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Macroeconomics for a Sustainable Planet

SDG Academy

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Unemployment. Inflation. Protectionism. Economic bubble. Debt. Fiscal deficit. These are not just terms in an economics textbook; these are real-life challenges that are dominating the media and that carry major societal implications. We are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before in history, and in the 21st century, the thoughtful study of macroeconomics needs to consider another crucial factor: sustainable development.

Traditionally considered externalities or by-products of the global economic engine, environmental degradation and the erosion of social capital have a drastic and direct effect on the capacity of the planet to thrive economically. Macroeconomics for a Sustainable Planet is an exploration of traditional macroeconomic principles and tools updated for the age of sustainable development and the current wave of globalization. The course is led by two leading economic minds, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and Economics at Columbia University and senior UN advisor, and Professor Felipe Larraín, former Minister of Finance of Chile and Professor of Economics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Over the course of 13 weeks, Professors Sachs and Larraín will explore the different macroeconomic “pathologies” at play in the modern day global economy, drawing from the lessons and experiences of the past and incorporating the significant biophysical pressures facing the planet today. Is a thriving global economy possible in an equitable and environmentally thoughtful way? Join us as we delve into the new macroeconomic toolkit that is needed to answer that question.


1. Introduction to Macroeconomics
1.1 Introduction to Macroeconomics
1.2 Macroeconomic Pathologies
1.3A 21st Century Perspectives on Macroeconomics
1.3B International Comparisons of Income (PPP)
1.4 GDP & Well-Being

2A. Output Determination & Employment
2.1 The Full-Employment Economy
2.2A Deriving GDP | Part I
2.2B Deriving GDP | Part II
2.3A Labor & Saving | Part I
2.3B Labor & Saving | Part II

2B. Output Determination & Employment
2.4 Economic Growth
2.5 Partial-Employment Economy
2.6 Focus on Business Cycles
2.7 The Basics of Aggregate Demand Management
2.8 Three Big Problems with Aggregate Demand Management
2.9 Output Determination in the IS-LM Model

3. Labor Markets
3.1 Labor Markets, Concepts, Definitions & Groups
3.2 Labor Market Institutions: Minimum Wages, Unionization & Contracts
3.3 Costs of Unemployment, Digitization of Labor Markets, Informality & Underemployment

4. Money & Central Banking
4.1 Money vs. Barter: History & Concepts
4.2 Money Demand
4.3 Money Supply & the Role of the Central Bank
4.4 The Central Bank & New Approaches to Monetary Policy

5. Exchange Rate Themes
5.1 Exchange Rate Arrangements
5.2 PPP & Interest Rate Arbitrage
5.3 The Real Exchange Rate & the Role of Non-Traded Goods
5.4 Monetary Policy Under Fixed & Floating Exchange Rates
5.5 Currency Crises

6. Financial Markets & Financial Crises
6.1A Bank Runs & Panics | Part I
6.1B Bank Runs & Panics | Part II
6.2 How to Prevent Bank Runs
6.3 Bubbles & Crashes
6.4 Managing Insolvencies
6.5 What Happens When Governments Go Broke?

7. Inflation, Unemployment & Stabilization
7.1 Inflation, the Fiscal Deficit & Seigniorage
7.2 The Costs of Inflation
7.3 Inflation, Unemployment & the Phillips Curve
7.4 Stabilization Themes

8. Consumption, Saving & Investment
8.1 Consumption, Saving & the Intertemporal Budget Constraint
8.2 The Permanent Income Consumption Theory
8.3 The Life Cycle Model of Consumption & Saving
8.4 Investment
8.5 The Basic Theory of Business Investment

9. Fiscal Policy and Institutions
9.1 The Budget, Public Revenues & Expenditures
9.2 Saving, Investment, the Fiscal Deficit & the Management of Public Debt
9.3 Interactions Between the Public & Private Sectors
9.4 Fiscal Institutions & Policies

10. Open Economy Issues
10.1 The Aggregate Demand in an Open Economy
10.2 Aggregate Demand with a Flexible Exchange Rate
10.3 Aggregate Demand with a Fixed Exchange Rate
10.4 The Current Account & External Indebtedness
10.5 The Intertemporal Budget Constraint of a Country

11. Economic Growth
11.1 Economic Growth in History, Patterns & Sectors
11.2 Sources of Economic Growth
11.3 Solow’s Growth Convergence Model
11.4 Growth & Inequality
11.5 Growth Traps

12. Globalization
12.1 What is Globalization?
12.2 Development of the Global Economic System
12.3 Globalization of Population Systems
12.4 Crises of Poverty & Inequality
12.5 The Challenge of Sustainable Development

Taught by

Jeffrey Sachs

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