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 12: Conclusion: How Should Economists be ‘Made’?

David Colander


12. Conclusion: how should economists be “made”? My interest in studying graduate economics education in Europe is not prurient. As should be clear from my introductory chapter, I have definite views on what graduate economics education should be. I study graduate economics education to try to understand better why it is the way it is, and how it can be changed. I am, however, no utopian reformer. I fully recognize that institutions do not change easily, and that there is an inertia in institutions. Generally, change occurs only when it is forced upon institutions from outside or inside pressure. For the US economics profession that means little change is to be expected. US programs are doing acceptably well, and they are unlikely to change. The US economics profession will eventually change, though, because the development of alternative global economics will challenge US supremacy in graduate economics. To date, US programs have not faced serious global competition. However, over the coming decade the same global pressures that hit US manufacturing will likely hit US graduate economics programs. That pressure will force change in US programs as foreign students, who currently make up 60 to 70 percent of the demand for US graduate economics programs, start choosing to go elsewhere, not as their second choice, as happens now, but as their first choice. Europe is of special interest because it is the most likely contender for dominance in global economics. European policy-makers are now making a push for European economics to regain...

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