Macroeconomic Strategies

Professor: Robert J. Barbera

Room: Wyman Park Building 557

Office Hours: Tue Thu Fri, 10:00 am-12:00 pm, request 20-minute slot by email

E-mail: rjb46@jhu.edu

Phone: 410-516-7615


Teaching Assistant: Pavel Solís

E-mail: msolism1@jhu.edu

Office Hours: Wed 4:00-5:00 pm, https://JHUBlueJays.zoom.us/j/6995859864

Zoom Meeting ID: 699 585 9864


Note: All website issues should be sent to the TA.

Course Objectives

1. To attain a rigorous understanding of U.S. macroeconomic barometers (Issues: theoretical concepts, real world representations, measurement errors/revisions and cyclical fluctuations/secular patterns).

2. To become familiar with the pattern of economic news and the shaping and reshaping of the consensus economic view.

3.To come to appreciate the interplay between long-term trends, economic policies, financial market fluctuations, and exogenous shocks.

4. To learn techniques for Separating Signal from Noise and the Risks/Rewards Inherent in Thinking and Forecasting Outside the Box.



Summary Course Outline

Strategist Handouts


U.S. Inflation

U.S. Labor Market

U.S. Bond Market


Lecture 1 - Global Forecast Overview

Notes: Lecture 1


How Business Schools Can Help Restore Trust in Capitalism

IMF World Economic Outlook Update, January 2020

Lecture 2 - Debt, Leverage, Asset Prices and Scary Bad News

Notes: Lecture 2


NBER Paper: The Leverage Cycle

Example: Hanna and Hal

Lecture 3 - Linking Macroeconomic Barometers: Okun's Law, Phillips Curves, Multipliers, Business Cycles

Notes: Lecture 3


U.S. Macro Forecasting: A Primer

Forecasting Monthly Job Growth

Lecture 4 - In the Dark: Uncertain Long-Term Productivity Projections and Disparate Confounding Cyclical Dynamics

Notes: Lecture 4


Weekly Average Gasoline Prices

Lecture 5 - A Macro Model without Finance

Notes: Lecture 5


Speech from Fed Chair Powell: Challenges for Monetary Policy

A Barebones Forecasting Model

[Optional] 3-Equation Model (Carlin-Soskice)

Forecast Update: Readings

Four Dimensional Chess in the Time of Corona

Oily Disaster

Lecture 6 - Real Interest Rates and Real Economic Activity (Postponed)

Notes: Lecture 6


A Consumption-Loan Model of Interest (Paul Samuelson)

Lecture 7 - Forecasting in the Time of COVID-19

Video: Practice Social Distancing

Notes: Lecture 7


The Virus Is An Economic Emergency Too

Forecasting in the Time of COVID-19

Flattening the Pandemic and Recession Curves (Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas)

Estimating Actual Infection Rates from Data on COVID-19 Deaths

Embracing Distancing and Cushioning the Blow to the Economy (Robert J. Barbera, Floyd Norris and Jonathan H. Wright)

Lecture 8 - The World of Finance

Notes: Lecture 8


Data: Initial Jobless Claims vs Unemployment Rate

Okun's Law

Example: Overlapping Generations

Lecture 9 - Corporate Equities, Investment Trends and Capitalist Finance

Notes: Lecture 9


Corporate Equities, Investment Trends and Capitalist Finance

Lecture 10 - A Theory of Investment Demand: An Expanded Loanable Funds Model

Notes: Lecture 10


An Expanded Loanable Funds Model

Lecture 11 - Embracing the Minsky Model

Notes: Lecture 11


Embracing the Minsky Model

The Minsky Model (Barbera-Weise)


Midterm 1: Answers

Johns Hopkins University Department of Economics Johns Hopkins University Department of Economics