Re: poly: Job choice advice request: GMU econ vs. UCB info

From: <>
Date: Wed Feb 17 1999 - 10:30:54 PST

In a message dated 99-02-17 12:41:16 EST, (Robin
Hanson) writes:

>Curt Adams wrote:
>>Right now I'm finding myself drawn to experimental work and I personally
>>be more interested in UCB SIMS. What I've seen of your web papers and
>>discussions seems more theoretically and academically oriented, so it seems
>>better suited to GMU.
> That's a good point to consider. I've had more success as an
> theorist than as an engineer. Does this mean I should stick with
> theory, or does it mean I finally have the credibility to bring
> attention to my engineering ideas, and should go for that?

In most fields, theoretical work requires more credibility than experimental
which in turns requires more than engineering work. If your credibility is
low but your algorithm works, what can people say? Theory by low-credibility
individuals generally just gets ignored. Do you think a lack of credibility
restrained you from getting engineering ideas implemented? I find even a
cursory reading of your stuff engenders respect.

I think you'll be excellent at either. I'm deciding on the basis of what I
to do on my own. I like to think up ambitious explainations, devise tests for
them, and then perform the tests. Right now I can't do experiments and am
limited to lucking out and finding a similar experiment reported in the
Hence my long-term goal is a faculty position at a research university, where
I will be able to test my own ideas as opposed to testing somebody else's
in business or inciting experiments from teaching academia.

So what really excites you? Which would you want if you couldn't get paid
for it? What subjects make you wake up in the middle of the night and
think "Why didn't I think of that earlier!"

If you want to do both theory and
engineering, I think UCB would be better; it looks like there's more
theory at UCB SIMS than engineering at GMU. In addition, "engineering" in
economics is far harder - it tends to be expensive since so much is at
stake and more often gets tied up in politics.
Received on Wed Feb 17 10:33:31 1999

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