Topics in Quantitative Macroeconomics

José-Víctor Ríos-Rull:,

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Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

LECTURES M 5-8:00PM MCNB 169 In McNeil, 4-168 Off Hours: W 11-12, before and after class and by appointment., email:, Phone-(612) 625-0941 Fax: (612) 624-0209 Fed Phone (612) 204-5528


  • What are we doing? Brief description of previous classes and next one.
  • Take-home tasks List of take-home tasks and other requirements and due dates. Will be updated as we go along.
  • Course description.
  • Requirements.
  • Grading rules and registration

1 What are we doing? A class by class ex-post diary and a forecast of next class.

  1. Mar 13.

    We talk about the class and what it is about. We discuss what are the possible topics to cover (see below). I ask for volunteers to start presenting brief things. I start with heteroegeneity and business cycles:

    Bird’s Eye


  2. Mar 20.

    Sergio will talk about Buera and Shin’s “Self-insurance vs. self-financing: A welfare analysis of the persistence of shocks”. Journal of Economic Theory, 2011.

    I will continue with the details of how to model different versions of inequality.

  3. Mar 27.
  4. April 3.
  5. April 10.
  6. April 17.
  7. April 24.

2 List of Take-home Tasks Organized by batchs.

First Homework batch. Do it by April 1.

  1. A Ben Porath problem.

Second Homework batch. Do it by April 8.

  1. A Life Cycle Aiyagari problem.

3 Course Description

This course should be thought of as a Macro/Labor course with a close that should be of interest to people that care about both areas. Its main purpose is to link models and data i.e. to answer quantitative questions that we are interested in (in the process of doing so, some interesting theoretical questions arise). We will develop tools by stating general questions, and then discussing how to approach its answer.

This is a Ph.D. course not a Masters course. We are not here to learn about existing work but to learn about how to do work, and, therefore, it requires to do some things.

Format. Every class except the first one we will devote the first half an hour to 45 minutes or so to students presentations. I expect professional competence in this regard.

Depending on interest we may talk about other issues on this day:

Health Consumption and Inequality

Banking Dynamics and Capital Regulation

Organizational Equilibrium

A theory of credit scoring

The Generalized Euler Equation and the Bankruptcy--Sovereign Default Problem

4 Course Content

4.1 Heterogeneneity and Business Cycles

5 Course Requirements

6 Grading Rules and Registration.

To do superbly in the course, registered students have to do all the requirements well.

For those that do not register but take the course, I recommend that they do the homeworks. We learn to solve problems by facing them. Learning jointly with others greatly speeds the process.

In any case, the University is to help you learn and become a great economist not to issue grades, so use the course in the way you say it is best for you. If all equal, register so that there is evidence that the course is useful.