. Furthermore, blogging often allows students and lay-people to have direct engagement with leading economists which would not have been possible in the past. However, one of the first lessons that any undergraduate learns while studying economics is that there are “no free lunches” and this principle applies to the current state of economic discourse. Because blogs are generally written in a polemical style rather than an academic style it is often hard to distinguish established economic opinions from the personal beliefs of bloggers. So I thought it might be helpful for prominent economists, especially those who frequently express themselves through blogs, op-eds, or other popular writings to fill out the following questionnaire, which will orient and provide context for students of economics trying to follow the current debate. Any participation is immensely appreciated!

Question 1: Do you identify with a particular macroeconomic school of thought? Briefly explain.

Question 2: In a few sentences please explain whether you believe fiscal policy and/or monetary policy has a role to play in ameliorating the current economic situation?

Question 3: (Very Important Question!):

a) Please identify the theoretical academic papers that you view as the most important for explaining your beliefs in the potential efficacy of fiscal and monetary policy in general.

b) Please identify the empirical academic papers that you view as the most important for explaining your beliefs in the potential efficacy of fiscal and monetary policy in general.

Question 4: Please explain in a few sentences what you view as the primary determinants of the business cycle?

Question 5):

a) Please identify the theoretical academic papers that you view as the most important for explaining your beliefs as to what are the primary determinants of the business cycle.

b) Please identify the empirical academic papers that you view as the most important for explaining your beliefs as to what are the primary determinants of the business cycle.

Question 6: Please explain in a few sentences what you view as the primary determinants of long-term economic growth.

Question 7:

a) Please identify the theoretical academic papers that you view as the most important for explaining your beliefs as to what are the primary determinants of economic growth.

b) Please identify the empirical academic papers that you view as the most important for explaining your beliefs as to what are the primary determinants of economic growth.

Question 8 (Another very important one!):

What are the most important theoretical and empirical papers defining the economic viewpoint contrary to your viewpoint on fiscal and monetary policy?

Question 9 (Final Question): Please share any other relevant thoughts.

To anyone who fills out this questionnaire or even gives it a little bit of thought, I want to say how much I appreciate your consideration of these questions. I believe knowing your answers to these questions would be of inestimable value for current students of economics. Also, for anyone who reads this, please feel free to suggest ways that I can improve the questionnaire.

Sincerely,

Robert “Robe” Kulick

First Year Graduate Student in Economics at the University of Maryland

 

 

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