Category Archives: Teaching

“Macroeconomics II,” Bern, Fall 2022

MA course at the University of Bern.

Time: Monday 10:15-12:00. Location: A-126 UniS. Uni Bern’s official course page. Course assistant: Stefano Corbellini.

The course introduces Master students to modern macroeconomic theory. Building on the analysis of the consumption-saving tradeoff and on concepts from general equilibrium theory, the course covers workhorse general equilibrium models of modern macroeconomics, including the representative agent framework, the overlapping generations model, and the Lucas tree model.

Lectures follow chapters 1–4 (possibly 5) in this book.

“Makroökonomie I (Macroeconomics I),” Bern, Fall 2022

BA course at the University of Bern, taught in German.

Time: Monday 14:15-16:00. Location: Audimax. Uni Bern’s official course page. Course assistant: Wjera Yell Leutenegger.

Course description:

Die Vorlesung vermittelt einen ersten Einblick in die moderne Makroökonomie. Sie baut auf der Veranstaltung „Einführung in die Makroökonomie“ des Einführungsstudiums auf und betont sowohl die Mikrofundierung als auch dynamische Aspekte. Das heisst, sie interpretiert makroökonomische Entwicklungen als das Ergebnis zielgerichteten individuellen (mikroökonomischen) Handelns, und sie wird der Tatsache gerecht, dass wirtschaftliche Entscheidungen Erwartungen widerspiegeln und Konsequenzen in der Zukunft haben. Der klassische Modellrahmen, der in der Vorlesung entwickelt wird, bietet die Grundlage für die Analyse von Wachstum, Konsum, Arbeitsangebot, Investitionen oder Geld- und Fiskalpolitik sowie vieler anderer Themen, die auch in anderen Veranstaltungen des BA Studiums und darüber hinaus behandelt werden.

The course closely follows Pablo Kurlat’s (2020) textbook A Course in Modern Macroeconomics (book website). Lecture notes are available here.

Other intermediate macro texts:

  • Julio Garín, Robert Lester and Eric Sims (2021): Intermediate Macroeconomics (book website, PDF).
  • Matthias Doepke, Andreas Lehnert and Andrew W. Sellgren (1999): Macroeconomics (PDF). (Written by (then) graduate students as a companion text to Robert J. Barro’s textbook Macroeconomics [publisher website].)
  • Stephen D. Williamson (2018): Macroeconomics (publisher website).

BA and MA Thesis Guidelines, Writing Tips

I supervise theses that focus on macroeconomic questions, use models to answer them, and are written in English or German. If you are interested in writing your thesis with me please follow these steps:

  1. Contact me by e-mail to check whether I can act as your thesis supervisor. Attach your grade sheet and sketch very briefly what type of questions you are interested in. 
  2. Once we have agreed that I act as supervisor prepare a one- or two-page proposal outlining as concisely and precisely as possible, what your research question is; what kind of model you plan to use in order to answer the question; and what kind of results you anticipate.
  3. We will discuss your proposal and you might revise it until we have a common understanding of the research question and the strategy to answer it. We also agree on a rough timeline.
  4. Then you are free to go. It’s up to you how often you get back to me with questions.

(No) rules:

  • I do not impose strict time limits or minimum/maximum length requirements etc. Ceteris paribus, completing the thesis faster or composing a shorter text is preferred.
  • I don’t require a hardcopy of the thesis, a PDF suffices.
  • I strongly suggest that you work with LaTeX; this allows you to focus on content rather than layout (and it nevertheless results in a more appealing end product).
  • Of course, all formal requirements set by the faculty or the university apply.

The grade accounts for the following:

  • Language and presentation: Extent to which grammar, wording, terminology and bibliography are correct, clear, consistent.
  • Personal contribution: Extent to which thesis writer acts independently when choosing the topic, preparing the proposal, and working on the thesis.
  • Topic: Extent to which the research question is relevant, challenging and focused.
  • Depth: Extent to which the thesis thoroughly analyzes the topic.
  • Structure: Extent to which the presentation conforms with logical reasoning and to which formal analysis and verbal reasoning correspond to each other.
  • Model: Extent to which the model focuses on key aspects of interest and is solved correctly.
  • Literature: Extent to which the author relates the work to relevant existing literature.
  • Of course, BA students are not expected to deliver publishable research; it is all the more important that the thesis meets formal standards and the reasoning is clear and logical.

