November 13, 2003

Econ 101b: Fall 2003: Second Midterm Grades

Median scores on questions for the Econ 101b Second Midterm Exam:

  1. Flexible-Price Model and Flow of Funds: 19.3 out of 25.
  2. Sticky-Price Model and Aggregate Demand: 20.3 out of 25.
  3. Inflation, Unemployment, and the Phillips Curve: 11.6 out of 25.
  4. The Federal Reserve and Stabilization Policy:16.2 out of 25.

This has powerful implications for the grades. This means that the Professor DeLong who taught the sticky price module gets an A, the Professor DeLong who taught the flexible price module gets an A-, the Professor DeLong who taught the stabilization policy module gets a B...

... and the Professor DeLong who taught the Phillips curve module gets a D.

Now I need to figure out if I need to take one of my five remaining lectures and use it to do a Phillips curve review and summary--because I clearly did a very lousy job at teaching during those two and a half weeks.

*Sigh.*

And I only have five classes left. And I already have eight classes' worth of stuff I would like to cover.

On the other hand, I've already done 37.5 classroom hours for this course (and Rui Pedro Esteves has done 23). That 60.5 in-class contact hours so far, with another 12.5 to come not counting the pre-final exam review... Back when I was teaching at Harvard, we had 48 in-class contact hours per semester, tops.

Posted by DeLong at November 13, 2003 01:56 PM | TrackBack

Comments

I thought is was now called the "discredited Phillips curve" (because of Milton Friedman, someone else less famous to non economists than Firedman, and NAIRU). So my advice is, skip it.

Posted by: David Margolies on November 13, 2003 02:24 PM

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I guess that private schools are more efficient.

Posted by: Cal on November 13, 2003 02:36 PM

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According to Friedman it would be the
"expectations adjusted Phillips curve" - i.e.
the one that shifts around all the time so
that the long run Phillips curve is vertical
or backward sloping.

The "discredited Phillips curve" would be
according to Lucas or some rational expectations
guy.

Teaching about the Phillips curve in a macro
class is a little like teaching about the Yeti
in a biology class. Folks claim to have seen
it but there is no definitive proof of its existance.

radek

Posted by: radek on November 13, 2003 03:36 PM

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Damn that Emo Phillips! Always throwing the curve off.

Posted by: snore on November 13, 2003 05:00 PM

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Sounds like a behavioral forecasting seminar would connect investment and employment just fine...that is the spread you are trying to cover?

Posted by: Zack Lynch on November 13, 2003 06:56 PM

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Saw a Phillips demonstration at work this week, wasn't curved tho--flat screen. Maybe this explains why my 41 was a curved "B" in my 1st college econ class? We all figured our professor was emeritus, but that nobody had bothered to tell him.

Posted by: fouro on November 13, 2003 07:57 PM

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Saw a Phillips demonstration at work this week, wasn't curved tho--flat screen. Maybe this explains why my 41 was a curved "B" in my 1st college econ class? We all just figured our professor was emeritus, but that nobody had bothered to tell him.

Posted by: fouro on November 13, 2003 08:00 PM

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The Phillips curve is still credible?

Posted by: Jon Meltzer on November 13, 2003 08:04 PM

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Saw a Phillips demonstration at work this week, wasn't curved tho--flat screen. Maybe this explains why my 41 was a curved "B" in my 1st college econ class? We all just figured our professor was emeritus, but that nobody had bothered to tell him.

Posted by: fouro on November 13, 2003 10:02 PM

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Uhh, sorry. Obviously not an intentional 3-post. Odd, did okay grade-wise in CIS.

Posted by: fouro on November 13, 2003 10:09 PM

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Screw the Phillips curve.

Posted by: Skip Perry on November 13, 2003 11:14 PM

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Why not offer an optional review session for the Phillips curve? Sunday evening or somesuch. Granted, that would cut into your (and your students') weekend, but it wouldn't cut into the valuable remaining classroom time.

Posted by: John Y. on November 14, 2003 05:03 AM

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So, as an economist, you should already have thought of all the marginal this and marginal that implications, but just in case.... You should consider the possibility that, having taken your best shot on the Philips curve already, spending another session on it may not yield much. What would you say, better, in another 2 hours that your students have not already heard? Maybe giving them the best reading on Philips curve analysis not yet assigned (or pointing to the reading students already received but obviously didn't master) is a better choice. Lots of other stuff still to covery, you say? What sort of grade do you think you'll earn on not-yet-covered subjects?

Posted by: K Harris on November 14, 2003 08:29 AM

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"The Phillips curve is still credible?"

Believe they talk about the "short-run Phillips curve"

Posted by: Tom on November 14, 2003 09:55 AM

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Hmm... my biology teacher always told me that Yetis used to be quite common in Missouri, until European settlers introduced Unicorns, competitors with Yetis, and increased nitrate pollution in the Mississippi river caused algal blooms that killed off the local mermaid population who were the Yetis' main food source.

Okay, fine. It wasn't really my biology teacher who told me that, but regardless...

I think that the basic idea of the Phillip's curve -- that if you add a bunch of demand to an economy, unemployment will go down and inflation go up -- is hard to dispute. That's not to say that it's utterly indisputable, but I think most people would say that it is what happens in the real, 2003 economy. Of course, there are other issues at stake, like that if inflation is usually about 5% a year, people will assume it'll always be 5% a year, then factor the macro situation on top of that, and that can be incorporated into the Phillip's curve.

I think that many (conservative) people don't like the Phillip's curve because of the symbolism involved. To them, even if it's right (if not right in the original form Phillips thought), it represents a kind of lack of concern for microfoundational rigor and crudely Keynesian liberalism. Similarly, the Laffer curve is a sensible idea, but I think many people don't like it, even if they agree with it at a basic, theoretical level, because it has Laffer's name on it, and, to them, represents "supply-side economics," Reagan-Bush II fiscal mendacity, and all that stuff.

(None of this is to claim that Rational Expectations types aren't "really" concerned about the truth of the Phillips Curve, and are really just looking for a rationalization for the psychological dislike they feel for it. I'm sure Barro, Lucas, and all have had much sounder reasons for thinking the Phillips Curve is wrong than the kind of visceral dislike of its associations that I was talking about. Rather, I'm talking about half-informed types like myself, who know a bit of econ here and there but don't know enough to clearly see whether current macroeconomics models are rational and/or empirically correct or not.)

Posted by: Julian Elson on November 14, 2003 10:24 AM

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