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View Full Version : Can institutional econ be classified as applied micro?



Elliephant
12-03-2010, 04:49 AM
I am finalising my SOP and the three main interests I am indicating are health, education, and institutions. I'd like to lump all three under the umbrella of applied micro, but am not sure whether this is legitimate for the latter. Thoughts?

On another note, should I just cut the institutional stuff altogether? It's en vogue among certain economists, but I suspect it could have a polarising effect on many adcoms - not something I want.

onetime
12-03-2010, 04:57 AM
Interesting. I'm just writing mine and I too have mentioned institutional economics. I assume you're talking about new institutional economics? If so, I think it's fair to include it as a part of micro economics (then again, it wouldn't be entirely unfair to call macro applied micro!).

I'm grappling with whether to include the institutional stuff too. However, if it's something you're passionate about and can write well on, I think it's good to include it.

Elliephant
12-03-2010, 05:00 AM
I assume you're talking about new institutional economics? If so, I think it's fair to include it as a part of micro economics (then again, it wouldn't be entirely unfair to call macro applied micro!).


Yeah, la Paul Romer's recent work. I don't know that I can actually "write well" on it, so maybe I ought to just stick to more traditional topics.

dreck
12-03-2010, 07:32 PM
This is my less-than-expert opinion:
Institutions in general can be part of macro or micro, just like behavioral economics. Economists in every field are figuring out how to model and deal with institutional effects. Acemoglu et al's Settler Mortality is a good example of the macro side, I think. (Also reading the back and forth between them and David Albouy is pure entertainment.)

As long as you emphasize how your interests in institutions fit into some kind of current research paradigm, I think it's fine to talk about it in the SOP (i.e. mention some papers that you have in mind). You might want to omit it on the applications to schools that have absolutely no faculty doing this kind of work, I'm not sure.

rekovu
12-04-2010, 06:12 AM
Out of curiosity, where are you guys applying that are strong in institutional econ? That's my main interest right now. Off the top of my head I'd think GMU - who are good at everything non mathematical-, WUSTL - if Doug North's influence is still felt there - , and Indiana- since I'd call Ostrom's work pretty institutional.

Elliephant
12-04-2010, 05:21 PM
Out of curiosity, where are you guys applying that are strong in institutional econ? That's my main interest right now. Off the top of my head I'd think GMU - who are good at everything non mathematical-, WUSTL - if Doug North's influence is still felt there - , and Indiana- since I'd call Ostrom's work pretty institutional.

Have a look also at Michigan State.

assgf3
12-04-2010, 09:09 PM
What williamson calls 'institutional environment' = macro
what williamson calls 'institutional arrangements' = micro

dreck
12-05-2010, 05:40 AM
Out of curiosity, where are you guys applying that are strong in institutional econ? That's my main interest right now. Off the top of my head I'd think GMU - who are good at everything non mathematical-, WUSTL - if Doug North's influence is still felt there - , and Indiana- since I'd call Ostrom's work pretty institutional.

OK, an institutional economics and a research interest in the effect of institutions are two different things (yes, there's overlap, etc). The thing is that mainstream economics is getting good at modelling (mathematically) institutional effects, so the distinction is getting blurrier, and that's what I think people mean by new institutional economics. If you mean the traditional institutional econ, then the schools you list are good. But I think the more mainstream approach that incorporates institutions is strong at many of the good orthodox programs in the US.