This book by Michel De Vroey retraces the history of macroeconomics from Keynes’s General Theory to the present. Central to it is the contrast between a Keynesian era and a Lucasian – or dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) – era, each ruled by distinct methodological standards.
In the Keynesian era, the book studies the following theories: Keynesian macroeconomics, monetarism, disequilibrium macroeconomics (Patinkin, Leijongufvud and Clower), non-Walrasian equilibrium models, and first-generation new Keynesian models. Three stages are identified in the DSGE era: new classical macroeconomics (Lucas), RBC modelling, and second-generation new Keynesian modeling. The book also examines a few selected works aimed at presenting alternatives to Lucasian macroeconomics.
While not eschewing analytical content, Michel De Vroey focuses on substantive assessments, and the models studied are presented in a pedagogical and vivid yet critical way.
‘Michel De Vroey does not simply record what he finds. He has a vision of the kind of macroeconomics he would like to see, perhaps one he developed gradually over the years he has worked on this book. What makes this book enjoyable is that he has high hopes for economics, he flatters us that we are important, and he praises the progress we have achieved. In the end he has the integrity not to hide his disappointments, his conviction that while there is no turning back, there is still a long way to go.’ Robert E. Lucas, Jr, John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, University of Chicago
‘No branch of economics has witnessed as many revolutions and counter-revolutions as macroeconomics, starting from Keynes’ General Theory eighty years ago. Michel De Vroey’s book provides a thorough but highly readable account of the main developments in the field over that period. It conveys a sense of the excitement generated by the advent of every new paradigm, as well as of the growing tension between the requirements of theoretical purity and those of empirical and policy relevance that macroeconomists keep facing these days.’ Jordi Galí, Research Centre for International Economics (CREI), Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Barcelona Graduate School of Economics
‘Macroeconomics research has largely proceeded through ‘revolutions’. One wishes for a more linear and evolutionary process, one where most new contributions would naturally fit and the common core become steadily stronger. But the immense complexity of modern economies, the difficult methodological choices, may be such that ‘revolutions’ will keep happening, with their share of destruction, confusion, and eventual reconstruction. Understanding the nature of these revolutions is essential to understanding where we are today, and Michel De Vroey’s book does a masterful job of doing just that. A thoroughly illuminating and enjoying read.’ Olivier J. Blanchard, Robert M. Solow Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
‘Macroeconomics is a complex evolving system of thinking. Michel De Vroey’s latest book dives into that evolving complexity and, by distinguishing between Marshallian and Walrasian macroeconomics, helps make the history of macroeconomics a bit more understandable. It’s sad that more economists don’t make that distinction.’ David Colander, Distinguished College Professor, Middlebury College
‘De Vroey’s book reads like a travelogue recounting his life journey as a macroeconomist, and his considered response to key texts he encountered along the way. Always thoughtful and penetrating, he stimulates this reader to reflect anew on how we got to where we are today, and what might lie ahead.’ Perry Mehrling, perrymehrling.com.