Sponsored Ad:
See the top rated post in this thread. Click here

Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 32

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

  1. #21
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    13
    Rep Power
    2


    Good post? Yes | No

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

    Sponsored Ad:
    Oh wow! thank you so much everyone! Sorry for being so late coming back to this thread! School has been kicking my tail recently! I will come back and respond asap!

  2. #22
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    13
    Rep Power
    2


    Good post? Yes | No

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

    Quote Originally Posted by tm_member View Post
    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?
    Thanks for this! I think I'm finally starting to understand. A development policy analyst is pretty much a spectator on the sidelines separate from the activity with no skin in the game, while a development practitioner could pretty much only be a politician that wields enough influence and power to make substantive changes in the local economy?

    Interesting! I always envisioned the analyst as the proper subset of the practitioner-- so that they were virtually one and the same. So for instance a politician, in say Jamaica, who wanted to increase jobs would already have a team of analysts who would then analyze, interpret, and evaluate the best strategy for doing so. Or at least the politician would consult an economist and then proceed forward with whatever economic plan(s) the economist would give them. This latter role is what I was looking for.

    But from the way it sounds, this is not usually the case?

  3. #23
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    13
    Rep Power
    2


    Good post? Yes | No

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

    Quote Originally Posted by tm_member View Post


    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?
    So an MPA is good for either being an analyst or a practitioner? I've always heard that when it comes down to MPA vs. Econ.. that the Econ should be chosen because it is always more rigorous, and versatile.

  4. #24
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    13
    Rep Power
    2


    Good post? Yes | No

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

    Quote Originally Posted by applicant12 View Post
    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.
    Oh, thank you so much!

    So the PhD in Economics would be a mistake as the emphasis would be on "publish or perish" and not about getting to the bottom of my real substantive interests or issues I would be looking to probe?

    It's actually interesting because taking a look at some of the people whose work I love (Joseph Stiglitz, Daron Acemoglu) I would have never gotten this impression but I guess it makes sense! Both of those guys push out tons of work-- and I am not sure the "publish or perish" mindset would allot me enough time to really dig in deep into my work like I would like. Kind of ironic though, as I could have sworn the PhD was pretty much crafted for people who wanted to do deep research.

    My only worry is that MPA would be too easy and nowhere near enough of a challenge and not rigorous like Economics would be. I've already had enough fluff Anthropology/Sociology courses in my undergrad.
    If you don't mind me asking, what MPA program out there is considered the best/hardest? I'm getting ready to take Real Analysis next semester and I would love to be in a MPA program that's going to kick my *** as much as RA will, if not more!

  5. #25
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    13
    Rep Power
    2


    Good post? Yes | No

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

    Oh! One last thing! MPP/MPA- that's only good for the public sector, correct? But what about the private sector? Surely there is much more in the way of a country's economic "development" than can be controlled or even initiated by the government!

    Will an MPA/MPP hamper my ability at thinking outside of the "let's-rely-on-the-government" box? Too many anthropologists and sociologists already rely too strongly on the state for delivering solutions. Is this not yet another argument for Econ over PP/PA?

  6. #26
    Within my grasp!
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    256
    Rep Power
    11


    Good post? Yes | No

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fmill019 View Post
    So an MPA is good for either being an analyst or a practitioner? I've always heard that when it comes down to MPA vs. Econ.. that the Econ should be chosen because it is always more rigorous, and versatile.
    The rigor of MPA programs varies from school to school but some are quite rigorous. The Harvard MPA/ID is more rigorous than many US MA in econ programs.

    It may be true that for analyst jobs in development an econ PhD will usually be chosen over an MPA (I have no idea if this is true but it makes sense), but that does not mean that a well trained MPA from a rigorous program can't get an analyst job. However if you are interested in practical development and not an academic research career the opportunity costs of going for an econ PhD are too high. You are an anthropology major which means you likely have no math background. Taking the minimum necessary math classes just to be competitive for even lower tier econ PhD programs will likely take 1-2 years. Then an econ PhD will be 5-6 years beyond that and your training is directed towards academic research not practical development. An MPA is a 2 year program, and while some require 2 years of relevant work experience, many do not and the training (and prior work experience) is directed toward your interests.

    As far as working private sector, a lot of MPA/MPP grads work in private sector or semi-public sector, mostly for NGO's, IGO's or think tanks and some do work for corporations or consulting firms. For example, Harvard MPA/ID class of 2016 had 64 graduating students (12 of them joint MBA) and approximately 3/4's went to work for NGO's, think tanks, IGO's or corporations. The MPP that year had 196 students (41 doing joint programs of various types) and had similar percentage who went to work for such jobs though employment was more slanted toward the private sector and less toward IGO's relative to the MPA/ID.

  7. #27
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    13
    Rep Power
    2


    Good post? Yes | No

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

    Apologies... but I swear I made two posts in this thread that are now deleted. One in response to "tm_member" and the other in response to "applicant12" but they are both missing!

    Shame really as both went into a bit more detail about my background... but to reply back to you zshfryoh, I've actually taken math all the way up to Linear Algebra and was getting ready to take Real Analysis until my funding ran out. I was previously a math major (as well as stats major and a bio major and a chem major) before I pursued sociology and then anthropology.
    Until I can get some funding I plan on starting some free MIT Opencourseware in Real Analysis in the meantime. I also need to brush up on my R skills that I used two years ago but have forgotten since-- but I think I will scrap that and go for Python instead.
    Sorry for the ramble but that's the extent of my background.

