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Zeuthen Lectures

A New Keynesian Perspective

The past fifteen years have witnessed the rise of the New Keynesian model as a framework of reference for the analysis of fluctuations and stabilization policies. That framework, which combines the rigor and internal consistency of dynamic general equilibrium models with such typically Keynesian assumptions as monopolistic competition and nominal rigidities, makes possible a meaningful, welfare-based analysis of the effects of monetary policy rules.

The application of the monopolistic competition model to international trade by Elhanan Helpman, Paul Krugman, and Kelvin Lancaster was one of the great achievements of international trade theory in the 1970s and 1980s. Monopolistic competition models have required new empirical methods to implement their theoretical insights, however, and in this book Robert Feenstra describes methods that have been developed to measure the product variety of imports and the gains from trade that are due to product variety.

Reconciling Theory and Evidence

Though competition occupies a prominent place in the history of economic thought, among economists today there is still a limited, and sometimes contradictory, understanding of its impact. In Competition and Growth, Philippe Aghion and Rachel Griffith offer the first serious attempt to provide a unified and coherent account of the effect competition policy and deregulated entry has on economic growth.

Why Are Similar Workers Paid Differently?

Why are workers with identical skills found in both "good" jobs and "bad" jobs? Why are workers who do similar jobs paid differently, contrary to standard competitive theory? Observable differences in workers doing the same job account for only 30 percent of wage variation. In Wage Dispersion, Dale Mortensen examines the reasons for pay differentials in the other 70 percent.

Explaining Economic Policy

What determines the size and form of redistributive programs, the extent and type of public goods provision, the burden of taxation across alternative tax bases, the size of government deficits, and the stance of monetary policy during the course of business and electoral cycles? A large and rapidly growing literature in political economics attempts to answer these questions.

In their second book on economic forecasting, Michael Clements and David Hendry ask why some practices seem to work empirically despite a lack of formal support from theory. After reviewing the conventional approach to economic forecasting, they look at the implications for causal modeling, present a taxonomy of forecast errors, and delineate the sources of forecast failure. They show that forecast-period shifts in deterministic factors—interacting with model misspecification, collinearity, and inconsistent estimation—are the dominant source of systematic failure.

The notion of bounded rationality was initiated in the 1950s by Herbert Simon; only recently has it influenced mainstream economics. In this book, Ariel Rubinstein defines models of bounded rationality as those in which elements of the process of choice are explicitly embedded. The book focuses on the challenges of modeling bounded rationality, rather than on substantial economic implications.

Despite its theoretical elegance, the standard optimal tax model has significant limitations. In this book, Joel Slemrod and Christian Gillitzer argue that tax analysis must move beyond the emphasis on optimal tax rates and bases to consider such aspects of taxation as administration, compliance, and remittance.