I typically grade within a few days.

Some advice on how to do research, write and present:

Updated September 2022

“Asset Pricing, r versus g, and Modern Monetary Theory: How Much Debt Can Governments Issue?,” Bern, Spring 2022

BA seminar at the University of Bern.

Uni Bern’s official course page:

  • The seminar targets students who have completed their mandatory training in microeconomics, macroeconomics and mathematics (i.e., students in the second half of their BA studies) and who are interested in modern macroeconomic theory.
  • We analyze arguments according to which the government does, or does not face an intertemporal budget constraint. What does the literature on asset pricing, rational bubbles, or the fiscal theory of the price level have to say? Why does the difference between the interest rate and the growth rate matter? Does “Modern Monetary Theory” add anything to these insights?
  • We start by reviewing standard economic models (c. 3 classes). Thereafter, students read contributions to the literature, summarize them and present their summaries in class.
  • There is a maximum of 12 participants, first-come-first-served (according to date of registration on KSL).
  • Meetings: Tuesday, 12.15 – 14.00 h.
  • Syllabus: PDF.

“Economic Challenges in Switzerland (and beyond),” Bern, Spring 2022

BA course at the University of Bern.

Uni Bern’s official course page:

  • The course targets students who have completed their mandatory training in microeconomics, macroeconomics and mathematics (i.e., students in the second half of their BA studies) and who are interested in modern macroeconomic theory. The objective of the course is threefold: Students should learn to think analytically, like economists do; they should understand select tools of modern macroeconomic theory; and they should learn to apply the tools and the economic reasoning to frame and understand policy issues in Switzerland and beyond.
  • We start by discussing a couple of macroeconomic policy topics at the level a newspaper would cover them. Based on this review we identify topics that are of most interest to the students and the lecturer. Collaboratively, we determine steps to analyze them more carefully and deeply and we execute these steps. Topics might include, for example, growth; monetary and fiscal policy; crypto-currencies; CBDC; government debt; sovereign debt crises; exchange rates; inequality; etc.
  • The students drive the selection of topics and the analytical discussion in class—active participation is key!—while the lecturer guides the discussion and introduces tools where adequate. In small groups the students focus on a specific aspect of a topic, prepare a short note on it, and present it in class.
  • The course grade is a weighted average of the grade for the student’s participation in class and the grade for the group’s note/presentation. There is no exam unless participation is very weak.
  • We will meet during most weeks of the semester, with interruptions when the groups need time to prepare their notes/presentations.
  • Lecture: Monday, 10.15 – 12.00 h.
  • Topics for group work: PDF.

“Fiscal and Monetary Policies,” Bern, Spring 2022

MA course at the University of Bern.

Uni Bern’s official course page:

  • This course covers macroeconomic theories of fiscal policy (including tax and debt policy) and the interaction between fiscal and monetary policy. Participants should be familiar with the material covered in the course Macroeconomics II. The course grade reflects the final exam grade.
  • Monday, 12.15 – 14.00 h
  • 1st exam: Monday, May 30, 2022, 12.15 – 14.00h
  • 2nd exam: Monday, September 12, 2022, 12.15 – 14.00h

The classes follow selected chapters in the textbook Macroeconomic Analysis (MIT Press, 2019) and build on the material covered in the macro II course which follows the same text. Table of contents of the book. Page with more information about the book and exercises.

Main contents:

  1. Concepts.
  2. RA model with government spending and taxes.
  3. Government debt in RA model.
  4. Government debt and social security in OLG model.
  5. Neutrality results.
  6. Consolidated government budget constraint.
  7. Fiscal effects on inflation. Game of chicken.
  8. FTPL. Active and passive policies.
  9. Tax smoothing.
  10. Time consistent policy.
  11. Sovereign debt.

