25555: Macroeconomic theory and applications

oatsandsugar —  January 28, 2011 — Leave a comment

This subject was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  I was lulled into a false sense of security by how easy the first few lectures were and how easy the tutorial work was and how little work there seemed to be.

Bitch-slapped by macroeconomics

The introductory lecture: sweet, just high school economics definitions.

The first few weeks: easy, building up a more complex version of the simple Keynesian model of nation income.

But then they sneak in the difficult stuff, without warning.  Suddenly, you are deriving the IS and LM curves and applying economic policies to different versions of these lines.  Actually, that’s not even the hard part: these curves are easy to derive and easy to apply theory to.  Because they make sense economically, mathematically and graphically.

It gets complicated when we get to the AD/AS model.  There just seemed to be too many assumptions here, the graphs all made sense but there weren’t enough equations; there seemed to be too many gaps for it to click for me.  The rest is all a bit muddy.

The upside is, you can do really well in this subject!  The assignment is great: it is early on, it is a group assignments, it is fartsy and it is worth a lot of marks.  Because the assignment is so early in the semester, it proves easy to catch marks, not too much complex economics, more media/current event analysis.  I had a terrific group, we delegated work well and all did what we had to, though me and my friend Shammy were up all night editing, as you do.  So we did well, a distinction gave us a leg up on the semester: 25555Ast.

The mid-semester exam is easy, you only really need the complex Keynesian model (with all the new variables) and the IS/LM model, which is manageable: 25555MidsemNotes.

There’s a lot of content we learn after the mid-semester exam that is hardly examinable: most of the marks in the exam are on the first few weeks of content.  The multiple choice questions can be about anything, but they tend to be fine if you have shallow knowledge of all the topics.  The calculations, which make up a lot of marks, tend to be about the complex Keynesian model from the first few weeks, the IS/LM model and something weird like exchange rates or inflation.  So the calculations are quite easy as well.  At least one of the 4 essays (of which you have to choose 2) will be about  the IS/LM model.  So, really, the last half of the subject is only uniquely examinable in one essay and a few multiple choice questions.  For the exam, I used my mid-semester exam notes and the slides from lectures 8-11, along with some of my mates’ notes (available on request).

I finished the subject with an intimate knowledge of the first 6 lectures, and enough knowledge of the rest of the subject to get by.  This was enough to scrape a high credit, so, as hard as this subject looks, it is definitely manageable.

For this subject, I also made some wicked Adobe Illustrator graphs and diagrams which you can see at this flickr set that I made, and which I can send to you in SVG or Illustrator formats.

The textbook for this subject is a bit useless, don’t waste your money on it.  If you need it in a pinch, borrow it from the library.  It is structured differently to the subject and, as such, can be confusing.  I relied on lecture notes, slides, peer notes and online resources for my study.




LLM candidate at Cornell Tech. Consultant for King & Wood Mallesons and Project Evangelist for Legalese.

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