Chapter 2: The Making of a Global European Economist: Survey Results Summary
2. The making of a global European economist: survey results summary1 Back in the 1980s, Arjo Klamer and I had a radical idea. To understand what is going on in the profession, why not do a survey? That sounds reasonable to most people, but back then, that was not something that economists did. For an economist, it just wasn’t a permissible allowable method of collecting data or of understanding how something works. (When I went to a program to distribute the survey, I was asked by a top economist whether I had left the profession.) Surveys are a bit more acceptable today, as are interviews, but they are still not used enough. For example, Truman Bewley’s courageous book (Bewley, 1999) gets nowhere near the respect it deserves, but the use of the techniques is a bit more common, and doesn’t bring about the same reactions as it did then. Arjo’s and my book (Klamer and Colander, 1990) became well known in the profession and led to the establishment of an American Economic Association (AEA) commission to study the graduate school training. The “COGEE” Commission (Krueger et al., 1991) came to similar, although more nuanced, conclusions to ours. However, neither had any effect on US graduate economic education. More recently, I redid the survey at US schools (Colander, 2006, 2007) and found that in the past decades, graduate economics education had changed. The positive change is that the training had become more empirical; the negative change is that it had become...
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