Just pick based on where you'd like to live. Five/Six years is a pretty long time.
I was wondering what peoples' thoughts are between Michigan's and Brown's programs for someone interested in Development and Political Economy (applied micro), and maybe some of the firm side of IO/trade (contracting & market power) and possibly history?
It seems to me that placements are better generally from Michigan, but that there are concerns about the some senior faculty possibly leaving (don't know how much of that is rumor vs reality), the IO group has basically all left, and the political economy group is only in the poli sci department (does that matter? there are Econ Ph.D.s there)
On the other hand, Brown has a slightly worse track record historically, but does have some exciting new people in IO (Jesse Shapiro) and Dev (Dan Bjorkeregen), and a strong history in Dev and Political Economy (Dal Bo). Additionally, it is on the East Coast so likely more interaction with Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton, etc. It seems to me that they are prioritizing Econ going forward.
At both places, faculty and students seem accessible and excited, so fit/culture doesn't really seem to be an issue either place.
Is Michigan's IO department really in such tatters now? Depending on what happens with them getting back to me, I might have to decide between them and OSU (which would seem an obvious choice given their difference in rankings, except for the fact that OSU might actually have an IO department...)
Of the two big IO people, Ackerberg and Fan, Ackerberg is for sure leaving, but Fan may or may not leave. That said, they may hire new people lpus have one IO junior starting next year. Unclear what the future holds. Probably will make some new hires, but unclear at what level I think
Visited Brown last week, super friendly environment and beautiful campus. The city looks a bit boring, but has all the basics plus it is 1 hour away from Boston. Given your interests, it is really tough to find a better place than Brown out of top 10. I dont know much about Michigan, but I seriously doubt they can dominate the group at Brown. Regarding Ann Arbor, look closely at weather conditions, i think they are much worse there.
I was in a rush when I wrote my earlier post. Seriously though, you should make this choice on location. Your ability to predict your research interests in advance is not likely to be very good. In this case, even if those interests were absolutely certain, Michigan and Brown are both top 20 programs and both have pros and cons that are multi-dimensional and hard to rank. Given that, and given it'll likely take six years, I'd choose based on location alone.
WWCBD: What Would Colonel Blotto Do?
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