Wanted: a new handbook on macroeconomics

Stanford economist JOHN TAYLOR last week convened a meeting among some of the world’s most distinguished economists at the Hoover Institution to lay out the second volume of the Handbook of Macroeconomics.  

Taylor, the Hoover senior fellow and professor of economics at Stanford, edited the highly acclaimed first volume of the Handbook of Macroeconomics, along with MICHAEL WOODFORD, an economics professor from Columbia University. That volume was published in 1999 in the midst of what economists calls the “Great Moderation,” the name given to the period of decreased macroeconomic volatility experienced in the United States since the 1980s.

The first volume still ranks first in total downloads of all economics books, according to Research Papers in Economics. The second volume will be edited by Taylor and HARALD UHLIG, a University of Chicago economics professor.

Photo of John Taylor
John Taylor

Taylor said, “Given that there have been a number of significant changes in macroeconomics over the past 15 years, a new handbook is sorely needed. We have since seen an end of the Great Moderation, the financial crisis, the Great Recession, the not-so-great recovery, and a substantial rethinking of macro models and policy.”

He noted, “This conference is an opportunity to bring together a wide range of distinguished macroeconomic researchers to exchange views about the current state of the macro economy.”

The conference was held in Hoover’s Stauffer Auditorium from April 9 to 11. More than 50 people made presentations while an audience of 50-plus – many of them Stanford doctoral students in economics – attended the three-day event. The conference led off with Nobel Prize-winning economist EDWARD PRESCOTT talking about business cycles and concluded with ROBERT HALL, a Hoover senior fellow and former American Economic Association president, discussing the U.S. economy.

Topics of the talks, in which Stanford faculty and students participated, included the facts of economic growth, housing and macroeconomics, financial and fiscal crises, and measuring risk and uncertainty.

The conference was held in partnership with the Becker-Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago, which will host a companion conference later this month.