Financial Intermediation and Macroeconomic Analysis
How will the financial crisis change the teaching of macroeconomics? While it is difficult to predict intellectual developments before they occur, one can be reasonably confident that the macroeconomic implications of developments in the financial sector will receive a great deal more attention from now on. Of course, issues relating to financial stability have always been part of the curriculum — though perhaps presented as mainly of historical interest, or primarily of relevance to emerging markets. But recent events have made it clear that financial issues need to be integrated much more thoroughly into the basic framework for macroeconomic analysis with which students are provided.
Why has financial intermediation not played a more central role in the macroeconomic theory of the past few decades? Some suggest that fundamental theoretical or methodological commitments have made it difficult for mainstream macroeconomists to consider hypotheses under which financial conditions can be considered an independent determinant of economic outcomes. But a more straightforward explanation is that financial developments, at least in the U.S., had rendered the kinds of financial constraints previously emphasized in macroeconomic analysis less obviously important.
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