Bryan Caplan  

Career Day: The Life of an Econ Prof

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Last Friday, I spoke at my sons' school's Career Day about what's it's like to be an economics professor.  I think I told the unvarnished truth, but please judge for yourself.

P.S. I feared this "How to Become an Econ Prof" flow chart would go over the 4th-graders' heads, but they seemed to get the gist of it.


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COMMENTS (10 to date)
Martin writes:

You use a lot of pictures of men and use "his" :-(

Doug writes:

Cute.

But I don't think I can give you full marks for telling the unvarnished truth.

I think you should have at least hinted at how academic researchers frequently are more interested in signaling their intelligence and technical acumen than uncompromised truth-seeking. Which isn't to say that truth-discovery doesn't occur from the process, but rather than it frequently takes a backseat to empire building, subtle data manipulation, and mental gymnastics for their own sake.

It's an important lesson that's dramatically neglected among kids that age. Learning about the severe shortfalls that exist in conventional academic research is quite important for youngsters.

JLV writes:

A real economist, of course, would have made his career day presentation in Beamer.

(A real economist, of course, will also get that joke.)

Brad D writes:

Did you bring copies of your new book - The Case Against Education and pass them out to the students, teachers, and administrators?

Brad Hobbs writes:

The PPT is worth going through just for the last line.

Phil writes:
Overall, the only people with a reasonable complaint are probably taxpayers.
What I'm always thinking when I hear students/teachers complain at my heavily government-subsidized school.
Jack P. writes:

I think you should have tried to explain that in most fields, there is a real chance of not getting a tenure-track job, and that tenured or TT professors are not representative of all PhD paths. Many fail to complete a PhD, many others complete it but have no good jobs, etc.

Economics is a good field to do a PhD in, but it is not typical.

Clay writes:

Bryan is my hero. Except I am disappointed he is a point and click PowerPointer. LaTeX ftw!

Sometime I'd like to learn Bryan's biographical story -- especially the part where he became libertarian. Given what I know, I would not expect a libertarian to come out of Berkeley and Princeton. So was there a conversion process? Or did Bryan grow up in a family with libertarian values?

Patriot writes:

Richard:

Based on what Dr. Caplan said in a lecture, I believe his father is an engineer from California and a fairly partisan Democrat. May anecdotally evidence the Strauss–Howe theory on generational cycles?

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