ECONOMICS FOR BUSINESS
Updated A.Y. 2017-2018
8011613 - ECONOMICS FOR BUSINESS
Master of Science in Business Administration
University of Rome Tor Vergata
Prof. VINCENZO ATELLA
Macroeconomics is in the news every day. Anyone who pays attention to the news knows that the crash in the US housing market in 2008 caused dramatic perturbations to financial markets all around the world. This in turn triggered very strong responses by governments in the US as well as in other countries. Political debates are often centered around implementation of macroeconomic policies. External shocks to the economy and the interventions from policy makers raise a number of key questions about the health and the future of the economies, which we will address in this course.
This is an advanced course on macroeconomic analysis in the context of globally integrated economies with an emphasis on current events. The objective of the course is to provide students with the foundations to understand the main macroeconomic events, and to learn how to evaluate the global economic environment in which business decisions are often made. Building on the fundamentals introduced in basic macroeconomic course in the undergraduate programs, we will try to explain the complex interactions that characterize modern macroeconomics. Key topics of the course include national income accounting, the central role of technological change for economic growth, the labor market, business cycle fluctuations and in particular the Great Recession following the 2008 financial crisis, the conduct of monetary and fiscal policy, the macroeconomic effects of globalization, and the international transmission of macroeconomic shocks. Since an important goal of this course is for students to become informed and sophisticated consumers of economic news, the issues discussed in this course draw heavily from current events and real-world examples.
Each lecture lasts for one hour and thirty minutes. Most lectures are divided into two parts. The first part is devoted to an in-class discussion of a current policy topic or case study related to the material covered in the previous lecture. The second part introduces new material that prepares students for next lecture’s current policy topic or case study. Students are expected to come to class prepared and participate actively – especially during the first part of the class. This is reflected in the participation grade, which will have a weight on the final course grade.
The first week of lectures will serve to recap basic knowledge of macroeconomic theory from your undergraduate career.
Some lectures could be taken by external testimonials and/or experts.
The course website is the primary information source for the class. It contains lecture slides, links to assigned readings, and other useful material and information. You should check the website regularly. The website is also a great place to start and participate in course-related discussions. You need to have a personal account to access the website.
Most of the course is taught with slides or using a standard white board. The slides provide the basis of the lectures but do not contain a complete account. Students are expected to supplement the slides with their own notes and the assigned readings. The slides will be made available before class on the course website.
Coursepack and other readings
There is a course pack that contains required readings from different textbooks and case studies. The course pack is hosted in the library. In addition, most lectures are supplemented by readings from news publications and podcasts. These supplements can be accessed through the course website and are required material for the in-class discussions.
There is no required textbook. However, the course draws heavily from the following books: Macroeconomics (11th edition) by R. Dornbush, S. Fisher and R. Starz, McGraw-Hill, 2011 (DFS from hereon); Macroeconomics (4th edition) by Olivier Blanchard, Prentice Hall, 2006 (Blan from hereon); and Macroeconomics (4th edition) by M. Burda and H. Wyplosz, Oxford Univ Press, 2005 (BW from hereon). It is highly recommended that students supplement the lectures with the assigned readings from one of the books as indicated on the course website. The books also include sample questions and study guides that help prepare for the exams. The books are also in reserve at Library.
Macroeconomics is a complex subject about important issues. You will be able to understand and form your opinion about these issues only if you actively engage with the material. You therefore must come to class regularly and work independently on your assignments.
The course is like a contract. My end of the contract is that I will work hard to make it worth your time. Your end of the contract is to prepare the assigned readings and current policy topics / case studies, show up for class and participate actively. The in-class discussion that occupies the first part of most lectures is designed explicitly to encourage this behavior.
To promote a good learning environment, these are my rules to strictly follow:
• Class starts and ends exactly on time. Students and faculty are expected to be prompt.
• Students do not switch sections and always sit in the same seat.
• Students remain in attendance for the duration of class, except for an emergency.
• Phones are turned off and put away.
• Laptops and tablets are strongly discouraged, unless for educational purposes as permitted by professor.
The rule about phones is strict. Violations of the rule will lead to a 50% reduction of the participation grade for a first infraction, respectively a 100% reduction for a second infraction. If you must keep a phone on for a personal emergency reason, please inform me ahead of class.
Your overall course grade is based on the following components: Exams (80%) and in-class participation (20%).
There will be a final exam. The exams are scheduled as follows:
Summer session: Thursday, June 14th at 10am
Thursday, July 5th at 10am
Fall session: Tuesday, September 11th at 10.00am
Exams is comprehensive and closed book. Calculators are permitted but not cell phone calculators.
In-class Participation (20%)
The in-class participation grade is based on your participation in the discussion of the current policy topics and the case studies as well as your overall involvement in the lectures. To prepare for the current policy topics and the case studies, you are encouraged to collaborate with your class mates. However, you will be judged independently on your in-class participation.
My office hours are on Wednesdays after class in Room 2 at the CEIS, Second Floor, Research building. In addition, you may email me at email@example.com to schedule appointments to talk with me at other times. Additional office hours are held throughout the week by teaching assistants (location and time to be determined at the start of the class).
COURSE TOPICS AND LECTURE CALENDAR
1. Crash course in basic Macroeconomics
2. The top 10 risks to the global economy
3. The great recession and the economic policies
4. The Brexit phenomenon and the effect on Europe
5. Monetary policy Quantitative easing
6. Globalization and Inequality: what has happened over the last 20 years
7. The future of modern economies: the role of innovation and institutions
CLASS DATE TOPIC
1 Mon, Apr 9 Review: National income accounting, IS-LM, open economies
2 Tue, Apr 10 Review: Prices, inflation, AS-AD
3 Wed, Apr 11 Review: Open economies
4 Wed, Apr 11 Review: Growth theory and why are some country richer than others
5 Mon, Apr 16 Cause for concern? The top 10 risks to the global economy
6 Tue, Apr 17 The great recession and the economic policies
7 Wed, Apr 18 The great recession and the economic policies
8 Mon, Apr 23 Testimonial lecture
9 Tue, Apr 24 The Brexit phenomenon and the effect on Europe
Wed, Apr 25 No class
10 Mon, Apr 30 Monetary policy: Quantitative easing
Tue, May 1 No class
11 Wed, May 2 Monetary policy: Quantitative easing
12 Mon, May 7 Monetary policy: Quantitative easing
13 Tue, May 8 Testimonial lecture
14 Wed, May 9 Globalization and Inequality: what has happened over the last 20 years
15 Fri, May 11 Testimonial lecture
16 Mon, May 14 The future of modern economies: the role of innovation and institutions
17 Tue, May 15 The future of modern economies: the role of innovation and institutions
18 Wed, May 16 Wrap up lecture and discussion