    Quote Originally Posted by zshfryoh1 View Post
    The rigor of MPA programs varies from school to school but some are quite rigorous. The Harvard MPA/ID is more rigorous than many US MA in econ programs.
    Are you sure about this? From the looks of this forum Real Analysis, Probability Theory and Topology are standard undergrad topics that pretty much all prospective Econ MA students need to master before even applying to grad school. I just can't see an MPA being rigorous enough to even require those same hefty barriers to entry, let alone standard grad school courses that carry textbooks like Mas Colell, which give even qualified PhD students problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by zshfryoh1 View Post
    may be true that for analyst jobs in development an econ PhD will usually be chosen over an MPA (I have no idea if this is true but it makes sense),
    And this is honestly what scares me. The fact there is something inherently more valuable to having an Econ PhD when it comes to being an analyst must count for something. I imagine it must be the expert training that Econ students have over fluffy MPA students.

    Quote Originally Posted by zshfryoh1 View Post
    if you are interested in practical development and not an academic research career the opportunity costs of going for an econ PhD are too high. You are an anthropology major which means you likely have no math background. Taking the minimum necessary math classes just to be competitive for even lower tier econ PhD programs will likely take 1-2 years. Then an econ PhD will be 5-6 years beyond that and your training is directed towards academic research not practical development. An MPA is a 2 year program, and while some require 2 years of relevant work experience, many do not and the training (and prior work experience) is directed toward your interests.
    I guess I'm really having a hard time understanding the differences between "academic research" and "practical development". It's a shame that my reply to "tm_member" was deleted because in that post to him I had already expounded on my confusion but I guess I might as well repeat it here as well.

    Part of the reason why I am confused about "Academic research" and "practical development" is that both want to understand how economies grow and seek to elucidate the steps a certain country or region of the world should take in order to best develop themselves (this is what I've read from Stiglitz, Acemoglu, etc). And both must use some method of investigation in order to analyze and come up with a strategy of how to do so before laying down any plans. In this sense-- I am not understanding how this form of analysis can be readily separated into the dichotomy of "academic" versus "practical". Unless this is totally not the way practical developers go about their routine.

    But I really love your last line about being able to take whatever I want with the MPA as it will be directed at my interests. I would definitely swing towards the harder Econ courses. I've gotten enough fluff from my undergrad Anthropology degree.

  8. #28
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    13
    Rep Power
    2


    Good post? Yes | No

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

    Can someone please tell me why my posts are disappearing?! This is the third post I've written that refuses to show up! What gives?

  9. #29
    TestMagic Guru Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    2,752
    Rep Power
    22


    Good post? Yes | No

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fmill019 View Post
    Can someone please tell me why my posts are disappearing?! This is the third post I've written that refuses to show up! What gives?
    Until you have some number of posts (not sure on the cut off) any post with a quote requires approval. I get to them when I can.

    It sounds to me that your ideal job would (eventually) be something like being on or the head of a council of economic advisors in a developing country. That council would have teams of staff who do the day-to-day data work and you would like to start your career as one of those "staff" people. A couple of points...

    1. Your idea of what that job actually would involve is not accurate. You're imagining late nights formulating policy - the "right" taxes, new investment credits, figuring out the "best" infrastructure projects, and so on. The reality is that you'll spend most of your time reviewing budgets and being asked (or forced) to write reports that show economic support for decisions that have already been made.

    2. Because the role does not involve the kind of "optimal policy-making" you imagine, there is no ideal preparation: you need some mix of political, statistical, managerial, and psychological abilities. There might be some economics in there occasionally, but anyone who takes economics seriously appreciates that very little of human life or economic activity can be planned or designed.

    Some books that might be helpful to your understanding of development: The Idealist by Nina Munk and The Tyranny of Experts by William Easterly.
    Last edited by tm_member; 04-30-2018 at 11:41 AM.

  10. #30
    Within my grasp!
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    256
    Rep Power
    11


    Good post? Yes | No

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fmill019 View Post
    Are you sure about this? From the looks of this forum Real Analysis, Probability Theory and Topology are standard undergrad topics that pretty much all prospective Econ MA students need to master before even applying to grad school. I just can't see an MPA being rigorous enough to even require those same hefty barriers to entry, let alone standard grad school courses that carry textbooks like Mas Colell, which give even qualified PhD students problems.
    I think you are confusing MA in Econ and PhD in Econ. Most US MA Econ programs (Europe is different) are basically cash cow MA's in applied economic analysis or applied econometrics and use Varian or Jehle and Reny or a similar text (not MWG) as the standard Micro text. As such most US MA programs only require 1-2 semesters of Calc and perhaps 1-2 semesters stats/econometrics as a pre-req. Any necessary math beyond that is taught in the program. A few prefer students enter with Multivariable Calc or Lin Alg but almost none require it. The coursework in microeconomics and econometrics at the better, more rigorous MPA or MPP programs will be similar to that.

    Even for PhD programs, while RA is necessary for most good programs it is possible (though it is getting increasingly harder) to get into a decent top 75 program without it and Prob Theory is useful but not absolutely necessary. Topology is not necessary unless perhaps you are interested theory and applying to a top program, though taking it and doing well will help on an application. If you take a look at profiles here of people who got into top 20 Econ PhD programs you will see that all will have RA, most will have either a Prob Theory class or a serious Econometrics class but less than half will have Topology.

Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Grad Math Econ + Advanced Calc I vs. Advanced Calc series
    By philecon in forum PhD in Economics
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 09-03-2008, 05:42 PM
  2. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 04-18-2007, 11:12 PM
  3. Veterinarian with an advanced degree for GMAT
    By anandsebastin in forum Introductions
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-10-2006, 02:29 AM
  4. 098 Every person who earned an advanced degree in science or
    By Erin in forum GMAT AWA: Analysis of an Argument
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-30-2003, 03:50 PM
  5. 102 An advanced degree may help someone get a particular job
    By Erin in forum GMAT AWA: Analysis of an Issue
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-29-2003, 08:35 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •