The Making of a European Economist

The Making of a European Economist

David Colander

David Colander’s highly original and thought provoking book considers ongoing changes in graduate European economics education. Following up on his earlier classic studies of US graduate economic education, he studies the ‘economist production function’ in which universities take student ‘raw material’ and transform it into economists, In doing so he provides insight into economists and economics.

Chapter 1: Introduction

David Colander

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of education, history of economic thought, methodology of economics, teaching economics, education, economics of education, teaching and learning

Extract

I am an economist watcher. By that I mean that I follow what economists do, not in any deep sense of studying the formal methodology of economists, but simply observing, thinking about what happens, and writing about it. One of the most important aspects of economics that I focus on is the making of an economist. The reason this subject is important is that people are not born as economists; they are “produced” by universities that take student raw material and transform it into “economists.” Over the last 20 years, I have explored the graduate economics education production process in the United States through a series of surveys and interviews of students at top US schools (Colander and Klamer, 1987; Colander, 2006, 2007). In this book, I use that same approach to consider graduate education at a subset of top European graduate economics programs that have designed, or are in the process of designing, their programs to be similar to US programs. I call these programs “global economic programs,” by which I mean that they are designed to be similar to top programs throughout the globe, and they see themselves as training economists in the same way as do other “global programs.” Typically, these global programs are designed to mimic US-style programs, and my first inclination was to call these programs US-style programs. I decided against that because economics has gone global, and there is nothing particularly US focused in modern global economics. By that I mean that US programs...