“Macroeconomics II,” Bern, Fall 2021

MA course at the University of Bern.

Time: Wed 10-12. Location: A-126 UniS. Course assistant: Stefano Corbellini.

The course introduces Master students to modern macroeconomic theory. Building on the analysis of the consumption-saving tradeoff and on concepts from general equilibrium theory, the course covers workhorse general equilibrium models of modern macroeconomics, including the representative agent framework, the overlapping generations model, and the Lucas tree model. Lectures follow chapters 1–4 (possibly 5) in this book.

SARS-COV 2: Until further notice the course is offered on-site. It is our joint responsibility to reduce the risk of infection in class. Only students who satisfy two criteria should attend class: (i) They should not feel ill and (ii) they should be fully vaccinated or should recently have recovered from an infection or should have very recently tested negative. Students who do not satisfy (i) and (ii) should follow the class via podcast.

“Fiscal and Monetary Policies,” Bern, Spring 2021

MA course at the University of Bern.

The classes follow selected chapters in the textbook Macroeconomic Analysis (MIT Press, 2019) and build on the material covered in the macro II course which follows the same text. Table of contents of the book. Page with more information about the book and exercises. Uni Bern’s official course page. Zoom link is posted on ILIAS page.

Main contents:

  1. Concepts.
  2. RA model with government spending and taxes.
  3. Government debt in RA model.
  4. Government debt and social security in OLG model.
  5. Neutrality results.
  6. Consolidated government budget constraint.
  7. Fiscal effects on inflation. Game of chicken.
  8. FTPL. Active and passive policies.
  9. Tax smoothing.
  10. Time consistent policy.
  11. Sovereign debt.

Reading List on ‘Free’ or ‘Not-so-free’ Public Debt

Risk, Discounting, and Dynamic Efficiency

In the presence of risk, a comparison of the risk-free interest rate and the expected growth rate is insufficient to assess whether an economy is dynamically efficient or inefficient. Stochastic discount factors—not risk-free interest rates—enter the government’s budget constraint, even if debt is safe.

These points are made, for example, by Andrew Abel, N. Gregory Mankiw, Lawrence Summers, and Richard Zeckhauser (Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence, REStud 56(1), 1989),

the issue of dynamic efficiency can be resolved by comparing the level of investment with the cash flows generated by production after the payment of wages … dynamic efficiency cannot be assessed by comparing the safe rate of interest and the average growth rate of the capital stock, output, or any other accounting aggregate,

or Henning Bohn (The Sustainability of Budget Deficits in a Stochastic Economy, JMCB 27(1), 1995),

discounting at the safe interest rate is usually incorrect. … popular fiscal policy “indicators” like deficit levels or debt-GNP ratios may provide very little information about sustainability. … the intertemporal budget constraint imposes very few restrictions on the average primary balance.

Recent work in which these themes appear include papers by Zhengyang Jiang, Hanno Lustig, Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, and Mindy Xiaolan (Manufacturing Risk-free Government Debt, NBER wp 27786, 2020), Robert Barro (r Minus g, NBER wp 28002, 2020), or Stan Olijslagers, Nander de Vette, and Sweder van Wijnbergen (Debt Sustainability when r−g<0: No Free Lunch after All, CEPR dp 15478, 2020).

Intergenerational Risk Sharing

With overlapping generations the way the government manages its debt has implications for intergenerational risk sharing, see for example Henning Bohn (Risk Sharing in a Stochastic Overlapping Generations Economy, mimeo, 1998), Robert Shiller (Social Security and Institutions for Intergenerational, Intragenerational, and International Risk Sharing, Carnegie-Rochester Conference on Public Policy 50, 1999), or Gabrielle Demange (On Optimality of Intergenerational Risk Sharing, Economic Theory 20(1), 2002).

