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 10: Oxford Interview

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


This interview was with four students, from different backgrounds including British, Western European and US. They are upper-level students in their third through fifth year. INTERVIEW There are four men here; would you consider yourself a representative sample of the department, and if not in what way would you differ? Do we all know the department coordinator? [Laughter] [Editor’s note: the department coordinator was extremely helpful in setting up the interviews.] How did you get into economics? I applied for politics, philosophy, and economics as an undergraduate study here intending to drop economics after my first year. But I really enjoyed the economics and carried on with it. I also enjoyed the philosophy, so I meandered into getting an MPhil in philosophy at another school where the MPhil was strongly economics based. Then I did some work in London, which was more economics based, so it was not such a jump into economics. Then I got a fellowship here at Oxford, and I came back here to do the MPhil and DPhil in economics. I went into a program in economics and law. I enjoyed both, but I felt that I was more interested in the economics. I finished the degree and then I came here to do the MPhil and DPhil. I went to an American university as an undergraduate. I wasn’t certain that I was going into economics originally. I really enjoyed physics, but I did major in economics. After graduating, I wasn’t really ready to consider graduate...

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