My eldest son spent his teenage years saying he was never going to end up as an economist (not that I ever put any pressure on him to choose economics). Then he readby Tim Harford, and became an economist. Next week he starts an MSc course in Economics. Living vicariously, I was looking at the course outline.
It’s 32 years since I was at the same stage in my education, and it is really startling to see how little the curriculum has changed. This is why I organised a conference in 2012 on the economics curriculum (the pre- and post-conference papers are in); and why Wendy Carlin of UCL is launching an initiative to develop a new, open-access undergraduate core curriculum.
Of course, until there is an alternative, most lecturers will carry on doing the same thing as before. Developing a new course by oneself is time-consuming and unrewarded, and the incentives to stick with existing textbooks and problem sets are overwhelming. I was pondering how I might home-school my son for a master’s level course, should he be in the unfortunate position of relying on mum.
For macro, I might be tempted just to give him Tim Harford’s new book,, and the Bank of England’s suite of publications on its model and the Inflation Reports. I don’t see the point of continuing to teach the mathematical general equilibrium and DSGE models, as they are neither true nor useful. I would add, though, endogenous growth theory, via the Aghion and Howitt textbook, . For micro, Sam Bowles’ , Paul Klemper’s and one of the game theory texts – Martin Osborne and Ariel Rubinstein’s ? – supplemented by some business economics texts such as Paul Geroski’s . For econometrics, Angrist and Pischke’s , maybe Clements and Hendry on , and an actual software package.
Needless to say, this train of thought is just me living vicariously. Wouldn’t it be marvellous to be a student again? Meanwhile, my son is forewarned that I’ll be eager to look at his reading lists when he starts his actual course.
[amazon_image id=”0691119252″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Auctions: Theory and Practice (Toulouse Lectures in Economics)[/amazon_image]