Long-Run Debt Dynamics and Fiscal Space

Dmitriy Sergeyev and Neil Mehrotra (Debt Sustainability in a Low Interest World, CEPR dp 15282, 2020) offer an analysis of long-run debt dynamics under the assumption that the primary surplus systematically, and strongly responds to the debt-to-GDP ratio such that the government’s intertemporal budget constraint is necessarily satisfied:

Population growth and productivity growth have opposing effects on the debt-to-GDP ratio due to their opposing effects on the real interest rate. Lower population growth leaves the borrowing rate unchanged while directly lowering output growth, shifting the average debt-to-GDP ratio higher. By contrast, when the elasticity of intertemporal substitution is less than one, a decline in productivity growth has a more than a one-for-one effect on the real interest rate, lowering the cost of servicing the debt and thereby reducing the average debt-to-GDP ratio. To the extent that higher uncertainty accounts for low real interest rates, we find that
the variance of the log debt-to-GDP ratio unambiguously increases with higher output
uncertainty. However, uncertainty also has an effect on the mean debt-to-GDP ratio that
depends on the coefficient of relative risk aversion. Higher uncertainty lowers the real
interest rate but this effect may be outweighed by an Ito’s lemma term due to Jensen’s
inequality that works in the opposite direction.

Sergeyev and Mehrotra also consider the effects of rare disasters as well as of a maximum primary surplus which implies that debt becomes defaultable and the interest rate on debt features an endogenous risk premium, generating the possibility of a “tipping point” with a slow moving debt crises as in Guido Lorenzoni and Ivan Werning (Slow Moving Debt Crises, AER 109(9), 2019).

Ricardo Reis (The Constraint on Public Debt when r<g But g<m, mimeo, 2020) analyzes a non-stochastic framework under the assumption that the marginal product of capital, m, exceeds the growth rate, g, which in turn exceeds the risk-free interest rate, r. Reis considers the case where m is the relevant discount rate, for example because r features a liquidity premium:

there is still a meaningful government budget constraint once future surpluses and debt are discounted by the marginal product of capital.

He shows the following:

  • The debt due to a one-time primary deficit can be rolled over indefinitely and disappears asymptotically as long as r<g.
  • With permanent primary deficits that grow at the same rate as debt and output, the government’s intertemporal budget constraint features a bubble component due to r<m. This corresponds to the usual seignorage revenue measure (see p. 173 in Niepelt, Macroeconomic Analysis, 2019).
  • Suppose that from tomorrow on, the primary deficit and debt quotas are given by d and b, respectively. Then, the present value of total net revenues in the government’s budget constraint equals [- d + (m – r)*b] / (m-g). Both m>g and g>r relax the constraint, as does a lower r.
  • Along a balanced growth path, b = [- d + (m – r)*b] / (m-g) and thus, d = (g-r)*b where d is assumed to be positive. Reis argues that b cannot be larger than total assets relative to GDP. Accordingly, the deficit cannot exceed total assets times (g-r).

Reis concludes that most of the bubble component “has already been used.” In addition to developing a model that yields m>g>r in equilibrium he also discusses the role of inflation (stable inflation generates fiscal space because it renders debt safer and thus increases demand for debt) and inequality (more inequality increases fiscal space).

Blanchard’s Presidential Address

In his presidential address, Olivier Blanchard (Public Debt and Low Interest Rates, AER 109(4), 2019) argues that the risk-free interest rate has fallen short of average US growth rate (and similarly, in other countries). Importantly—and implicitly addressing Abel, Mankiw, Summers, Zeckhauser, and Bohn (see above)—he also argues that risk is not that much of an issue as far as the sustainability of public debt is concerned:

Jensen’s inequality is thus not an issue here. In short, if we assume that the future will be like the past (admittedly a big if), debt rollovers appear feasible. While the debt ratio may increase for some time due to adverse shocks to growth or positive shocks to the interest rate, it will eventually decrease over time. In other words, higher debt may not imply a higher fiscal cost.

