Grad Skool Rulz

13 January 2007 at 4:16 pm 2 comments

| Peter Klein |

A new feature from Fabio Rojas at Highly recommended for (current or prospective) graduate-student readers.

I have some resources for graduate students listed on my site. A few are specific to my own department, but most are general (especially “Writing, speaking, and listening,” “Teaching,” and “Miscellaneous”).

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Teaching.

Psychology and Economic Development The Canon of Management Thought

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brian A'Hearn  |  16 January 2007 at 3:21 pm

    The advice you point to reminds me of the advice David Romer gave us in grad school, which was something like “Don’t read – write; don’t think – write; don’t take more courses – write” and so on. To the extent that I followed the advice to view the PhD as a piece of paper, a professional qualification, a hoop to jump through, I regret it. I hurried through my dissertation and submitted something that was good enough, but not really very good. I didn’t realize I would never again have the time and resources available to me in grad school to do that kind of work, to improve my dissertation, to try to say something really new or good or important, rather than something good enough for my committee to sign off on.

    Did you really follow that advice?

    I cannot argue against this approach for students. I have seen people who followed this line do pretty well, professionally. But as teachers, do we really think the world would be better if everyone stopped trying to be well-read, to think deep or original thoughts, to work on important problems? Does this not go against something else I was pointed to from this website (a talk by someone at Bell Labs)? There’s no direct contradiction but, well, sort of a different spirit.

  • 2. Peter Klein  |  16 January 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Brian, I agree completely. Narrow, “careerist” objectives can crowd out intrinsic motivation, to the detriment of the student, not to mention the discipline as a whole. (I like Joe Salerno’s distinction between “professional” and “vocational” economists.) On the other hand, understanding such trade-offs is valuable no matter what path one pursues. On the margin, even the most thoughtful and curious of us can benefit, ceteris paribus, from better knowledge of the rules.

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