• Course Code:  MSP

  • Term:  September 2017

  • Start Date:  Sep 20 2017

  • End Date:  Jan 3 2018

  • Duration:  15 weeks

  • Course Author(s)
    Jeffrey Sachs and Felipe Larraín
Macroeconomics coursecard

Macroeconomics for a Sustainable Planet

September 2017


  • Sdg academy website announcment
    The SDG Academy Team


About this Course

Unemployment. Inflation. Protectionism. Economic bubble. Debt. Fiscal deficit. These are not just terms in an economics textbook; these are real-life challenges that are dominating the media and that carry major societal implications. We are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before in history, and in the 21st century, the thoughtful study of macroeconomics needs to consider another crucial factor: sustainable development. 


Traditionally considered externalities or by-products of the global economic engine, environmental degradation and the erosion of social capital have a drastic and direct effect on the capacity of the planet to thrive economically. Macroeconomics for a Sustainable Planet is an exploration of traditional macroeconomic principles and tools updated for the age of sustainable development and the current wave of globalization. The course is led by two leading economic minds, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and Economics at Columbia University and senior UN advisor, and Professor Felipe Larraín, former Minister of Finance of Chile and Professor of Economics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. 


Over the course of 13 weeks, Professors Sachs and Larraín will explore the different macroeconomic “pathologies” at play in the modern day global economy, drawing from the lessons and experiences of the past and incorporating the significant biophysical pressures facing the planet today. Is a thriving global economy possible in an equitable and environmentally thoughtful way? Join us as we delve into the new macroeconomic toolkit that is needed to answer that question. 


Course Structure & Requirements

The 13-week course is structured around a series of pre-recorded lectures, readings, quizzes, discussion questions, and other activities. Each of these course components can be completed at a time that is convenient for the student, and most quizzes and timed activities are given a two-week window for completion. The material for each week is made available on Wednesdays, beginning on September 20th, and once the material has been opened, it remains open for the duration of the course. 


In addition to the asynchronous components of the course, the instructors will hold several real-time Q&A sessions. These sessions will be announced 1-2 weeks in advance. The estimated time commitment to complete all course components is 4-6 hours per week, though this depends heavily on the student and his/her objectives in taking the course.


All students who successfully complete the course will receive a digital certificate of completion, signed by the instructors. In order to successfully complete the course, and achieve a Certificate of Proficiency, students must score an average of 70% or higher on the quizzes and final, all of which are multiple choice. Students that score 85% or higher will receive Certificate of Proficiency with Distinction. While this course is not credit granting, we encourage students to work with their own institutions to explore the option of granting credit for online coursework. 


This course was made possible by a generous gift from the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation. If you have any additional questions on the course structure or requirements, please email the SDG Academy at sdgacademy@unsdsn.org. For technical questions about the platform, please email support@edcast.com.


Course Syllabus

1. Introduction to Macroeconomics

1.1 Introduction to Macroeconomics

1.2 Macroeconomic Pathologies

1.3A 21st Century Perspectives on Macroeconomics

1.3B International Comparisons of Income (PPP)

1.4 GDP & Well-Being

2A. Output Determination & Employment

2.1 The Full-Employment Economy

2.2A Deriving GDP | Part I

2.2B Deriving GDP | Part II

2.3A Labor & Saving | Part I

2.3B Labor & Saving | Part II

2B. Output Determination & Employment

2.4 Economic Growth

2.5 Partial-Employment Economy

2.6 Focus on Business Cycles

2.7 The Basics of Aggregate Demand Management

2.8 Three Big Problems with Aggregate Demand Management

2.9 Output Determination in the IS-LM Model

3. Labor Markets

3.1 Labor Markets, Concepts, Definitions & Groups

3.2 Labor Market Institutions: Minimum Wages, Unionization & Contracts

3.3 Costs of Unemployment, Digitization of Labor Markets, Informality & Underemployment

4. Money & Central Banking

4.1 Money vs. Barter: History & Concepts

4.2 Money Demand

4.3 Money Supply & the Role of the Central Bank

4.4 The Central Bank & New Approaches to Monetary Policy

5. Exchange Rate Themes

5.1 Exchange Rate Arrangements

5.2 PPP & Interest Rate Arbitrage

5.3 The Real Exchange Rate & the Role of Non-Traded Goods

5.4 Monetary Policy Under Fixed & Floating Exchange Rates

5.5 Currency Crises

6. Financial Markets & Financial Crises

6.1A Bank Runs & Panics | Part I

6.1B Bank Runs & Panics | Part II

6.2 How to Prevent Bank Runs

6.3 Bubbles & Crashes

6.4 Managing Insolvencies

6.5 What Happens When Governments Go Broke?

7. Inflation, Unemployment & Stabilization

7.1 Inflation, the Fiscal Deficit & Seigniorage

7.2 The Costs of Inflation

7.3 Inflation, Unemployment & the Phillips Curve

7.4 Stabilization Themes

8. Consumption, Saving & Investment

8.1 Consumption, Saving & the Intertemporal Budget Constraint

8.2 The Permanent Income Consumption Theory

8.3 The Life Cycle Model of Consumption & Saving

8.4 Investment

8.5 The Basic Theory of Business Investment

9. Fiscal Policy and Institutions

9.1 The Budget, Public Revenues & Expenditures

9.2 Saving, Investment, the Fiscal Deficit & the Management of Public Debt

9.3 Interactions Between the Public & Private Sectors

9.4 Fiscal Institutions & Policies

10. Open Economy Issues

10.1 The Aggregate Demand in an Open Economy

10.2 Aggregate Demand with a Flexible Exchange Rate

10.3 Aggregate Demand with a Fixed Exchange Rate

10.4 The Current Account & External Indebtedness

10.5 The Intertemporal Budget Constraint of a Country

11. Economic Growth

11.1 Economic Growth in History, Patterns & Sectors

11.2 Sources of Economic Growth

11.3 Solow’s Growth Convergence Model

11.4 Growth & Inequality

11.5 Growth Traps

12. Globalization

12.1 What is Globalization?

12.2 Development of the Global Economic System

12.3 Globalization of Population Systems

12.4 Crises of Poverty & Inequality

12.5 The Challenge of Sustainable Development

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Macroeconomics for a Sustainable Planet


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