Most of his formal analysis doesn’t focus on debt though. Instead he analyzes the effects of risk-free social security transfers from young to old in a stochastic OLG economy. (There are close parallels between debt and such transfers to the old that are financed by contemporaneous taxes on the young.) In a steady-state with very low interest rates higher transfers have two effects on welfare, by (i) providing an attractive substitute for savings and by (ii) reducing capital accumulation and thereby lowering wages and raising the interest rate. If the economy initially is dynamically inefficient both effects are welfare improving because (i) capital accumulation with a low return is replaced by higher yielding intergenerational transfers and (ii) lower wages and higher interest rates are attractive, starting from a situation with a low interest rate. In a stochastic economy the first channel yields welfare gains as long as the growth rate exceeds the risk-free rate, and the second channel yields welfare gains (approximately) when the growth rate exceeds the marginal product of capital. Blanchard argues

[b]e this as it may, the analysis suggests that the welfare effects of a transfer may not necessarily be adverse, or, if adverse, may not be very large.

In the corresponding case with debt there is another effect because the intergenerational transfer is not risk-free; the size of this additional effect depends on the path of the risk-free interest rates (Blanchard assumes that the debt level is stabilized which requires net tax payments by the young to reflect the contemporaneous risk-free rate). In the slightly different case where debt is increased once and then rolled over, without adjusting taxes in the future, the sustainability and welfare implications are ambiguous and critically depend on the production function:

In the linear case, debt rollovers typically do not fail [my emphasis] and welfare is increased throughout. For the generation receiving the initial transfer associated with debt issuance, the effect is clearly positive and large. For later generations, while they are, at the margin, indifferent between holding safe debt or risky capital, the inframarginal gains (from a less risky portfolio) imply slightly larger utility. But the welfare gain is small … . In the Cobb-Douglas case however, this positive effect is more than offset by the price effect, and while welfare still goes up for the first generation (by 2 percent), it is typically negative thereafter. In the case of successful debt rollovers, the average adverse welfare cost decreases as debt decreases over time. In the case of unsuccessful rollovers, the adjustment implies a larger welfare loss when it happens. If we take the Cobb-Douglas example to be more representative, are these Ponzi gambles, as Ball, Elmendorf, and Mankiw (1998) have called them, worth it from a welfare viewpoint? This clearly depends on the relative weight the policymaker puts on the utility of different generations [my emphasis].

Blanchard argues that the marginal product of capital may be smaller than commonly assumed, implying that it is more likely that the welfare effects working through (ii) are positive (those working through (i) are very likely positive). Finally, he also presents some additional potential arguments pro and con higher public debt.

Blanchard’s work has attracted substantial criticism, for instance at the January 2020 ASSA meetings (see this previous post). In a short paper presented at the meetings, Johannes Brumm, Laurence Kotlikoff, and Felix Kubler (Leveraging Posterity’s Prosperity?) point out that a negative difference between average interest and growth rates is not necessarily indicative of dynamic inefficiency (see the discussion above) and that Blanchard’s analysis disregards tax distortions as well as the welfare effects from intergenerational risk sharing (again, see above):

To see the distinction between risk-sharing and a Ponzi scheme, modify B’s two-period model to include agents working when old if they don’t randomly become disabled. Now workers face second-period asset income and labor earnings risk. The government has no safe asset in which to invest. If it borrows, invests in capital, and taxes bond holders its excess return, “safe” debt is identical to risky capital. But if the net taxes are only levied on the non-disabled, bonds become a valued risk-mitigating asset and their return can be driven far below zero. This scheme could be, and to some extend it is, implemented through progressive taxation. If, observing this gap between growth and safe rates, the government decides to institute an “efficient” Ponzi scheme with a fixed pension benefit financed on a pay-go basis by taxes on workers, net wages when young will be more variable, raising generation-specific risk and potentially producing an outcome in which no generation is better off and at least one is worse off.

Brumm, Kotlikoff, and Kubler also note that the effective interest rate at which US households are borrowing is much higher than the borrowing rate of the government; this undermines Blanchard’s approach to gauge the welfare implications. And they point out that the scheme suggested by Blanchard could harm other countries by reducing global investment.

