The Making of a European Economist
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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.
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Chapter 4: What Students Like and Dislike about Graduate Work in Economics

David Colander


Two further questions I asked students was what they liked and disliked about graduate school. The hope here was to see if any themes were emphasized, and to sample the general feeling of the students about their studies and the program. As with the other questions, the questions were open-ended by design to see what aspects students chose to mention. A few themes did show up. Specifically, the students ranked freedom to study what they wanted high on the list. The students also liked the quality of the teaching, and the entire process of graduate school—learning a set of tools that they believe will be useful in their careers and in finding answers to economic questions. The dislikes were, of course, there, but the lists of dislikes were well within the range of dislikes that I would expect to get from any large collection of students when I ask them about programs they were in. These “dislikes” often focused on bureaucratic problems at specific schools or on the lack of supervision by faculty. In general, I interpret the combination of likes and dislikes as a positive statement about the way economics is structured and done at these programs. They could do it better, but the students are calling for changes at the margin, not for wholesale changes. What do students like about graduate work in economics? ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● The flexibility to pursue my own academic interests in my own time. Being able to choose the items I want to study. In...

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