The Economics of Crises

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Economics of Crises

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The objective of the course is to introduce students to the difference between different types of crises, such as the present one (caused by an exogenous event, a pandemic) and the 2008-2012 (that was caused by a financial bubble). To do so, we review theory and practice of
    macroeconomic, fiscal and monetary policy, including regulation of the financial system.
    Specific learning outcomes upon completion of this course are:
    • Ability to set the present pandemic in a broader contest (damage to health and the economy), evaluating policies to restore public health
    and economic activities;
    • Ability to apply macroeconomic concepts and theories to analyse problems of employment and inflation and measurement of Business Cycles;
    • Capability to analyse the role of macroeconomic policymakers in managing money, banking and the business cycles;
    • An understanding of the policy problems facing central banks, with a focus on monetary policy;
    • An understanding of the policy problems facing governments, with a focus on fiscal policy;
    • Understand the origin economic crises, mostly if exogenous (corona crisis) or debt driven (financial crisis), and the effects of fiscal and
    monetary policy.

    The course discusses Macroeconomic policies intended to affect and dampen the business cycles linked to a crisis. We discuss the roles of different authorities in conducting macroeconomic policies aimed at preventing a crisis or at restoring the economic activity after a crisis
    hits. Relevant topics are for instance: money creation, control of the interest rates, central banking and the stabilizing role of fiscal
    policy with a specific focus on health care expenditures. We investigate the origin and approach to the corona crisis and the previous (financial) crisis looking at these issues from different perspectives. So, for the present crisis, we debate mostly the policy response of national governments, the ECB and the EU. For the previous crisis we discuss the common narrative (the banks were guilty) but also
    the micro view on the role of indebtedness (we did it!). Which explanations will convince you the most?

    Lectures and tutorials in small groups

     30% from hand-in assignments, 70% from written exam

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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