Jasmina Hasanhodzic (Simulating the Blanchard Conjecture in a Multi-Period Life-Cycle Model) simulates a richer OLG model and rejects the Blanchard conjecture of Pareto gains due to higher transfers:

It shows that the safe rate on government debt can, on average, be far less than the economy’s growth rate without its implying that ongoing redistribution from the young to the old is Pareto improving. Indeed, in a 10-period, OLG, CGE model, whose average safe rate averages negative 2 percent on an annual basis, welfare losses to future generations resulting from the introduction of pay-go Social Security, financed with a 15 percent payroll tax, are enormous—roughly 20 percent measured as a compensating variation relative to no policy.

Relative to Blanchard’s simulations, her model implies more negative consequences of crowding out on wages, a higher tax burden from the transfer scheme, and more induced old-age consumption risk.

Michael Boskin (How, When and Why Deficits Are Dangerous) offers a broad discussion of potential weaknesses of Blanchard’s analysis. Richard Evens (Public Debt, Interest Rates, and Negative Shocks) questions Blanchard’s simulations on calibration grounds and notes that he couldn’t replicate some of Blanchard’s findings.

On his blog, John Cochrane argues along similar lines as Ricardo Reis: Even if r<g, expected primary deficits are so large that debt quotas will explode nevertheless.

Olivier Blanchard on Markus’ Academy.

More work by Johannes Brumm, Xiangyu Feng, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, and Felix Kubler: When Interest Rates Go Low, Should Public Debt Go High? (NBER working paper 28951), and Deficit Follies (28952).

Note: This post was updated several times.

“Macroeconomics II,” Bern, Fall 2020

MA course at the University of Bern.

Time: Wed 10-12. KSL course site. Course assistant: Armando Näf.

The course introduces Master students to modern macroeconomic theory. Building on the analysis of the consumption-saving tradeoff and on concepts from general equilibrium theory, the course covers workhorse general equilibrium models of modern macroeconomics, including the representative agent framework, the overlapping generations model, and possibly the Lucas tree model. Lectures follow chapters 1–4 (possibly 5) in this book.

PDF copy of what I scribbled in class.

“Fiscal and Monetary Policies,” Bern, Spring 2020

MA course at the University of Bern.

The classes follow selected chapters in the textbook Macroeconomic Analysis (MIT Press, 2019) and build on the material covered in the macro II course which follows the same text. Table of contents of the book. Uni Bern’s official course page.

Main contents:

  1. Concepts.
  2. RA model with government spending and taxes.
  3. Government debt in RA model.
  4. Government debt and social security in OLG model.
  5. Neutrality results.
  6. Consolidated government budget constraint.
  7. Fiscal effects on inflation. Game of chicken.
  8. FTPL. Active and passive policies.
  9. Tax smoothing.
  10. Time consistent policy.
  11. Sovereign debt.

“Macroeconomics II,” Bern, Fall 2019

MA course at the University of Bern.

Time: Wed 10-12. KSL course site. Course assistant: Christian Wipf.

The course introduces Master students to modern macroeconomic theory. Building on the analysis of the consumption-saving tradeoff and on concepts from general equilibrium theory, the course covers workhorse general equilibrium models of modern macroeconomics, including the representative agent framework, the overlapping generations model, and possibly the Lucas tree model. Lectures follow chapters 1–4 (possibly 5) in these notes.

“Fiscal and Monetary Policies,” Bern, Spring 2019

MA course at the University of Bern.

The classes follow these notes and build on the material covered in the macro II course. Uni Bern’s official course page. The course TA is Lukas Völlmy.

Main contents:

  1. Concepts.
  2. RA model with government spending and taxes.
  3. Government debt in RA model.
  4. Government debt and social security in OLG model.
  5. Neutrality results.
  6. Consolidated government budget constraint.
  7. Fiscal effects on inflation. Game of chicken.
  8. FTPL. Active and passive policies.
  9. Tax smoothing.
  10. Time consistent policy.
  11. Sovereign debt.

“Macroeconomics II,” Bern, Fall 2018

MA course at the University of Bern.

Time: Wed 10-12. KSL course site. Course assistant: Lukas Voellmy.

