J. Bradford DeLong
A master page to serve as a directory for web-based visuals and animations. Think of them as "virtual office hours" or "electronic notes." The hope is that multimedia and interactivity will engage the student in a more intensive way than the simple lecture, or than reading the textbook. So here are some preliminary and exploratory attempts at animated and dynamic versions of some of the standard introductory economics graphs.
Because these are animated .GIF files, there is no branching or interaction. There is no sound. Thus to the extent one views the world wide web as a possible subsitute for "active learning"--providing many sensory channels for input, requiring the student to make decisions, having whatever is displayed depend on what the student's last input suggests s/he needs to see, and so on--these fall vastly short of what will someday be common (or, indeed, of what is technologically possible now).
Nevertheless, I think that there is a reasonable chance that the web-based prototypes below are--or could become--a vast improvement over the textbook presentation. The way that the standard graphs and figures of economics are presented in lectures is inherently dynamic. New curves are derived from old ones; curves shift as people's behavior changes; the point on the graph representing the position of the economy changes as shocks push the economy away from and as equilibrium-restoring processes push the economy back to equilibrium.
The dynamic, slide show-like presentation of the material below is in a strong sense better suited to the material than is the standard, flat presentation you find in a textbook. Because the ideas, the graphs, and the figures are inherently dynamic, use of this medium allows one to get closer to the ideal of replicating the inside-the-classroom presentation.
And the fact that the user is in control--and can repeat demonstrations that were confusing, and choose his/er own path through the material--should be a major advance.
Macroeconomics Textbook Manifesto
Draft Table of Contents
I. The Circular Flow
· The Circular Flow
· The Expenditure Side of the Circular Flow
· Flows: Incomes, Expenditures, Factors, and Goods
· The Consumption Function
III. The Multiplier and Equilibrium
· The multiplier
· Stepping through the multiplier
· The multiplier and the marginal propensity to consume
· Building Up the Income-Expenditure Diagram
IV. Inventories and Equilibrium
· Inventories and Equilibrium
V. Money Supply and Money Demand
VI. Investment Real GDP
· From Investment Demand to the IS Curve: High Interest Rates
· From Investment Demand to the IS Curve: Low Interest Rates
VII. Inflation and the Phillips Curve:
· What Is the Phillips Curve?
· Expected Inflation and the Natural Rate of Unemployment
· A Steep Phillips Curve
· A Shallow Phillips Curve
VIII. Monetary Policy
· The Monetary Policy Reaction Function
· Easing Monetary Policy--Adaptive Expectations
· Easing Monetary Policy--Rational Expectations
IX. Aggregate Supply-Aggregate Demand
· Supply shocks and stagflation
· Loss of central bank inflation-fighting credibility
X. The U.S. Macroeconomy's History
· U.S. Unemployment, 1960-Present
· U.S. Inflation, 1960-Present
· The U.S. Phillips Curve, 1960-Present
· Long-Run Growth
· Growth and Fluctuations, 1980-1998
· Interest Rates and the Exchange Rate
· The Magnitude of Exchange Rate Movements
XII. Long-Run Growth:
· Convergence to the steady-state
· The steady-state capital-output ratio
· Technological change