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teardrop
02-17-2008, 07:22 PM
When I was writing my proposal for a diss, I was told that mine was out of date. Is there such thing? I was told that the trendy topics now are about the Middle East, technology and finance. Is there a greater chance of finding a job with a trendy topic than by doing your own thing?
This may be a far-fetched topic given the discussion here but hopefully would be of interest to some.

asquare
02-18-2008, 06:27 PM
I don't think that makes sense at all! First of all, what is "trendy" depends a lot on your field. For example, none of the things you mentioned would make any sense for a labor economist. Second, it doesn't make sense to write a dissertation on a "trendy" topic. Trends change, and if you aim for something popular right now, you run the risk of being scooped by another author. And if you are worried about the job market, well, it's very hard to predict which fields will be in demand in a couple of years, never mind which specific topics.

You don't want to work on a question that is considered completely settled, or to use a methodology that is out of date. Beyond that, I think you should study what interests you, and what you are in a position to do well. If you have a comparative advantage in a particular line of research, great. But the idea of trends as a guide to choosing a dissertation topic seems misguided to me.

buckykatt
02-18-2008, 06:37 PM
I suspect that your preference ordering ought to look like this: great dissertation on a trendy topic > great dissertation on a non-trendy topic > not-great dissertation on a trendy topic...

macroeconomicus
02-18-2008, 06:40 PM
I don't know of this analogy applies to research, but by the time you learn from everyone else that a certain asset is "hot", you know that by then you have missed the opportunity to make profit from it..

israelecon
02-19-2008, 11:57 AM
I don't know of this analogy applies to research, but by the time you learn from everyone else that a certain asset is "hot", you know that by then you have missed the opportunity to make profit from it..

btw, its called a cobweb effect. basically when demand is up more suppliers enter because of the increased opportunity for profit, and then because of excess supply prices go down and suppliers leave causing the price to go up again etc. the problem is that reaction time is slow so you never reach an equilibrium. its called a cobweb because if you draw on a supply-demand graph the point of production it moves in spirals inwards (supposedly after this cycle happens a few time there is convergence to the equilibrium) and the graph you get looks like a cobweb.

reactor
02-19-2008, 01:10 PM
For example I was told by a well-published prof. that auctions are not "sexy". Another prof. told me that general equilibrium has "closed" as a theory topic since almost everything that could be proved has been proved. A prof. and editor of a top 5 econ. theory journal (not applied or empirical sutff) told me that an idea of mine (for extension) and Poisson games in general have very narrow audience and thus not much interest (see: games and economic behavior Jan'08 issue).
Mechanism design is supposed to be "hot" but of course we need to specify more the topic. :)

As always a dissertation has to add to the literature and not only to the knowledge of the author i.e. it has to be new for you and for all others.
Also a contribution has to justify itself i.e. its meaningfulness; why is your contribution important?
In general (in the literature) we do not value plethora/variety just for the shake of variety. If you solve a problem in a different way then you have to justify why we should use your way instead of the already existing one. If you explain something in a different way then you should say what kind of insights does your explanation help reveal? etc