When Dani Rodrik recently asked his many readers which economist they most wanted to see start a blog, MIT's Daron Acemoglu came second only to Joseph Stiglitz. Rodrik asked him if he would start a blog:
Daron Acemoglu responds by saying blogging "seems like a lot of work." He adds "I am already overcommitted, so it's a bit scary to take something else on."
Busy? And how! Acemoglu has somehow found the time to write a new magnum opus. His Introduction to Modern Economic Growth is a whopping 1,169 pages. It covers the whol gamut, from the Solow growth model to the role of political regimes and institutions. Acemoglu explains the background to this textbook in his introduction:
This book grew out of the first graduate-level introduction to macroeconomics course I have taught at MIT. Parts of the book have also been taught as part of a second-year graduate macroeconomics.
In the preface, Acemoglu writes that the book is intended to serve two purposes:
First and foremost, this is a book about economic growth and long-run economic development. The process of economic growth and the sources of differences in economic performance across nations are some of the most interesting, important and challenging areas in modern social science. The primary purpose of this book is to introduce graduate students to these major questions and to the theoretical tools necessary for studying them. The book therefore strives to provide students with a strong background in dynamic economic analysis, since only such a background will enable a serious study of economic growth and economic development. It also tries to provide a clear discussion of the broad empirical patterns and historical processes underlying the current state of the world economy. This is motivated by my belief that to understand why some countries grow and some fail to do so, economists have to move beyond the mechanics of models and pose questions about the fundamental causes of economic growth.
In a somewhat different capacity, this book is also a graduate-level introduction to modern macroeconomics and dynamic economic analysis. It is sometimes commented that, unlike basic microeconomic theory, there is no core of current macroeconomic theory that is shared by all economists. This is not entirely true. While there is disagreement among macroeconomists about how to approach short-run macroeconomic phenomena and what the boundaries of macroeconomics should be, there is broad agreement about the workhorse models of dynamic macroeconomic analysis. These include the Solow growth model, the neoclassical growth model, the overlapping-generations model and models of technological change and technology adoption. Since these are all models of economic growth, a thorough treatment of modern economic growth can also provide (and perhaps should provide) an introduction to this core material of modern macroeconomics. Although there are several good graduate-level macroeconomic textbooks, they typically spend relatively little time on the basic core material and do not develop the links between modern macroeconomic analysis and economic dynamics on the one hand and general equilibrium theory on the other. In contrast, the current book does not cover any of the shortrun topics in macroeconomics, but provides a thorough and rigorous introduction to what I view to be the core of macroeconomics. Therefore, the second purpose of the book is to provide a first graduate-level course in modern macroeconomics.
A considerable achivement. Acemoglu asks readers to note that "this is a preliminary draft of the book manuscript. The draft certainly contains mistakes. Comments and suggestions for corrections are welcome."