Economics 7395 
Topics in Macroeconomics
Spring 2007



This is intended as a 3rd year course and I am willing to adjust the content of the course based on students’ preferences.

Last time (2005) the course had the following structure:


A midterm and 3 homeworks followed by in-depth student presentations (a full class each, which in practice means that I do half the talking to help make things understandable to the rest of the class). I assume we will  use the same structure. (I insist on 3-4

homeworks and midterm because my experience is that  too many people do not not study properly without these proddings.)


Topics covered in 2005 (I will start with the first one which is just one lecture to get you to think about the role of empirical work).


1)      Introduction (empirical methods in macro)

2)      GMM (how to do, applied perspecitive---I will not prove any econometrics results)

3)      VAR (focus on interpretions of structural VARs and applications in macro)

4)      Introduction to dynamic programming (Sargent and Ljungquist)

5)      A Midterm

6)      Student presentations after midterm – I prefer that students choose a chapter from Sargent-Ljungquist (large chapter can be 2 students) because this is an influential text written in a different style than most students are used to so it is good if we get exposed as much as possible to this. If you see some article that really interest you, we can cover that too, but I want it to be something very recent (preferable still a working paper).

Midterm date (self test): Monday February 26.

Note on Structural VARs. (Note, updated version 2/22, many typos corrected so update your copy. Probably some left, please report.)

Note on Panel Data

Notes on Empirical Methods in Macro                                                                         

GMM Notes part 1

GMM Notes part 2

GMM Notes part 3

Hansen-Singleton GMM program,   the data

Panel Data Program from Ostergaard, Sorensen, Yosha JPE 2002. the data

The data are in GAUSS format and you should

Download to the PC and unzip. You will need to change the paths for loading and the outfile.

Homework 5

Homework 4

Homework 3

Homework 2

Homework 1: Read the article The Scientific Illusion in Empirical Macroeconomics by
Lawrence H. Summers, The Scandinavian Journal of Economics  Vol. 93, No. 2, 
Available from JSTOR, and write one page with a very short summary and a critique of the article. (What is your opinion? Do you agree with Summers? Why is it technically a bad article? Please argue carefully.)