This fully expanded edition of Rational Expectations and Inflation includes Sargent's 2011 Nobel lecture, "United States Then, Europe Now." It also features new articles on the macroeconomics of the French Revolution and government budget deficits.
One big problem had long plagued commodity money (that is, money literally worth its weight in gold): governments were hard-pressed to provide a steady supply of small change because of its high costs of production. The ensuing shortages hampered trade and, paradoxically, resulted in inflation and depreciation of small change. After centuries of technological progress that limited counterfeiting, in the nineteenth century governments replaced the small change in use until then with fiat money (money not literally equal to the value claimed for it)--ensuring a secure flow of small change. But this was not all. By solving this problem, suggest Sargent and Velde, modern European states laid the intellectual and practical basis for the diverse forms of money that make the world go round today.
This keenly argued, richly imaginative, and attractively illustrated study presents a comprehensive history and theory of small change. The authors skillfully convey the intuition that underlies their rigorous analysis. All those intrigued by monetary history will recognize this book for the standard that it is.
Lars Hansen and Thomas Sargent, two leading macroeconomists, push the field forward as they set about answering this question. They adapt robust control techniques and apply them to economics. By using this theory to let decision makers acknowledge misspecification in economic modeling, the authors develop applications to a variety of problems in dynamic macroeconomics.
Technical, rigorous, and self-contained, this book will be useful for macroeconomists who seek to improve the robustness of decision-making processes.
Hansen and Sargent unite economic theory with a workable econometrics while going beyond and beneath demand and supply curves for dynamic economies. They construct and apply competitive equilibria for a class of linear-quadratic-Gaussian dynamic economies with complete markets. Their book, based on the 2012 Gorman lectures, stresses heterogeneity, aggregation, and how a common structure unites what superficially appear to be diverse applications. An appendix describes MATLAB programs that apply to the book's calculations.
New chapters cover asset pricing empirics with possible resolutions to puzzles; analysis of credible government policy that entails state variables other than reputation; and foundations of aggregate labor supply with time averaging replacing employment lotteries. Other new material includes a multi-country analysis of taxation in a growth model, elaborations of the fiscal theory of the price level, and age externalities in a matching model.
The book is suitable for both first- and second-year graduate courses in macroeconomics and monetary economics. Most chapters conclude with exercises. Many exercises and examples use Matlab programs, which are cited in a special index at the end of the book.