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I'm choosing between these two programs, and they both south incredibly fascinating. My interests are development and political economy, and more applied work. I have a larger network on the east coast. I'm 50-50 on whether I want an academic or non-academic research career and going in I'm leaning slightly towards the latter. Anyone in the same boat in previous years and what made you choose the program you did? Or in general, anyone wiling to weigh in?
I’ve been fortunate to have offers from Berkeley ARE and HKS’s Public Policy PhD. I plan on attending Visit Days at both. I worry, though, that I’m still going to feel conflicted even after visiting the two schools. My interests are in environment/development economics and the policy implications of research in those areas. My general impression is that within this field, Berkeley ARE is the gold standard, and the curriculum seems more rigorous overall. However, HKS still has amazing faculty and potentially beats Berkeley in branding. Looking at recent past placements, I think Berkeley ARE places slightly better than HKS. My goal as of right now is to teach at a liberal arts college or work in a regulatory body or at a think tank, so I’m tempted to say I don’t need to worry about marginal differences in placement. Another thought I have is that Harvard as a whole is better funded than Berkeley as a whole. Would this affect opportunities at the graduate school level (ie. being able to attend conferences that are far from campus)? Does this seem accurate? I’d also appreciate suggestions on best questions to ask during Visit Days. Thanks in advance!
Hello, I have offers from Chicago's PhD program in economics and Harvard's public policy PhD at HKS. My interests are mainly in development and applied micro broadly (including health, labor, environmental, empirical IO). Chicago attracts me because of its prestige in academia and its training and strength in economics. However, I heard the program is brutal and mentoring by faculty is lackluster. Recently its faculty seem to be macro/finance/theory focused, which is not my area of interest. Harvard attracts because of its strengths in development, connections to Harvard/MIT econ faculty, and a smaller cohort with more flexibility in coursework. There's also a certain prestige of Harvard broadly, and for any non-academic jobs. However, it is not as prestigious in the economics job market, making it tough to market a Public Policy PhD as opposed to economics. Is there anything (other than quality of life and financials) that I am not considering? Is there a clear (or weakly dominant) winner here? Any thoughts are much appreciated!