TIPS 4 Economists

 

Applying for PhD programs in economics

  1. American Economic Association (2007) "Graduate Studies in Economics"

  2. New York University (2004) "Applying to the PhD Program in Economics at NYU" - Although this is meant for those applicants interested in NYU, it provides quite a few useful pieces of information for all economics PhD applicants.

  3. Athey (undated) "Advice for Applying to Graduate School in Economics" - as the author is a professor at Harvard (and previously at Stanford and MIT), this advice is useful at least for applying to the top 5 schools .

  4. Rachael Meager (2012) “How to get into a Top 10 Economics PhD Program (from Australia)” Core Economics.

  5. Smith (2013) “If you get a PhD, get an economics PhD” - If you wonder about the merit of obtaining a PhD in economics

  6. Blattman (2010-2013) “Frequently asked questions on PhD applications” - If you are wondering whether you should apply for PhD in economics or in political science.

  7. Blattman (2007) "How to get a PhD *and* save the world" - This piece of writing targets prospective PhD students interested in development economics (and perhaps in other policy-oriented fields of economics).

  8. Mankiw (2013) “Working Before Grad School” - In case you are wondering if you should work for a short period before entering the PhD program.

  9. Mankiw (2010) “Choosing a Graduate Program” - If you receive more than one admission offers.


How to proceed with your PhD life

  1. Ariel Rubinstein (2013) “10 Q&A: Experienced Advice for “Lost” Graduate Students in Economics” Journal of Economic Education, 44(3): 193-196. - See Q10 in particular. NEW!!

  2. Pischke (2012) “How to get started on research in economics?” - “Triaging ideas” is especially an important piece of advice.

  3. Creedy (2007) "A PhD Thesis Without Tears" Australian Economic Review, 40(4): 463-470.  (HT: Chris Blattman) -- The link takes you to a working paper version.

  4. Creedy (2001) "Starting Research" Australian Economic Review, 34(1): 116-24. (HT: Chris Blattman)

  5. Dixit (1998) ''My System of Work (Not!)'' in Michael Szenberg ed. Passion and Craft: How Economists Work (University of Michigan Press). - See pages 7-9 on the author's recommended ''habits of work'' as an economist. 

  6. Davis (undated) "If You Want Me to Serve as a Thesis Sponsor or Co-Sponsor..." Although this is the author's personal way of supervising his PhD students, it also helps how you proceed with your PhD life after finishing coursework.

  7. Davis (undated) "PhD Thesis Research: Where Do I Start?" The last half of this note provides tips for PhD life.

  8. Hamermesh (2005) "An Old Male Economist's Advice to young Female Economists" CSWEP Newsletter, Winter 2005, pp. 11-12 - although this is meant for women, quite a few points can apply to men as well.

  9. Tertilt (undated) "Some Advice (and Resources) for Econ Ph.D. Students

  10. Kudamatsu (2007) “Job Market Tips” - This is the set of slides I used when I gave a talk on the job market to PhD students in Stockholm University. Although it is about the job market, it’s actually more about how to proceed with your PhD life from the viewpoint of making your academic job hunting successful.


Choosing a research topic

  1. Ariel Rubinstein (2013) “10 Q&A: Experienced Advice for “Lost” Graduate Students in Economics” Journal of Economic Education, 44(3): 193-196. - See Q1. I think Rubinstein’s answer is very true.

  2. Ross Levine (undated) ''Recommendations for Better Research" (The original seems to have disappears from the web, but someone at Warwick has copied and pasted it.)

  3. Dixit (1998) ''My System of Work (Not!)'' in Michael Szenberg ed. Passion and Craft: How Economists Work (University of Michigan Press). - See page 4.

  4. Jones (undated) "General Advice for Graduate Students at Berkeley" - The paragraphs under the title "On Writing a Thesis:" are useful when you are choosing a topic. (The original page seems to have disappeared, but someone in China has copied and pasted to his/her website.)

  5. David Levine (undated) "David Levine's Cheap Advice for Writing a Dissertation"

  6. Davis (undated) "PhD Thesis Research: Where Do I Start?" The first half of this note deals with how to choose a topic.

  7. Davis (undated) "What Makes for a Successful Paper and Seminar?": This is also useful for choosing a research topic.

  8. Varian (1997) "How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time" - Sections 1 and 2 offer tips for finding a topic.

