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oavdn17
01-29-2008, 10:45 PM
Hello,
I just read this article and its interesting to hear what some profs. think. As im going through the first year core courses my first thought was that they should be changed, but then after a bit of time i realize its the foundation we need as future economists....Read it and let me know what you think

Economists Call for a Redesign of First-Year Core Courses for Graduate Students (http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i19/19a00901.htm)

pevdoki1
01-29-2008, 10:46 PM
Can't read it (requires membership)

economicus
01-29-2008, 10:51 PM
try this one
Economists Call for a Redesign of First-Year Core Courses for Graduate Students - Chronicle.com (http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i19/19a00901.htm)

Mr.Keen
01-29-2008, 10:55 PM
Thanks for this. Very good to take my mind off admissions at least for the couple of minutes it takes to read it.

sonicskat
01-29-2008, 11:31 PM
Even though I can imagine what it would be like if I didn't take the current classes ---- Bliss --- Its hard to imagine other ways to convey the foundational knowledge of "The first year"

TruDog
01-29-2008, 11:50 PM
I couldn't imagine life without dynamic programming. It's an important skill for us first-years to gain, but I wouldn't mind just one prelim...

commodore
01-29-2008, 11:51 PM
A perfectly valid question is why macro is a required first-year course. You can view macro as a field, just like labor or development. So why is macro so privileged as to have its own spot in the first year where all students must take it? There are certainly things from macro that I'll take and use elsewhere (i.e. dynamic programming), but for the most part the information I learn wlll be discarded after the comps. Any thoughts on this issue?

Golden Rule
01-30-2008, 12:55 AM
I'll share my thoughts... so this was a whole session at AEA, you can find the papers I'm sure from AEAweb.

So I agree 100% that some things you learn in Macro should be part of the Core. Dynamic programming, definitely. Also the techniques you learn in growth economics, Hamiltonians, phase diagrams, etc, etc.

But I agree that beyond that, I don't think it belongs. I don't think topics like optimal monetary policy really belong in the core. So I've taken empirical IO, and certainly dynamic programming is useful for that, but the point is, why should the Macro application of dynamic programming receive favoritsm over a labor application or an IO application or what have you? I felt like one part of my macro core felt more like a field course than a core course, and it was not the best use of my time.

But the parts where we learned the fundamentals of dynamic models were wonderful. I wouldn't have a problem with a core course that had a quarter where you did a couple weeks each on a variety of applications, and split it between the various fields that I just mentioned.

ekonomiks
01-30-2008, 01:03 AM
You can learn dynamic programming in a class called Mathematical Economics. For me, Macro is basically Micro, applied to problems that I'm not interested in.

studentecon
01-30-2008, 01:04 AM
A perfectly valid question is why macro is a required first-year course. You can view macro as a field, just like labor or development. So why is macro so privileged as to have its own spot in the first year where all students must take it? There are certainly things from macro that I'll take and use elsewhere (i.e. dynamic programming), but for the most part the information I learn wlll be discarded after the comps. Any thoughts on this issue?

I agree (and I am more of a macro than micro-person). In my opinion, the fundamental skills that one needs from the first year are basic micro (choice theory, game theory, GE, informational economics), certainly statistics, many applied and some theoretical econometrics, dynamic programming, and some working knowledge of STATA, MATLAB or other softwares. Dynamic programming could be taught as part of a one semester course called ''math econ'' or something like that. Useful models in macro such as the infinite horizon stochastic model and A-D prices could be taught in the micro sequence, mainly as part of the GE part or even in a separate module. The great diversity across schools in the first year material of the macro sequence reveals that there are so many different sub-fields within macro, and each is important in some respect (monetary economics, growth, information, fiscal policy, search and labor, political economics, international finance, asset pricing, etc). It might be better if these topics are taught in specialized courses in the second year.

macroeconomicus
01-30-2008, 01:11 AM
A perfectly valid question is why macro is a required first-year course. You can view macro as a field, just like labor or development. So why is macro so privileged as to have its own spot in the first year where all students must take it? There are certainly things from macro that I'll take and use elsewhere (i.e. dynamic programming), but for the most part the information I learn wlll be discarded after the comps. Any thoughts on this issue?


I have read the article, and it my opinion the question of macro is the most interesting one too.

My guess is that the goal of the core courses is to survey all of economic theory, starting from individual behavior and ending with the aggregate economy.. Another good reason to require the macro sequence is because a lot of people don't know which field they will end up eventually picking and it seems like macro theory is complex and heavy enough that starting to learn it during year 2 might be problematic. Certainly, there is a question about what good does this do to people who will not work in any subject that's nowhere near macroeconomics. Perhaps they could benefit from taking other courses instead? Something outside of economics department perhaps, because most other courses assume you know already something about micro theory and such. For example, at Caltech they don't teach macroeconomics. Students take courses in political theory and something else instead.

fp3690
01-30-2008, 01:11 AM
I have yet to study PhD macro, so I don't have an opinion on that. However, if macro really is left out of core curriculum, then it should be that field specialisation rise from two (as is usually now) to three, compensating for the loss of macro. The idea is that, having taken lots of core macro and micro, current and past students have the ability on catching up and be productive in fields in which they didn't specialise. This advantage will be lost if macro is scrapped, with this gap being easily filled by increasing the number of fields.

IntEcon80
01-30-2008, 04:10 AM
I am a macro guy, I can see most of you guys wish you never had to take macro lol. I wish only one, yes one, course in micro is required instead of two.

notacolour
01-30-2008, 04:28 AM
This is why I'm glad I went to a PhD program that doesn't require macro, but simply teaches the useful stuff usually taught in that course (mostly intertemporal) as more applied micro theory. Instead, we take a ton of applied econometrics, which will be far more useful for actual research than macro. At least for applied microeconomists...

economicus
01-30-2008, 10:49 PM
I don't know... but I am spending my nights on dynare and matlab...for macro and micro ....GE ...Nucleolus, Shapley theorems, ...and so one. and on .. sleeping time is shortened...but at the end of my day when I ask myself what my time was spent on...I just can't help but think it was spent on unimportant things...and I am actually not alone.

08Applicant
01-30-2008, 11:21 PM
A perfectly valid question is why macro is a required first-year course. You can view macro as a field, just like labor or development. So why is macro so privileged as to have its own spot in the first year where all students must take it? There are certainly things from macro that I'll take and use elsewhere (i.e. dynamic programming), but for the most part the information I learn wlll be discarded after the comps. Any thoughts on this issue?

When I saw the title of the link I thought to myself, "no more macro, no more macro." I was thrilled when I read exactly that.

I like everything Athey and Glaeser said. Now I'm more inclined to accept the offer I'm sure to receive from Harvard in the coming weeks. (It's that kind of outrageous hubris that makes the next two months bareable)