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Andronicus
02-20-2008, 04:35 PM
Yesterday I got my first and second offers with actual dollar amounts of funding. Vanderbilt and Pittsburgh are both offering me fellowships of roughly equal (cost of living adjusted) amounts. However, UT-Austin and Ohio State have also nominated me for fellowships. I do not know yet whether I will get them, but the adcom chair at UT-Austin told me I would get some kind of financial aid, even if I don't get the fellowship.

Even though its not required, Pitt has asked for response within 2 weeks, so I wanted to go ahead and find out as much as I could about how their program compares to the others that have admitted me.

My understanding of the relative overall rankings of these schools would place UT-Austin at the top, OSU slightly lower, and Vandy and Pitt roughly tied for third. However, I know some rankings are biased in favor of larger schools, and the NRC effectiveness and quality scores rate all four of the schools pretty similarly. I like the idea of smaller school with a smaller entering class, since that might lead to more individual attention.

My research interests are mostly in applied microeconomics, especially urban/regional economics, public economics, and law & economics. I'm also very interested in experimental methods.

Based on what you know about these programs, is there justification to seriouisly consider choosing Pitt (or Vandy or OSU) over UT-Austin?

bertthepuppy
02-20-2008, 04:39 PM
I've spoken with the grad director of Pitt before. He says most of the faculties interests lie in experimental econ and econometrics. If that's one of your interests that might be a plus. No matter what I think you should visit the cities and departments first. That will definitely help your decision.

pevdoki1
02-20-2008, 04:44 PM
Well, Ohio State just placed a person in NYU (I think OSU should be around the same as Austin in rankings?). I would advise you to visit the departments and see how well they match your interests; in the end what's going to matter is your research.

Olm
02-20-2008, 04:46 PM
Well, Ohio State just placed a person in NYU (I think OSU should be around the same as Austin in rankings?). I would advise you to visit the departments and see how well they match your interests; in the end what's going to matter is your research.

Agreed. And Ohio state was looking to hire some grads from UWO last year for macro... and UWO is ranked quite low for now!

bertthepuppy
02-20-2008, 04:47 PM
Or you could just get a nice, funded offer from Northwestern that would make the decision for you. I understand what you mean about the small departments though. It's good to not get 'lost'.

Mr.Keen
02-20-2008, 04:50 PM
I don't think there are many people doing urban/regional stuff at UT. Then again, I might be wrong since those are far from my interests. I don't know much about Pitt, but I know a Fed economist, Jerry Carlino, who got his PhD from there and he is probably the most respected regional economist in the Fed system.

Andronicus
02-20-2008, 04:52 PM
Or you could just get a nice, funded offer from Northwestern that would make the decision for you. I understand what you mean about the small departments though. It's good to not get 'lost'.

Believe me, I'm checking my status at NWU so often its getting on my wife's nerves.

bertthepuppy
02-20-2008, 04:52 PM
Austin: 300 days of sunshine per year
Pittsburgh: 65 days of sunshine per year.

That's an over-dramatization, but it certainly feels like it sometimes. But I guess in grad school we'll never see the sunshine anyway!

Andronicus
02-20-2008, 04:57 PM
I don't think there are many people doing urban/regional stuff at UT. Then again, I might be wrong since those are far from my interests. I don't know much about Pitt, but I know a Fed economist, Jerry Carlino, who got his PhD from there and he is probably the most respected regional economist in the Fed system.

Richard Dusansky at UT has done a lot of work in urban econ that's right up my alley. Unfortunately, he could retire soon since he got his PhD in 1969.

bertthepuppy
02-20-2008, 04:58 PM
Andronicus does your wife have any say in the decision? i.e. does she prefer Nashville to Austin, etc...?

Palimpsest
02-20-2008, 05:03 PM
My research interests are mostly in applied microeconomics, especially urban/regional economics, public economics, and law & economics.

I'm not exactly sure how Vandy works in terms of reaching over to the Law School, but if L&E is a big interest of yours, you might check out Kip Viscusi (http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/faculty-detail/index.aspx?faculty_id=196), who arrived somewhat recently.

Andronicus
02-20-2008, 05:04 PM
Andronicus does your wife have any say in the decision? i.e. does she prefer Nashville to Austin, etc...?

She says she'll be happy with wherever we end up. When I was selecting schools to apply to, I made sure they were all in places we could enjoy living for 4-6 years. However, I know she does particularly favor Nashville, since its at a nice central location between her family in Memphis and Louisville.

bertthepuppy
02-20-2008, 05:12 PM
Is the Pitt Fellowship > Vandy Fellowship? That could be a simple way to narrow down the field a little.

Andronicus
02-20-2008, 05:16 PM
Is the Pitt Fellowship > Vandy Fellowship? That could be a simple way to narrow down the field a little.

In nominal dollars, yes. However, the Vandy fellowship includes health insurance (Pitt doesn't) and its cheaper to live in Nashville than Pittsburgh. Adjusting for these factors (using Cost of Living - Cost of Living Calculator from CNNMoney (http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/costofliving/costofliving.html)), the Vandy fellowship comes out ahead by about $300/year, which is not enough to tilt the balance I think.

adnormous
02-20-2008, 05:53 PM
Andronicus: I guess I share the similar experience with you. I am also admitted by Ohio State with fellowship nomination and Pittsburgh with actual scholarship. My interest is experimental economics and behavioral economics. I guess one of the biggest advantage of U Pittsburgh is that it right next to CMU, and students can share some teaching resources together(for instance, they can choose Behavioral Economics by Lowenstein, that is what I was told). Would you please see whether it is the case during the campus visit? (I am now in Europe, so I cannot go)...

bertthepuppy
02-20-2008, 06:25 PM
CMU and Pitt are a 10 minute walk from each other. This could definitely be a possibility. All Pitt/CMU students take each others courses (especially Pitt business school finance PhDs often go to CMU for Econometrics sequences).

Also, which is more valuable, finishing in the middle of a program like UT or Ohio State or finishing at the top of Vanderbilt or Pitt? That's something I've been pondering as well.

breakz
02-20-2008, 06:29 PM
I'm not exactly sure how Vandy works in terms of reaching over to the Law School, but if L&E is a big interest of yours, you might check out Kip Viscusi (http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/faculty-detail/index.aspx?faculty_id=196), who arrived somewhat recently.

I'm going to second this, and add: among the stated goals of their L&E program (from what I learned this summer) is the desire to place grads in the best law schools imaginable (as L&E professors, not students).

zjhtqf
02-20-2008, 06:44 PM
If you like macro, IO or labor, you should choose Austin. One thing is that you might not be quite sure about your interests two years later, different program will lead you to different interests.

adnormous
02-20-2008, 09:33 PM
If I am interested in behavioral economics and experimental economics(especially behavior experiments) for sure, which school suits me better:Ohio State or Pittsburgh?

Andronicus
02-21-2008, 02:59 AM
If I am interested in behavioral economics and experimental economics(especially behavior experiments) for sure, which school suits me better:Ohio State or Pittsburgh?

Pitt offers experimental econ as a field, but I don't know about behavioral economics there. This link shows some of the recent experiments they've been doing at Pitt: Pittsburgh Experimental Economics Lab | Research (http://www.peel.pitt.edu/research.html#workingpapers)

John Kagel and Dan Levin at OSU both do experimental economics.