  9. Jensen (2013) “Choosing Your PhD Topic (and Why it is Important)Australian Economic Review, 46(4): 499-507.


Building a theoretical model

  1. Varian (1997) "How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time" - Sections 4 to 6 explain how to build a theoretical model. (I think sections 3 and 7 are controversial - the literature review should be done before starting to build a model; otherwise your time will be wasted.).


Doing empirical work

  1. Cochrane (2005) "Writing Tips for Ph.D. Students," Section 3 (pp.9-11)

  2. Finkelstein (2007) “An unofficial guide to trying to do empirical work” (MS Powerpoint file). The 2006 version is here (MS Powerpoint file).

  3. McKenzie, Karlan, and Yang (2011) “So you want to do an evaluation with an NGO – where do you begin?” Development Impact, 15 April, 2011. *** If you want to do a randomized field experiment ***

  4. Gentzkow and Shapiro (2014) “Code and Data for the Social Sciences: A Practitioner’s Guide.” - The most useful is probably Chapter 5, which helps you organize the data editing process of converting the original data into the one used for regression analysis. Chapters 3 and 8 are useful if you work with your coauthors and RAs. Chapters 6 and 8 and Appendix give you various tips for coding.

  5. Benjamin S. Skrainka (2012?) “Coding Convention for ECON 41701” - A handout for the author’s course at University of Chicago entitled “Software Engineering for Economists”. Section 2.1 on how to name variables can be an eye-opener for you. NEW!!

  6. Einav and Levin (2013) “The Data Revolution and Economic Analysis” NBER Working Paper no. 19035. - To learn new research possibilities opened up by the Big Data. NEW!!

  7. Varian (2014) “Big Data: New Tricks for Econometrics,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, forthcoming. (The working paper version is here.)  - To learn the tools to analyze the Big Data. NEW!!

  8. Michele Tertilt “Getting started on numerical methods” - introduces you to software for quantitative macroeconomic research (such as Matlab and Fortran).

  9. For Stata, see another page of my website.

  10. For ArcGIS, see my lecture notes.


Presentation of your research (either in a seminar or in a paper)

  1. David Levine (undated) "David Levine's Cheap Advice for Presenting Results": This is very useful mainly for empirical researchers.

  2. Davis (undated) "What Makes for a Successful Paper and Seminar?": A good guideline for how to organize an introduction to your research results.

  3. Schwabish (2014) “An Economist’s Guide to Visualizing DataJournal of Economic Perspectives, 28(1): 209-34. Perhaps pissed off by the poor graphical representation of empirical results by many economists, the author literally illustrates how one can make more compelling graphs. NEW!!

  4. Michele Tertilt “Writing your paper in LaTex

  5. Lee Crawfurd (2013) “How to make maps” - introduces you to StatPlant, which allows you to quickly make a map showing geographic distribution of summary statistics from an Excel spreadsheet. 


Seminar Presentation

  1. <For general points>

  2. Hansen (2007b) "Job Market Seminar": This is written for job market candidates, but it applies to all seminar presentations.

  3. Cochrane (2005) "Writing Tips for Ph.D. Students," Section 4 (pp.11-2)

  4. Kehoe (2001) "Tips on Preparing for the Workshop

  5. <For slide making>

  6. Pischke (undated) “How to make slides” (MS Powerpoint file) - the very basics of how to make slides, which is still ignored by some economists.

  7. Hansen (2007c) "Seminar Slides": This is again written for job market candidates, but it's useful for any presentation by economists.

  8. <For introduction>

  9. Cox (2000) "The "Big 5" and Other Ideas for Presentations" - for organizing your introduction. (the original seems to have disappeared from the web, but someone at Berkeley posts a copy of it).

  10. <For applied micro research>

  11. Bandiera, Besley, Bryan, Burgess, Fischer, Ghatak, and Padro-i-Miquel (2012?) "EC501 Development and Growth PhD Seminar: Guidelines for Presentation” - Written by LSE faculty members in the field of development economics. It should apply to any fields, or at least any applied microeconomics fields (both theoretical and empirical).

  12. Jesse Shapiro (2014?) “How to Give an Applied Micro Talk: Unauthoritative Notes” - Very useful. NEW!!

  13. <For theoretical research>

  14. Jackson (1998) “Notes on Presenting a Paper” - As the author is a theorist, this note is more useful when you present theory papers.

