Course Syllabus


Intermediate Macroeconomics

Spring 2016 (3978) Econ 4020 001 (QI)

Preliminary syllabus Dec 2015. 

Instructor  Rudi von Arnim (Email, Website). Office: Orson Spencer Hall (OSH) #339, Phone (801) 587 8327. Office hours: My door is usually open – so stop by anytime! If you drop me a line, we can arrange when to meet.

See "requirements & grading" below, and read it carefully! There are no excuses for not knowing course policies and practices. 


Course description

From the catalog – Prerequisite: ECON 2010 and 2020 and College Algebra (or 1010 and instructor's consent). Fulfills Quantitative Intensive BS. Macroeconomic theories, models, and analysis focused on national income determination, unemployment, inflation, and public policy.

Further information – Intermediate macroeconomics introduces you to (1) a few standard models of the macroeconomy and (2) the resulting policy recommendations and controversies. During the first part of the semester, we will focus on the short and medium run (IS/LM and AS-AD model), followed in the second part by the long run (growth model) and a closer look at issues related to open economies.

Learning outcomes – At the end of the course, students will be able to use standard macroeconomic models to delineate ongoing policy controversies and to discuss current economic events; will be prepared for more advanced macroeconomic courses; will have learned to reason analytically within the framework of economic models. More specifically, students will be familiar with standard intermediate macroeconomic models (a) of the business cycle (IS/LM model), including monetary and fiscal policy, (b) the labor market, as well as (c) of growth and technological change (Solow model). We will occasionally emphasize data work. Importantly, you will be required to apply textbook knowledge to analysis of current and recent events. 

Teaching and learning methods – The class meets twice per week. We will use Instructure/Canvas for dissemination of assignments, and all out-of-classroom communication. (Note: Do not use Internet Explorer with Canvas! Chrome or Firefox are recommended browsers.) Multiple choice, essay and discussion assignments support learning. Essay questions require transfer of knowledge from the textbook into the real world. A crucial feature of this course is a relatively large number of dispersed and often short assignments of various types. This requires you to be engaged with material, instructor and classmates on an ongoing basis. It can initially seem overwhelming, but we will quickly develop reading and studying habits that ensure everybody's success in the class! 

Textbook  Macroeconomics, 6th ed., by Olivier Blanchard, Prentice Hall. You can use other editions of this textbook, at your own risk. All other materials will be posted on Canvas. (If you haven't received your textbook, you can download the table of contents and chapter 1 and 2. If you use an older version, you will need chapter 9, which has been completely rewritten.)


Requirements and grading

  • It is your responsibility to follow emails and announcements sent through Canvas, and to stay up to date with readings (textbook chapters, discussions, assigned articles, etc).
  • See the grade breakdown on the right hand side, and the numbered list below for further detail. 
  • Every single grade that enters your final course will come from me or a graduate teaching assistant. Peer review grades from your classmates do not enter your project or course grade average, they merely serve as an additional source of feedback. 
  • I recommend to view the assignment list "by type," see the link on the top right of that page; and consult this syllabus page for every Sunday's deadlines
  1. Two "Key Projects" make up 20% of your final grade. You have to submit both of these projects. 
  2. Other "Projects" add another 30%. Of these projects, the two lowest scores are dropped. Thus, you can skip two projects without it directly hurting your grade. It is recommended to do all projects, as they deepen and broaden your understanding of the material, and provide crucial skill development exercises. Projects add a total of 50% to your grade -- be mindful of this early on: pay attention to projects, and don't miss project deadlines! 
  3. The final exam adds 10% to your final grade. The final exam will be taken online within a time window of a few days on your own computer and time. 
  4. Regular chapter quizzes add 15%. The two lowest quiz scores are dropped. The implication is that you can skip two quizzes if all of your other quiz grades average to your desired quiz grade. Naturally, it is recommended to complete all quizzes. Note further that the first three chapters are all due at the end of January. This is an exception at the beginning of the class. Its purpose is to give late registrants the opportunity to complete these on-time. It is recommended to complete chapter 1 and 2 quizzes during the first and second week, respectively. 
  5. In-class participation contributes further 15%. These points are earned for attendance as well as occasional group work or projects during class time. (The latter will be added to the assignment list as they come up.) This assignment category is the only one that does not require submissions or activity online on Canvas. I will track your work and participation, and enter your grades at the 'due dates.' 
  6. "Other assignments" add the remaining 10%. Importantly, some of these assignments are for participation credit (such as some discussion threads and selected exercises), but nevertheless are crucial contributions to your final grade. Part of these "other assignments are peer reviews. There will be a dedicated discussion thread to the topic, please consult it. 

Other policies 

  • Absolutely no late submissions will be accepted. To pass the class successfully, be on top of these due dates, all of which will be posted in your class calendar. Active, regular participation is crucial for success in the course! (You will have opportunities to make up for an occasional missed deadline.) Please note as well that all due dates are on a Sunday. The final exam is the only exception to this rule. This does not mean that you should work on Sundays! Please feel free to submit work on Friday or earlier. However, students in the past clearly preferred to have the option to work on the weekend. 
  • Technical problems: All submissions are made online. A technical problem is not a reason for a missed assignment. If Canvas fails to accept your submission, you must send your work to me in an email immediately. It would be greatly appreciated if you submit questions on technical issues directly to the Canvas support team, which you can find by clicking "Help" in the top right and then "Report a problem." 
  • Professionalism, writing and communication: You are required to conduct yourself in class as well as online in a polite and professional manner. Your writing -- in essays, discussion threads and emails -- should be checked for grammar and style, and should reflect your polite and professional attitude vis-a-vis yourself and others. 



ADA – The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Union Building, 581-5020 (V/TDD). CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations.

Rights and responsibilities – All students are expected to maintain professional behavior in the classroom setting, according to the Student Code, spelled out in the Student Handbook. Students have specific rights in the classroom as detailed in Article III of the Code. The Code also specifies proscribed conduct (Article XI) that involves cheating on tests, plagiarism, and/or collusion, as well as fraud, theft, etc. Students should read the Code carefully and know they are responsible for the content. According to Faculty Rules and Regulations, it is the faculty responsibility to enforce responsible classroom behaviors, beginning with verbal warnings and progressing to dismissal from class and a failing grade. Students have the right to appeal such action to the Student Behavior Committee.


Course Summary:

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