This week I discussed money, the Fed, and monetary policy in class — chapters 14 and 15 of Cowen and Tabarrok (Macro). The chapters are integrated very well into the dynamic aggregate supply/demand framework. I especially like the emphasis on how difficult it is for the Fed to do its job(s) effectively. The discussions of liquidity crises, systemic risk and moral hazard are a real plus. Once again, the authors have done a masterful job of picking photos to put in the margin and adding apt captions. On page 323 there’s a photo of Ben Bernanke looking weary and pensive, captioned “it seemed so much easier in the textbook.”
Switching from a textbook that you’ve used for a decade or more is bound to be difficult, as is getting used to the new textbook and integrating its way of explaining things and unique features into your course. And, there are an unavoidable host of little things to get used to — like using π as the symbol for inflation expectations rather than as the symbol for profits or looking at an AD/AS model, seeing a curve labeled SGC, and not saying “short-run.” But for many professors the costs of the switch to Cowen and Tabarrok will be well worth it. The text is certainly the most engaging I’ve ever used — it simply grabs the students’ attention with insightful examples and a freshness that I trust will endure as subsequent editions roll off the presses in the years (decades?) to come.