  15. Chapter 2 of Thomson (2001) A Guide for the Young Economist (MIT Press) - useful for theoretical researchers

  16. Varian (1997) "How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time" - Section 8 offers tips for seminar presentation (mainly for theory papers).


Writing a paper

  1. <Both theoretical and empirical>

  2. Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz (undated) “The Ten Most Important Rules of Writing Your Job Market Paper” - It’s for writing a job market paper, but clearly it applies to any paper.

  3. Kremer (undated) "Writing Papers: A Checklist" - As the author does both theoretical and empirical works, this should be relevant for all researchers.

  4. Glaeser (2003) "How to write a (low-brow or applied) theory paper" - Despite the title, the second half discusses how to write an empirical paper.

  5. <Theory>

  6. Chapter 1 of Thomson (2001) A Guide for the Young Economist (MIT Press) - useful for theoretical researchers. The chapter is a revised version of Thomson (1999) "The Young Person's Guide to Writing Economic Theory" (Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 37, No. 1 (March 1999), pp. 157-183). 

  7. Dixit (1998) ''My System of Work (Not!)'' in Michael Szenberg ed. Passion and Craft: How Economists Work (University of Michigan Press). - See pages 9 and 10.

  8. Varian (1997) "How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time" - Sections 9 to 11 offers tips for writing papers.

  9. <Empirics>

  10. Cochrane (2005) "Writing Tips for Ph.D. Students," Sections 1 and 2 (pp.1-9) - A bit radical but the former JPE editor has a lot of points. It contains grammatical advice as well. For theory-oriented economists, this may not be very appropriate, though.

  11. <Grammar>

  12. Lynne Kiesling (2003) "Writing Guidelines for Economics" - Rather grammatical advice for writing an economics paper.

  13. <Conclusion>

  14. Ariel Rubinstein (2013) “10 Q&A: Experienced Advice for “Lost” Graduate Students in Economics” Journal of Economic Education, 44(3): 193-196. - See Q4 for what to write in the concluding section. NEW!!


Attending a conference.

  1. Hargittai (2009a) “The Conference Scene” Inside Higher Ed - How to choose which conference to attend. It’s written by a sociologist, but I think it also applies to economists.

  2. Hargittai (2009b) “Conference Do’s and Don’t’s” Inside Higher Ed - What to do during a conference other than presenting your work and listening to other people’s presentation. It’s written by a sociologist, but I think it also applies to economists.

  3. Blattman (2010) “The discussant’s art” - if you serve a role of a discussant in a conference.


Going on the job market

  1. <General>

  2. Cawley (2011) "A Guide and Advice for Economists on the U.S. Junior Academic Job Market (2011-2012 Edition)" IZA Discussion Paper no. 5984 - The "official" guide of the job market. It tends to focus on middle-ranked US departments. For those who seek jobs at top departments or outside the US, see some of the other guides below as well.

  3. Economics Job Market Advice Complied by Chicago Students on the Job Market in 2006-2007

  4. Harvard University Department of Economics (every year) "Job Market Information" --- This website provides useful pieces of information on the job market though some may be relevant only for very smart students like those at Harvard. Each year it is renewed. Keep an eye on this webpage as the job market process moves on during autumn.

  5. Bruce Hansen (2010) "UW Economics Job Placement Information 2010-2011" --- Written by Wisconsin-Madison's placement director in year 2010/2011. I think it contains many pieces of information unavailable in the other documents listed here and organizes a wide range of information in probably the most structured way.

  6. Stanford University Department of Economics (2013) “Job Market Candidate Resources” - a job market guide for PhD candidates at Stanford University. The 2001-2002 version by Robert Hall is available here.

  7. Conlin and Dickert (undated) "Job Market Tips"

  8. David Levine (undated) "David Levine's Cheap Advice for Going on the Job Market"

  9. Kartik (2004) "Tips for success at the AEA Meeting Job Market Interview" - written for UC San Diego job market candidates (note this is a MS Word file). Valerie A. Ramey hosts a website where you can find other pieces of advice by the 2003/4 academic year job market candidates based on their experience.

