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How to reform the economics Ph.D — Tyler Cowen

Summary:
Along those lines, I have a modest proposal. Eliminate the economics Ph.D, period. Offer everyone three years of graduate economics education, and no more (with a clock reset allowed for pregnancy). Did Smith, Keynes, or Hayek have an economics Ph.D? This way, no one will assume you know what you are talking about, and the underlying message is that economics learning is lifelong. Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek were philosophers, and Keynes was a mathematician. Karl Marx, who goes unmentioned even though he influenced the modern world as much as any other, if not more, was also a philosopher.  All of them influenced economics and also changed the world more profoundly more than any academic economist.  Conversely, Kenneth Boulding was an economist. Dissatisfied with the direction

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Along those lines, I have a modest proposal. Eliminate the economics Ph.D, period. Offer everyone three years of graduate economics education, and no more (with a clock reset allowed for pregnancy). Did Smith, Keynes, or Hayek have an economics Ph.D? This way, no one will assume you know what you are talking about, and the underlying message is that economics learning is lifelong.
Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek were philosophers, and Keynes was a mathematician. Karl Marx, who goes unmentioned even though he influenced the modern world as much as any other, if not more, was also a philosopher. 

All of them influenced economics and also changed the world more profoundly more than any academic economist.  Conversely, Kenneth Boulding was an economist. Dissatisfied with the direction of academic economics, he became a philosopher and co-founded general systems theory.

Ok, these were outliers. Economic training is needed to do the day to day, nitty gritty.

But just what kind of training and how much is needed to do work in economics, including work that is contributory to knowledge? How would that be measured? What are the criteria? Are there hidden assumptions?

Tyler Cowen makes some suggestions but shouldn't something as important as this be studied on the basis of data? And as he points out, it likely applies to other fields as well. Are we sticking to a traditional process in education out of habit even though it could be greatly improved upon, as well as reevaluated for current needs? Have we inadvertently sacralized convention?

Marginal Revolution
How to reform the economics Ph.D
Tyler Cowen | Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center
Mike Norman
Mike Norman is an economist and veteran trader whose career has spanned over 30 years on Wall Street. He is a former member and trader on the CME, NYMEX, COMEX and NYFE and he managed money for one of the largest hedge funds and ran a prop trading desk for Credit Suisse.

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