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Thread: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

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    Guessing from what you've said thus far, you don't actually seem to have any background in economics. Are you a sociology or anthropology major?

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    Re: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

    Quote Originally Posted by fmill019 View Post
    Sorry but are you sure about this? I just got through meeting two economists who work at the IMF who just released a book studying how best to develop the Caribbean as a regional economic super-power! They trekked everything from how to deal with crime, to different energy sources each Caribbean country should tap into to make their region more competitive with the rest of the world.

    Both of them were PhD Economists.
    You said "Should I get an advanced degree in Economics if I want to learn how to develop and grow [an economy]?"

    Writing an analytical book is not even close to the same thing. It's like the difference between making an iphone and making a youtube review of an iphone.

    If you want to learn how to analyze, interpret, and evaluate policy and how to causally identify road blocks to development then you need serious training. Actually doing boots-on-the-ground development work, rather than analyzing what others are doing, is a totally different thing (and the way you asked your question, it seemed like you wanted to do the boots-on-the-ground stuff).

    In either case, a PhD in Economics is not the best route. Get an MPA with a focus on technical skills and you'll be better off. Why waste 6 years in grad school when you could be out there making the world a better place by analyzing the efforts of others?

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    Re: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

    Based on what I read you seem to be interested in the practical side of things. If so, a PhD in Economics is NOT what you want to pursue. Posters above who said otherwise are doing you a disservice. Pick some famous development economist who publish well (Duflo, among others - this is not my field so I have no idea). Do you see them actually make policies? The answer is no, because that's not their job. They may design field experiments that seem to be policy-relevant, but their end goal is to publish, not to "develop and grow (improve the livelihoods) an impoverished region in the world and turn it into a regional super-power, either a city, a state, or a country"

    Given your goal, the best bet is to do a master's degree in public policy or global affairs. Many schools give funding (some even offer full tuition scholarships and stipends) for that, especially if you're from a developing country.

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    Re: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

    Anyway just wanna say I just got back to TM for a few weeks. tm_member is as wise as ever.

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    Re: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

    Quote Originally Posted by applicant12 View Post
    Anyway just wanna say I just got back to TM for a few weeks. tm_member is as wise as ever.
    Why do I even...?

    :-)

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    Re: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

    I'm starting to think the alias "tm_member" is belittling to his stature at this point. Really deserves some kind of honorific besides "member". Maybe "guru".

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    Re: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    I'm starting to think the alias "tm_member" is belittling to his stature at this point. Really deserves some kind of honorific besides "member". Maybe "guru".
    Tried that, didn't work out too well!

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    Re: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

    That was mostly my fault if I recall. Something about American exceptionalism. Which was ironic considering you're American and I'm French.

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    Re: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    That was mostly my fault if I recall. Something about American exceptionalism. Which was ironic considering you're American and I'm French.
    I'm not American!

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    Re: Should I get an advanced degree in Econ if I want to learn how to develop?

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    Guessing from what you've said thus far, you don't actually seem to have any background in economics. Are you a sociology or anthropology major?
    Hi, yes-- I am an Anthropology major.

    Funnily enough, I just got through emailing the web developer for the AEAwebsite trying to get clarification on the difference between JEL Code O10- Econ development and O20- Development policy/planning, and am STILL not understanding the difference in the way he was trying to explain it to me:

    "Re your request for clarification of JEL codes:
    O10 deals with topics related to general areas of economic development, while O20 focuses on matters of policy and planning. So if one were interested in industrial development in Thailand, for instance, the code would be O14 (perhaps cross-classified with L60), but if interested in industrial policy, then O14 would be cross-classified with O25 and L52. Also, matters dealing with developing country macroeconomics would be classified under O10 (and the appropriate E category), but if the topic focused on policy, then O23 would be added.
    We have updated the guide to reflect more accurately the meaning of O10 and distinguish it from O20. Thank you."


    I suppose this must have something to do with my background in Anthropology and the rather strange way we approach things as opposed to the other social sciences. Even our "practitioners" in the discipline don't actually do anything -- as the discipline requires the Anthropologist to distance themselves from their objects of study. So naturally our "practice" is not much different than academic publishing or policy recommendations.

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