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Econ720 - Fall 2022 - Syllabus

Prof. Lutz Hendricks, UNC

Course objective

Econ720 is the first course in the macro PhD sequence. Its objective is to learn about the standard models commonly used in macroeconomics. In parallel, the course develops the mathematical methods used to characterize the equilibria of the models.

This is a largely a theory and methods course. But we will cover some applications to topics such as the distribution of wealth. The course schedule contains more detail.


  • Two lectures per week: Tue Thu 9:30-10:45, Gardner 1
  • Recitation: Fri 9:30-10:20, Gardner 1 (corrected)
  • TA: Mariya Sviderskaya
  • Link to course website
  • For online discussions, I suggest to sign up at Econ StackExchange: there you can post questions that are not directly class related. The questions have to be specific (discussion questions are not permitted).
  • For questions that are directly class related, please use the Canvas forum. You can of course also just email me directly, but using the forums has the benefit that others can see the conversations (and chime in).


  • Midterm: 40%. Final: 50%. Problem sets: 10%.
  • Feel free to submit problem sets by email.
  • Exams are closed book and cover all material taught.
  • Per university requirement, the final will last 3 hours.
  • Review problems are for your practice and not to be turned in. Many are questions from previous exams.
  • If a student misses a midterm, the weight of that midterm in the course grade will be added to the weight on the student’s final. An exception will be made for University-approved absences. Students with this type of absence may request a make-up examination at a time convenient to both student and instructor.


  • We do not closely follow a text, but a good one is:
    • Acemoglu, Introduction to Modern Economic Growth, MIT Press, ISBN-13: 978-0691132921
  • Also useful:
    • Dirk Krueger’s Macroeconomic Theory manuscript (this tends to move around on the web).
    • Per Krusell’s Real Macroeconomic Theory manuscript, 2014 version
    • Blanchard, Olivier, and Stanley Fischer. Lectures on macroeconomics. MIT press, 1989.
    • McCandless, George T., and Neil Wallace. Introduction to dynamic macroeconomic theory: an overlapping generations approach. Harvard University Press, 1991.
    • De La Croix, David, and Philippe Michel. A theory of economic growth: dynamics and policy in overlapping generations. Cambridge University Press, 2002.
    • Ljungqvist, Lars, and Thomas J. Sargent. Recursive macroeconomic theory. MIT press, 2018.
    • Barro, R., and Xavier Sala-i-Martin. "Economic growth second edition." (2004).
  • Additional readings are in the slides.
  • Reading strategy: I strongly recommend to read several expositions for each topic. Only after seeing the same material from different angles can on really understand it.
  • The most useful texts by topic:
    • For the basics of macro models: Krusell and Krueger (see links above).
    • For OLG: McCandless & Wallace and De la Croix.
    • Standard growth model (also with money): Blanchard & Fischer
    • Economic growth: Barro & Sala-i-Martin, Acemoglu
    • Recursive competitive equilibrium: Krusell and Krueger.
  • I am listing a lot of older references because they tend to be more readable / less focused on technical material. Acemoglu's book can be notation-heavy.

How to Study for this Class

Everyone studies differently. Still, I would made these suggestions:

  1. Read textbooks. There are many new concepts in graduate econ courses. Each book explains them a little differently. It helps to read several expositions to really absorb how things work.
  2. Read efficiently. For first pass reading, just skim the math. Try to understand the flow of the argument of each chapter without getting distracted by technical details. Then start over and read in detail the math that you need to understand in detail. Skip the rest.
  3. If your background is not in economics, it helps to read the first chapters of texts (especially of Krusell's text) to understand terminology and fundamentals.
  4. Obviously, do as many problems as you can (avoiding the temptation to look at the answers too early).


  • Questions and comments are always welcome. Come to my office hours!
  • You should download the slides before each class. However, I tend to change details even after posting the slides.
  • The professor reserves the right to make changes to the syllabus, including project due dates and test dates. These changes will be announced as early as possible.
  • Covid-19: We are still in a pandemic. Wearing masks during class is therefore encouraged. Please see Carolina Together for current Covid related rules.

Attendance Policy

No right or privilege exists that permits a student to be absent from any class meetings, except for these University Approved Absences:

  1. Authorized University activities
  2. Disability/religious observance/pregnancy, as required by law and approved by Accessibility Resources and Service and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC)
  3. Significant health condition and/or personal/family emergency as approved by the Office of the Dean of Students, Gender Violence Service Coordinators, and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC).

Honor Code

All students are expected to follow the guidelines of the UNC honor code. In particular, students are expected to refrain from “lying, cheating, or stealing” in the academic context. If you are unsure about which actions violate that honor code, please see me or consult


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill facilitates the implementation of reasonable accommodations, including resources and services, for students with disabilities, chronic medical conditions, a temporary disability or pregnancy complications resulting in barriers to fully accessing University courses, programs and activities.

Accommodations are determined through the Office of Accessibility Resources and Service (ARS) for individuals with documented qualifying disabilities in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. See the ARS Website for contact information: or email


CAPS is strongly committed to addressing the mental health needs of a diverse student body through timely access to consultation and connection to clinically appropriate services, whether for short or long-term needs. Go to their website: or visit their facilities on the third floor of the Campus Health Services building for a walk-in evaluation to learn more.

Title IX Resources

Any student who is impacted by discrimination, harassment, interpersonal (relationship) violence, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, or stalking is encouraged to seek resources on campus or in the community. Please contact the Director of Title IX Compliance (Adrienne Allison –, Report and Response Coordinators in the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (, Counseling and Psychological Services (confidential), or the Gender Violence Services Coordinators (; confidential) to discuss your specific needs. Additional resources are available at

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