International Macroeconomics: The World Economy in Crisis

This seminar aims to address the causes and consequences of the current economic crisis. We will try to understand why and how a bubble in the US housing market turned into the most severe global economic downturn since the Great Depression; we will analyze why the bubble emerged and why policy-makers failed to spot the problem earlier; we will ask why banks went bankrupt and how financial regulation can be improved; we will look at the political economy of national and international crisis management; and we will address the role of global imbalances as well as the economic outlook going forward. The seminar encourages independent research work by students in preparation for a diploma or master thesis. Students will be expected to work on a seminar paper during the first half of the term and present their paper in front of class at a two-day symposium in mid-June.
The course will be offered as a block seminar. There will be an introductory session on April 17th followed by a two-day symposium on June 19th and 20th. Full participation on all three days is absolutely mandatory. Students have to prepare a draft version of their seminar paper of about 10 pages by June 1st (in either German or English). Presentation and discussion of the papers will take place during the sessions in June. The final paper of about 15 pages in length (reflecting the feedback received in class) is due on July 31st. Prior registration is necessary as the number of participants will be limited to a maximum of 20 students.

Registration:
A maximum of 20 students can participate. Students have to register with the Department of Economics at the John-F.-Kennedy Institute. As part of the registration students are asked to send a short statement describing their interest and motivation to take part in the seminar. This statement of motivation can be written in German or English. Registration and statement should be sent to economics@jfki.fu-berlin.de by April 15th at the latest. If more than 20 students register, students will be admitted to the seminar on the basis of their motivation and academic interest in the field.

Course requirements:
Each participant will write a paper on one of the topics discussed in the seminar. A detailed list of topics will be available from the Department of Economics by end-March. A draft version (~10 pages) of the paper has to be submitted by June 1st. It will be circulated to all other students soon after June 1st and presented by the author during the symposium session on June 19th or 20th. Each student will also be required to be prepared to act as a discussant for any of the other seminar papers. A discussant will initiate a general conversation among the participants by briefly summarizing the paper and critically reviewing the key questions and results (3-5 min.). Students are therefore required to read all papers of their co-students and prepare a short summary for each in case they are chosen as the discussant on the day of presentation. The final version of the seminar paper (~15 pages reflecting the feedback received in class) is due by July 31st.

Language:
The seminar will be taught in English if the participation of international students is thereby encouraged. Ability and willingness to read English texts is quintessential in any case. All written course work including seminar papers can be submitted in either German or English. Presentations will be typically given in English.

Schedule:
• by April 15th – registration and statement of motivation to be sent to: economics@jfki.fu-berlin.de

• April 17, 11-12h (s.t.) – preliminary meeting ("Vorbesprechung"): general introduction and questions; organizational issues; discussion of proceedings.

• April 17, 14-18h (s.t.) – students have to make a final decision about participation and fill-in a mandatory registration; introduction to individual topics; distribution of topics for the seminar paper on the basis of students' preferences; introduction to academic writing and presenting; introduction to sources and databases for independent research.

• June 1st – deadline for first draft of seminar paper (~10 pages).

• June 19th and 20th, 10-16h (s.t.) – symposium sessions: seminar presentations and discussion.

• July 31st – deadline for submission of final paper (~15 pages).

(10042016-II)

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