Seven Schools of Macroeconomic Thought: The Arne Ryde Memorial Lectures

Seven Schools of Macroeconomic Thought: The Arne Ryde Memorial Lectures

Seven Schools of Macroeconomic Thought: The Arne Ryde Memorial Lectures

Seven Schools of Macroeconomic Thought: The Arne Ryde Memorial Lectures


This book comprises the text of the first series of Ryde lectures, established by Lund University in Sweden. It offers a broad survey of various macroeconomic topics which feature prominently in research as well as theoretical and policy debate. An authoritative, comprehensive summary and original critique of modern macroeconomic approaches, the book reviews one school of economic thought in each chapter: Keynesian; monetarist; New Classical school; New Keynesian school; supply side macroeconomics; "non-monetary" models of macroeconomics; and real business cycle theory and the "structuralist school."


This small book is a version for publication of the Arne Ryde lectures given at Lund University in May 1988. They are the first in a series of lectures under the sponsorship of the Arne Ryde Foundation.

It has been an unusual venture for me in a number of ways. There was, first, its method of total immersion. Though not known for a love of oratory, I found myself talking about macroeconomic theory for eight or nine hours in the space of two days. Happily, the audience of advanced students and assorted scholars managed to remain engaged the whole time, and so did the speaker. This was a gratifying experience.

There was another departure. Until then I had always worked on my own ideas. But this enterprise used the studio system, built around the producer. The subject of these lectures was entirely the idea of Bjorn Thalberg, who as head of the Ryde Foundation instituted the new lecture series. He suggested to me that one could divide macroeconomics these days into a number of schools of thought and that there would be a wide audience for an appraisal of their progress and prospects. The work of defining the schools and evaluating them was left to me. This arrangement was conducive to more risk-taking, I suspect, than would have resulted had the whole responsibility for the enterprise rested on me.

The opportunity to share my views on present-day macroeconomics seems to me to come at the right moment. Some observers consider macroeconomics to be in a sorry state, confused by recent experience and riven by methodological dissension. I agree it is destructive when the more zealous participants wage a crusade to exclude or demote other approaches and other questions. Some of the combatants, in the heat of battle, seem to see themselves in a Western epic between good guys and bad guys, a second Methodenstreit a century after the first.

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