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Thread: Need some good advice

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Need some good advice

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    I'm really sorry If this isn't the right place to post It.

    I'm 20 years old and I'm a freshman at a well-known university of my country.
    Since my 16 I started to have the desire for being an academic economist with outstanding contributions to the subject some day and this did last through all this years. But searching for the regular faculty of top departments and grad students of top graduate schools I always end up seeing people in those places always had prior outstanding educational background since childhood nor are rich which is definitely not my case. I confess It's really bothering me and seems like I ain't never gonna reach my goals...

    PS: A bunch of students had been accepted into top programs over the past few years after a master degree, but they're part of this select group of top students with prior elite education.


    Do you guys have some advice for me about this specific issue of my life? Do the things really works like this or am I wrong? Is It worth trying to be too ambicious without some "nerdy" past?

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage applicant12's Avatar
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    Re: Need some good advice

    If you think economics works like a meritocracy, then you're wrong.

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    economist
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    Re: Need some good advice

    It is true that many successful economists had a "head start." Same is true for lawyers, doctors, and politicians. But not all.

    If you do truly excellent work, odds are pretty good it will be recognized.

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    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Need some good advice

    Quote Originally Posted by applicant12 View Post
    If you think economics works like a meritocracy, then you're wrong.
    Can you please elabore?

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    Re: Need some good advice

    I have some examples of people who suceed even not starting earlier, but seems like It's one in a million

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    Re: Need some good advice

    It is true that there is a pedigree bias in economics. Tyler Cowen mentioned this(Pedigree bias in economics - Marginal REVOLUTION).

    But that does not mean that going to top phd programs by starting to prepare for grad schools in top undergrad schools is the only way to success. Think of John List of UChicago. He received his phd degree from Wyoming University.

    I have no idea which programs you looked at, but I know of many economists not having "stellar" academic background you assume. Roland Fryer of Harvard went to UT-Arlington as an undergrad and is a Penn State phd. Nathan Nunn of Harvard is Toronto phd. Thomas Fujiwara of Princeton is UBC phd. Gabriel Zucman of UC Berkeley is Paris School of Economic phd. All of those schools are really great places, but getting admission from there is doable if you are a freshman you are committed to studying economics for several years.

    Plus, take a look at Table 1 of this paper(pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.28.3.205).
    The publication records of top 10 percent of UT-Austin or UC-Davis graduates is better than that of median Harvard or MIT phds.
    Last edited by stero; 09-12-2018 at 09:54 PM.

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