What real world experiences should an economist have?

1. Go live in a very poor country for a while, and I don’t mean in the fancy part of town.

2. Go live in a wealthy but distant country for a while.  Canada doesn’t count.

3. Try raising some money for your university or non-profit and maintain regular contact with the donors for a period of years.

4. Try meeting a payroll for at least twelve months.

5. Work for a short period of time (or longer) on a trading floor or rapid-fire trading environment of some kind.

6. Testify in court.

7. Consult for a local business; the stupider the owner the better.

8. Work as an editor.

9. Work as a manual laborer; in my case I wrapped produce in a New Jersey supermarket for two years as a teenager.

10. Fire someone, especially someone you like.

11. Spend at least one year in government.

12. Work on at least one major project with a multilateral institution.

I am weakest on #5 and #11, with involvement on #4 but relying on the competent help of others.  The other experiences have all contributed significantly to my views on economics and of course politics.  My lack of #11 truly is a big gap, but I am simply physically unable to put myself in one of those rooms downtown and stay there all day long.  Brad DeLong and Greg Mankiw are stronger he-men than I am.  Much stronger.  Qué lástima!

Surely Arnold Kling can add to this list…


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