  10. Ariel Rubinstein (2013) “10 Q&A: Experienced Advice for “Lost” Graduate Students in Economics” Journal of Economic Education, 44(3): 193-196. - See Q5, Q7, and Q8. The answer to Q7 actually makes sense, but why do we tend to feel it’s wrong? NEW!!

  11. <For women>

  12. CSWEP Newsletter (2007) "Navigating the Job Market", CSWEP Newsletter, Fall 2007, pp. 3-4 - Advice from the viewpoint of women.

  13. <If your spouse also holds a PhD in economics>

  14. Julie Hotchkiss et al. (2009) “Navigating the Job Market as Dual Career Economists” CSWEP Newsletter, Fall 2009, pp. 3-14. NEW!!

  15. <Non-US universities>

  16. Kevin Lang et al. (2012) “The International Job Market for Economists” CSWEP Newsletter, Fall 2012, pp. 3-14. - For those considering a job in Europe, Australia, China, and Japan. NEW!!

  17. Alex Popov (2007) “Tips: The European job market” Economics Job Market Advice Complied by Chicago Students on the Job Market in 2006-2007, pp. 9-10.

  18. <Liberal art colleges in US>

  19. Sam Schulhofer-Wohl (2007) “Tips: Liberal arts colleges” Economics Job Market Advice Complied by Chicago Students on the Job Market in 2006-2007, pp. 11-12.

  20. Sarah E. West (2007) “Tips for interviewing at liberal arts colleges” CSWEP Newsletter, Fall 2007, pages 5 and 8.

  21. <Finance sector>

  22. Sandra Shao (2007) “Tips: Litigation consulting and finance jobs” Economics Job Market Advice Complied by Chicago Students on the Job Market in 2006-2007, pp. 10-11.

  23. <Litigation consulting firms>

  24. Sandra Shao (2007) “Tips: Litigation consulting and finance jobs” Economics Job Market Advice Complied by Chicago Students on the Job Market in 2006-2007, pp. 10-11.

  25. Anne Layne-Farrar (2007) “Economic careers in litigation consulting: the road less traveled” CSWEP Newsletter, Fall 2007, page 6.

  26. <After receiving job offers>

  27. Janice Eberly (2007) “Once you have a job offer --- What next?” CSWEP Newsletter, Fall 2007, pp. 7-8.

  28. Chris Blattman (2014) “Negotiating your academic job offer” - if you’re lucky enough to have more than one job offer. NEW!!


After becoming an assistant professor

  1. Radhika Nagpal (2013) “The Awesomest 7-year Postdoc or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the tenure-track faculty life.” Scientific American, July 21, 2013. - Written by a computer science faculty at Harvard, who is now tenured. I wish I read this when I myself started my tenure-track position. It also provides how to handle child-raising while having a tenure-track position. Jeff Smith follows up her advice here.

  2. Petra Todd et al. (2013) “Navigating the Tenure Process” CSWEP Newsletter, Winter 2013, pp. 3-14. NEW!!

  3. Rohini Pande et al. (2011) “What’s Your Research Agenda?” CSWEP Newsletter, Winter 2011, pp. 3-14. - What set of research questions should you work on as an assistant professor? NEW!!

  4. Mankiw (2007) "Advice for New Junior Faculty" - His most important advice seems to be "Do not start a blog."

  5. Dixit (1998) ''My System of Work (Not!)'' in Michael Szenberg ed. Passion and Craft: How Economists Work (University of Michigan Press). See “MY OWN EXPERIENCE OF RESEARCH” (pp. 2-4) and “ON HABITS OF WORK” (pp. 7-9).

  6. David Levine (undated) "David Levine's Cheap Advice for Starting as a New Faculty"

  7. Hamermesh (1992) "The Young Economist's Guide to Professional Etiquette," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 6(1): 169-179.

  8. Hamermesh (2006) "Top 10 Tips for Jump-Starting Your Career" CSWEP Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2006 - Probably an updated version of Hamermesh (1992).

  9. Susan Athey (2007) "Negotiating Senior Job Offers," CSWEP Newsletter, Winter 2007, pp. 10-13. - The most important sentence in this writing is probably “Remember that every seminar you give is a potential job talk.”

  10. Fiona Scott Morton (2007) “Discussing Parental Policies with Your Dean or Department Chair.” CSWEP Newsletter, Winter 2007, pp. 14-16. - If you plan to have a baby while having a tenure-track position. NEW!!

