Williamson_3e_IM_05 - Chapter 5 A Closed-Economy One-Period...

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Chapter 5 A Closed-Economy One-Period Macroeconomic Model ± Teaching Goals There are three key points to be learned from this chapter. The first point is that when we allow the consumers and firms that we studied in Chapter 4 to interact with each other and with the government, the economy is able to achieve equilibrium through price adjustment. In this particular case, the “price” is the relative price of leisure, the real wage. The second important point is that the equilibrium that markets settle upon is a favorable one, in the sense of Pareto optimality. This point is in keeping with Adam Smith’s notion that the “invisible hand” of self-interested individuals, meeting in a competitive market, can work for the common good. The third point is that we can directly discover the equilibrium position of a market economy by solving an economic planner problem. Although students may find this point to be somewhat arcane, stress the point that it will be much simpler to solve problems (e.g., exam problems) by working with a planner problem as opposed to directly solving general equilibrium problems. The students, however, need to be aware when this solution method is not applicable. The new section about the Laffer curve is a good way to show when social and private optima do not coincide. Once students have mastered the mechanics of the model, the two problems for which this model is best suited are the analyses of changes in government spending and total factor productivity. In working these problems, stress the applicability of these results to historical applications and as a guide to understanding current events. A key tactic of the textbook’s approach is the critical assessment of the usefulness and credibility of competing models. Therefore, it is important to stress the extent to which models fit the facts. Does this model fit the facts of long-run growth? Does this model fit the facts of the typical business cycle? These kinds of questions come up again and again in the course of macroeconomic study. Stress again and again that scientific study needs to relate to observations, in our case the stylized facts of Chapter 2. ± Classroom Discussion Topics An alternative approach to this material is to start with the example of Robinson Crusoe (or Castaway , Gilligan’s Island , etc.). Does an isolated individual have any economic choices? What would guide these choices? Would you rather be on an island with a more plentiful food supply? A pure income effect can then be presented in the form of extra food (or a volleyball) washing up on shore, or in the form of “pirates” (government?) demanding tribute. An increase in total factor productivity can be in the form of obtaining a fishing net or a ladder to climb coconut trees. A change in capital can be the consequence of a hurricane, etc.
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This note was uploaded on 03/03/2010 for the course ECON 1001 taught by Professor Donaldberry during the Spring '09 term at UCL.

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Williamson_3e_IM_05 - Chapter 5 A Closed-Economy One-Period...

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