View Full Version : Help prepairing for a phd (Behavioral/Experimental Economics)

04-01-2012, 08:18 PM

I am an older re-entry student (27 years old), and have applied for a transfer to UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, and USC for my undergrad in economics.

Based on recommendations for preparing for graduate school, I will be pursuing a joint Econ/Math degree. I am having trouble choosing a school for my undergrad that has behavioral/experimental courses. So far my rankings for the school are as follows:

1.UC Berkeley

Does taking undergrad courses in behavioral/experimental economics help in grad school? Does the school I complete my undergrad at play a significant role in my grad school admission? Any advice will help me greatly in my decision.

UCSD seems to have cancelled their Behavioral & experimental courses, UCLA doesn't have any. Berkeley seems to have some courses. Thank you for any comments you may have.

(side note: I do know about the importance of research, math, etc.)

04-01-2012, 09:28 PM
Of the several things I did during undergrad to prepare for graduate work in behavioral economics, I would say that the two most helpful were volunteering in a psychology lab and attending the SJDM conference. Working in a psych lab, I learned a lot about the mechanics of doing experiments with people, and the resulting constraints on the sorts of experiments one can do. SJDM pulls a really neat interdisciplinary crowd of people doing various sorts of experiments and other work on decision making.

I took an undergraduate course in behavioral economics which consisted mainly of reading papers and discussing them. Given my interest prior to taking the course, I was more invested and prepared than most of my classmates, so I didn't really get much out of the class that I wouldn't have gotten from just reading the papers. Your experience may be different.

PM if you'd like more specific recommendations or more details about my experience.

04-02-2012, 11:58 AM
1. Yes. I designed an experiment in my undergraduate experimental econ class. It looks good so it became a joint project with my professor. We finished the experiment and presented it in ESA conference. These are solid signals, plus there are quite some network opportunities in ESA.
2. I also suggest you take the micro sequence. Glad-level micro and game theory definitely helps. Macro and metrics are less important so you can focus on micro.
3. Of all the schools you listed, I will rank them exactly as you did.