  11. Donna Ginther et al. (2007) “Work and Family in Academia: Striking the Balance” CSWEP Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2007, pp. 3-14. - If you have kids while having a tenure-track position. NEW!!


How to write a referee report

  1. De Janvry and Sadoulet (2004) "Guidelines for Referee Reports" - This document was prepared for PhD students in a development economics course where their assignment is to write a mock referee report. It's still useful for those who write a real referee report. It's biased towards refreeing an empirical paper, though.

  2. Chapter 3 of Thomson (2001) A Guide for the Young Economist (MIT Press) - Perhaps biased towards refereeing a theoretical paper.

  3. Pages 177-179 of Hamermesh (1992) "The Young Economist's Guide to Professional Etiquette," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 6(1): 169-179.

  4. Hamermesh (1994) "Facts and Myths about Refereeing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 8(1): 153-163.  - This is not about how to write a referee report, but worth reading.

  5. Özler and McKenzie (2012) “Q&A with Larry Katz, editor of QJE” Development Impact, January 4, 2012. - See Larry Katz’s answer to the second question.

  6. McKenzie (2012) “How much to referee and how to do it?” Development Impact, January 15, 2012.

  7. McKenzie and Özler (2012) “A Q&A with the editor of the WBER, Alain de Janvry and Elisabeth Sadoulet” Development Impact, February 5, 2012. - See Q&A no.7.


How to publish your paper

  1. Moffitt (2011) “Getting Published in Economics Journals” CSWEP Newsletter, Spring 2011, pp. 4-5, 10. - A former AER editor offers tips for publishing papers. In the same issue of CSWEP Newsletter, there are some other articles on tips to publish a paper.

  2. Creedy (2005) "From Manuscripts to Publication: A Brief Guide for Economists" University of Melbourne Department of Economics Research Paper no. 934. (HT: Chris Blattman)

  3. Hamermesh (200?) "How to Publish in a Top Journal"

  4. Özler and McKenzie (2012) “Q&A with Larry Katz, editor of QJE” Development Impact, January 4, 2012. - See Larry Katz’s answer to the second and third questions. I guess the most important piece of advice is: “Young scholars should NOT submit a paper to a top journal too soon.”

  5. Ariel Rubinstein (2013) “10 Q&A: Experienced Advice for “Lost” Graduate Students in Economics” Journal of Economic Education, 44(3): 193-196. - See Q6. I’m not sure about answer (c), but answers (a) and (b) are what I wish I had read before my first rejection.


How to apply for research grants

  1. McKenzie (2012) “Tips for writing impact evaluation grant proposals.” Development Impact, 13 February 2012. - If you need money to conduct field randomized control trials.

  2. Jackson and Razzolini (2003) “Postcards from the NSF” - Although this piece of writing is about the National Science Foundation, many points should be applicable to any research grant schemes. It includes advice for how to write a research proposal.


When writing a textbook

  1. Varian (1997) "How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time" - Sections 12 offers tips for writing a textbook, for which the author is famous.

  2. Mankiw (undated) "My Rules of Thumb" - Rule no.4 talks a bit about writing textbooks, for which the author is famous for.


When approached by a journalist

  1. Hamermesh (2004) "Maximizing the Substance in the Soundbite: A Media Guide for Economists", Journal of Economic Education - When you are interviewed by a journalist... 

  2. Amy Ellen Schwartz et al. (2010) “On Becoming a Public Economist” CSWEP Newsletter, Winter 2010, pp. 3-14. NEW!!


After becoming tenured

  1. Hall (2009) “Managing Your Career as an Economist after Tenure” CSWEP Newsletter, Winter 2009.

  2. Hamermesh (1993) "Professional Etiquette for Mature Economist", American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 83(2), pp.34-8. 


When becoming an editor of a journal

  1. McAfee (2009) “Edifying Editing,” The American Economist, forthcoming.


When becoming the Department Chair

  1. Harrison (undated) “Mark Harrison’s Survival Guide for Department Chairs


When becoming the Dean

  1. Linda Bell et al. (2008) “Academic Leadership” CSWEP Newsletter, Fall 2008, pp. 3-14. NEW!!

scroll down if you are in the later stages of being an economist.