Reforming economics graduate education

by on June 9, 2005 at 6:25 am in Education | Permalink

A loyal reader asked me how I would improve economics graduate education.  I suggest the following ideas, only some of which are obviously unworkable:

1. Make everyone take a real class in history of economic thought and also in economic history.  These are vanishing as prerequisites.

2. Make all U.S.-born students spend a month in a rural third world village, preferably one without a shower.

3. Make all third world-born students take two full classes of education in the Western tradition, most of all The Enlightenment.  Make them read Adam Smith, The Federalist Papers, and if possible convert them into Freemasons.

4. Make sure everyone could pass a Chicago school-style oral exam from Aaron Director or a Turing-equivalent.  It is amazing how many current Ph.d. candidates have not learned basic price theory.

My recipe for George Mason, my own school, is different.  Most of the graduate students simply need to work harder.

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