Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Macro and Politics classes

Macro and IPA (International Political Analysis) are full-credit core courses.
Both have potentials to be fascinating classes.
What does it take for a class to be an awesome experience: great students, great focus, and great Professors. The subject in itself is a plus, not a pre-condition -after all UDJ, Managerial Accounting were awesome classes on potentially dreadful subjects.
What are great Professors? They don't need to be funny. Funny is a plus, not a pre-condition -Enrico (UDJ) was dead funny, so was Igor (MA). Pascal (Finance 2), Tim (Micro) were not so much. Phil (VOBM) is not -even though this is debatable, he is, in his own way... Yet they all are superstar Professors. We love them.
What do they have in common? They are so passionate about their subjects, they are so engaging about them, they convey so well the great insights of them -as if revealing some kind of secrets to you- that you cannot do otherwise but like their classes.

Ilian Mihov, our Macro Prof, belongs to that category. Initially, I feared his class would have me dead by mid-term. To be honest, the first classes were terrible. Still, in retrospect, I think he had to go through them, to explain the basics of Macro. Once we were about on par on the basic stuff, he unsheathed the "tough" materials, the great insights, the powerful models.
My personal fav is the IS/IM curve, and its by-product, the Taylor rule. I know that will sound ridiculous to most economists, investment bankers, and certainly a lot more people. But how many models can speak so much in so little: two curves (investments-savings, monetary supply) for IS/LM curve, one equation for the Taylor rule, and you can explain/predict monetary policies of most major countries.
I'm attaching a video from Columbia Business School. It's a spoof version of a great song. Lyrics are incredible. I feel much more clever now that I can know what the curve drawing is (in the middle of the video -the infamous IS/LM curve).
Basically, a CBS Professor -Glenn Hubbard- was up for the chair of the Fed when Alan Greenspan retired. He did not make it (Ben Bernanke got the job, the bearded guy in the video) but he got this great tribute from his students.

"Yeah, but they have 16 months over there" was the sour grape comments from my seat neighbour. It's just brilliant to me.

I wish I could say the same about IPA.
At least, guest speakers are quite good. Last week we had someone talking about "Pessimists", "Liberal constructivists" and "Realists" views of Asia. In a super shortcut, he said that democratic principles, institutions, and economic interdependence guarantee a certain regional stability. He gave some credits to the Ancient China "tributory" model whereby Asia is more stable when China is the main power, and to the Westphalian model -all States equal (at least India, Japan, China).
Fellow students presentations are fun too, especially in the Q&A. "Hum... Errr..." was the funny answer to "Hey, do you think that Israel will attack Iran over its nuclear weapons?".

Anyway, today was Ilian's day. He's been on a roll for a couple a sessions, in his own funny way...

To learn about the IS/LM model:

To learn about the Taylor Rule:

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At 6:08 PM , Blogger doron said...

His name is actually Ilian Mihov :)

At 3:31 AM , Blogger DomoDomo@INSEAD said...

Corrected from Ivan to Ilian... Thanks Doron ;-)


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