Economic Growth


Class purpose

This class will explore the determinants of economic growth in the long run, as opposed to fluctuations in economic growth due to business cycles. It will dig deeper into questions you may have studied in intermediate macroeconomics (Econ 3334), which is a prerequisite. You can see the exact topics we will discuss below in the course content section.

Class mechanics

This class meets M/W from 1-2:30pm. All materials for this course are located on Blackboard. All announcements for this course will be through Blackboard. Please check that you are receiving updates from Blackboard.

A lot of the reading material for this course is located on a blog/site that I run called, with no effort at being original, the Growth Economic Blog. On that site is a page called Topics, which has a set of collected links to my own posts as well as other outside writers.

There is a textbook. Jones and Vollrath, Introduction to Economic Growth, which you can get from Amazon. It also comes in an e-version that is cheaper. We will use this mainly for reference. So while you need it for class, I would recommend sharing a copy with someone.

Class requirements

There are twelve assignments, two midterms, and a final exam or paper.

  1. Assignments (55%): You will receive a new assignment every Wednesday during class, except for the days we have tests scheduled. Part of the class time each Wednesday will be allocated to working on the assignment, so you can ask questions. Many of them you will be able to complete during that time. All assignments must be turned in via Blackboard - which means you will need to scan them and upload them. PLEASE upload these as a PDF. Do not use image files (JPG or PNG). Each assignment is due prior to class on the following Monday. No assignment will be accepted after after 1pm on Monday, unless you have prior permission from me. There will be 12 total assigments. Your best 11 scores count towards your grade. Each assignment is graded out of 5 points.

  2. Midterms (30%): There are two midterms (Wednesday, Feb 28th and Monday, April 30th), each 15% of your grade. The second covers only material after the first midterm. The midterms are a combination of multiple choice, short answer, and several longer questions. The midterms are closed book and note. If you have attended class and done the assignments, these will be straightforward.

  3. Final (15%): This is May 9th, from 2-5pm. You have two options for the final. First, you can take a final exam, which consists of both short and long answer questions. The final exam is open book and note. The test is written with this in mind. Second, you can write a final paper. I will distribute full details on the final paper requirements later in the semester, but it will have to be on one of the topics I’ve pre-selected, you will have to show proof that you met with the Writing Center regarding your paper, and it is due at the same time as the final exam is held. No late final papers will be accepted, unless you have prior approval.

Class content

Each week has a rough theme, and while I believe this plan will work out, we may have to reoptimize during the semester. For each week, after the description of the topic we’ll cover you’ll see several sub-points. One is the assignment that will be explained and worked on that Wednesday. The rest are links to posts by me (no author listed), or posts by others (author last name listed). You should read these prior to class on Monday. I will lecture assuming you have read them. Most of them are short and non-technical. Finally, when appropriate there is a reference to the textbook chapters that are associated with the material for that week. This you should skim ahead of time, and can use later to study or work on the assignment.

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