The First Session (Continued)

Usually I don’t issue a blog for each half-session but, since the start of this semester has been punctuated by a holiday, I’ve made an exception!

Tomorrow ( Wednesday 9 Sep) at 9.00am London time we’ll pick up from where we left off – GDP data. Again, I cannot over-emphasise how important data gathering, analysis and interpretation are. The course is all about macro models. Good models need the best data we can muster; data are always imperfect but we should work hard to ensure that foundations are as solid as they can be. Without that, it’s just garbage in, garbage out.

So we shall start with a discussion on that US GDP exercise I left you with. Hopefully, you have used the opportunity to explore the joys of growth calculations, extracting numbers from FRED and brushing up on natural logs, exponentials, power terms, etc.

Unfortunately, getting and “cleaning” data are not the only obstacles to overcome before we get down to building our first model – the Solow growth template.

There are many other practical and conceptual hurdles concerning

  • Aggregation
  • Volatility (please have the chart below handy when we meet)
  • Revisions
  • Boundaries
  • Product quality
  • Happiness

Moreover, GDP is a handy single metric but it’s just a flow for a period of time. What about stocks and sustainability? These are massive issues for the 21st century brought into clear focus by pandemic and climate change challenges.

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow and hope you had a relaxing holiday.

8 Sep 2020

The First Session

Stephen Hannah

9.00-10.15AM Wednesday 2nd September

Attendance register to be taken

Laptop/smartphones/calculators/spreadsheets/pen & paper will be necessary for most classes

Physical: Bedford Square Room G07

Zoom: the link has been provided to you on NYU Classes and in your syllabus, already circulated (please check your NYU emails and the NYU Classes Announcements for this course)

Pre-Meeting Prep

Step #1

Go to the course website and read the Welcome post

Each week I add a further blog post providing a gentle introduction to the topics to be covered for the relevant, upcoming session

You do not require a password to read this material

Step #2

Please browse the course syllabus 

This became available on NYU Classes yesterday but is also directly viewable on the course website at (check out the Miscellany tab on the course website)

To follow up this link you will need a password which has been provided to you on NYU Classes (check recent announcements)

The password will also grant you access to the other sections of the website (Schedule, Assessments, Contact Details, etc)

Step #3

Try to do some preliminary reading.

Briefly scan the first chapter of the recommended Jones textbook (preferably the 5th edition but the 4th edition will do) and/or look at the Bureau of Economic Analysis primer on GDP. Undoubtedly you will have come across the concepts in Principles but it’s good practice to review and refresh.

Risk Assessment

Since this course is blended, I must always wear a mask in Bedford Square – including the classroom. This may seem strange for those joining me on Zoom for the 9.00-10.15am slots (virtual office hours are different, of course). Please be assured. I do know that Covid does not spread over the web; it’s just that I need to respect the safety and wishes of those joining the class in person.

So far, since the first lockdown ended, the resurgence of UK Covid cases has been gentle and not too threatening. However, winter is coming, so we cannot rule out circumstances that restrict my (and your) ability to follow the proposed timetable. As such, the course has been structured to enable an immediate switch from blended to online-only. So, when you get round to exploring the Course Website, you will see lots of hyperlinks to online articles, pre-recorded videos, pdf learning materials, worked exercises, completed quizzes, etc. There’s a lot there, far too much for immediate consumption. Better to think of it as a store cupboard – a cornucopia of just-in-case goodies, not advisable to eat all at once!

If you have any questions or concerns, please email me as soon as possible. Again, the email link is available in NYU Classes, in the firewalled section of the website and in the syllabus already circulated to you.

31 Aug 2020