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Macroeconomics and Reality: Where Are We Now?

Click here for the full conference programme.

Aim of the Conference
Macroeconomists are responding to extraordinary challenges. We are learning in real time; adapting and improving existing models, whilst expanding and incorporating new methods to understand better our complex and evolving reality. Forty years after the publication of Christopher Sims’s seminal paper on Macroeconomics and Reality, we look to share, debate and evaluate some of the new models and methods in macroeconomics which address our biggest policy challenges – and perhaps hold the greatest promise for the future. The intended audience is colleagues and graduate students in economics, policymakers, governments, think-tanks, and research economists across the world.

The world economy had a testing last decade and faces further challenges in the decade ahead. In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis we saw productivity growth evaporate, rising concerns about inequalities, and an erosion of public support for economic integration. The traditional policy answer of borrowing and spending has led to the highest world debt-to-GDP ratios in history; and interest rates, in advanced economies at least, that are at or close to their effective lower bound. Asset prices continue to rise, while major economies seem as close to deflation as inflation. Environmental degradation continues as we may be heading towards an ecological catastrophe. And now we start the new decade with the COVID-19 virus, a global health pandemic which also exacerbates many of these challenges.

Anyone looking from a distance might wonder whether the global economy is really approaching a steady state, under any reasonably realistic definition. And yet there are reasons for at least some professional optimism. The fiscal and monetary response to COVID-19 has been very different (and more successful) compared to the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis. Computing power allows us vastly to expand our methods of analysis to include heterogeneity, direct interaction between agents, and handling Big Data. The pandemic has finally forced us to look beyond our discipline and consider how we might achieve a more integrated framework for our greatest real-world problems. This opens up the possibility of making real progress on tackling our greatest policy challenges.

To register for this event, please contact Richard Arnold at r.arnold@niesr.ac.uk

Economic Analysis Research Group, University of Reading, and ESRC’s Rebuilding Macroeconomics network.

Conference Website
Further information and materials will become available at the conference website: https://sites.google.com/view/macro-and-reality-earg-rm-conf/home


24th November 2020
Event Category:




Alexander Mihailov
Angus Armstrong