The course introduces Master students to modern macroeconomic theory. Building on the analysis of the consumption-saving trade off and on concepts from general equilibrium theory, the course covers workhorse general equilibrium models of modern macroeconomics, including the representative agent framework, the overlapping generations model, and possibly the Lucas tree model. Lectures follow chapters 1–4 (possibly 5) in this text and appendix.

“Fiscal and Monetary Policies,” Bern, Spring 2018

MA course at the University of Bern.

The classes follow chapters 11–13 in this text (updated: April 5) and build on the material covered in chapters 1–5. Uni Bern’s official course page. The course TA is Christian Myohl.

Main contents:

  1. Concepts.
  2. RA model with government spending and taxes.
  3. Government debt in RA model.
  4. Government debt and social security in OLG model.
  5. Neutrality results.
  6. Consolidated government budget constraint.
  7. Fiscal effects on inflation. Game of chicken.
  8. FTPL. Active and passive policies.
  9. Primal and dual approach.
  10. Tax smoothing.
  11. Time consistent policy.

“Macroeconomics II,” Bern, Fall 2017

MA course at the University of Bern.

Time: Wed 10-12. KSL course site. Course assistant: Christian Myohl.

The course introduces Master students to modern macroeconomic theory. Building on the analysis of the consumption-saving trade off and on concepts from general equilibrium theory, the course covers workhorse general equilibrium models of modern macroeconomics, including the representative agent framework, the overlapping generations model, and possibly the Lucas tree model. Lectures follow chapters 1–4 (possibly 5) in this text.

“Fiscal and Monetary Policies,” Bern, Spring 2017

MA course at the University of Bern.

The classes follow chapters 11–13 in this text (updated April 12, 2017) and build on the material covered in chapters 1–5. Uni Bern’s official course page. The course TA is Christian Myohl.

Main contents:

  1. Concepts.
  2. RA model with government spending and taxes.
  3. Government debt in RA model.
  4. Government debt and social security in OLG model.
  5. Neutrality results.
  6. Consolidated government budget constraint.
  7. Fiscal effects on inflation. Game of chicken.
  8. FTPL. Active and passive policies.
  9. Primal and dual approach.
  10. Tax smoothing.
  11. Time consistent policy.

“Fiscal and Monetary Policies,” Bern, Spring 2016

MA course at the University of Bern.

The classes follow section 5 in these notes and build on the material covered in section 2. Uni Bern’s official course page.

Main contents of lectures:

  1. Concepts. RA model with government spending and taxes.
  2. RA model: Equilibrium with lump sum or distorting taxes.
  3. Government debt in RA model.
  4. Government debt and social security in OLG model.
  5. Consolidated government budget constraint [2 lectures].
  6. Neutrality results in CIA model.
  7. Game of chicken. FTPL. Active and passive policies.
  8. Tax smoothing (Barro 1979).
  9. Tax smoothing (Lucas and Stokey 1983) [2 lectures].
  10. Time consistent tax policy (Lucas and Stokey 1983).
  11. Time consistent debt policy: Sovereign debt.
  12. Time consistent monetary policy (Barro and Gordon 1983) [time permitting].

“Fiscal and Monetary Policies,” Bern, Spring 2015

MA course at the University of Bern.

The classes follow section 5 in these notes and build on the material covered in section 2. Uni Bern’s official course page.

Update (April 22, 2015)—Main contents of lectures:

  1. Concepts. RA model with government spending and taxes.
  2. RA model: Equilibrium with lump sum or distorting taxes.
  3. Government debt in RA model.
  4. Government debt and social security in OLG model.
  5. Consolidated government budget constraint [2 lectures].
  6. Neutrality results in CIA model.
  7. Game of chicken. FTPL. Active and passive policies.
  8. Tax smoothing (Barro 1979).
  9. Tax smoothing (Lucas and Stokey 1983) [2 lectures].
  10. Time consistent tax policy (Lucas and Stokey 1983).
  11. Time consistent debt policy: Sovereign debt.
  12. Time consistent monetary policy (Barro and Gordon 1983) [time permitting].