Business Cycles and Stabilization Policy

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Business Cycles and Stabilization Policy

  • 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 you to the theory and practice of macroeconomic and monetary policy, including regulation of the financial system. This course is complementary to the parallel course of Structural Policy. It is highly recommended to take both courses.

    Specific learning outcomes upon completion of this course are:

    • Ability to apply macroeconomic concepts and theories to analyze problems of employment and inflation;
    • Capability to analyze the role macroeconomic policymakers in managing business cycles;
    • An understanding of the policy problems facing central banks;
    • Ability to interpret recent macroeconomic empirical work on economic crises and the effects of fiscal and monetary policy.

    The course starts with discussing the historical development of macroeconomic theories explaining the origin of business cycles:

    • Say’s law versus Malthus’ gluts;
    • The Great Depression and the Keynesian revolution: Keynes, Hicks, Modigliani, Samuelson;
    • Business cycle theory: Schumpeter, Austrians, Kuznets;
    • Recent financial crises.

    Next, the course continues with discussing the roles of different authorities in conducting macroeconomic policies. This part of the course includes the following topics:

    • Money: creation, control of the money supply, interest rates, bank reserves, securitization;
    • Central banking: Fed, ECB, independence, different targets; - Stabilizing role of Fiscal policy: automatic stabilizers, crowding out, budget deficits, effectiveness;
    • Stabilizing role of Monetary policy: Taylor rules, quantitative easing, liquidity trap, effectiveness;
    • The Debt-Driven Crisis: the Micro-explanation to the Great Recession.

    The course concludes with discussing recent empirical work on economic crises and the effects of fiscal and monetary policy. This course is the sequel to the course Development of Macroeconomic Thought and is suggested to be taken together with the course of Structural Policy that runs in parallel.

    Lectures, guest lectures and working groups

    Grade is average of problem sets (30 %) and written examination (70%), with written exam grade of at least 5.0. To those who participate into less than four compulsory tutorials and/or do not deliver their tutorial work, one point will be subtracted from the final grade.

    Basic knowledge of math and statistics, as provided in the academic core of any academic program at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam or equivalent.

    Development of Macroeconomic Thought

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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