Thursday, October 20, 2005

A helping hand

(Before reading this post, have a look at 14th October.)

Tim asked me to come to his office to talk about my research. He knew that I got stuck with my dictatorship project. And what he told me was kind of a helping hand.

He suggested as an alternative research plan the investigation of the findings by Mulligan et al. (2004). They argue that democracy doesn't matter for economic policies empirically. This is a manifestation of the Chicago political economy school in the 1970s and 80s - political institutions do not matter for economic policies as efficiency concerns always drive the policy-making whatever political institutions are in place.

Obviously Tim doesn't like this argument - he is one of the founding-fathers of the new political economy literature, the main theme of which is how political institutions shape policies.

As their empirical strategy is quite half-hearted, this project, if less ambitious, will more likely yield returns immediately. Plus it's more or less related to what I've been doing, so it may give me a break-through in the dictator project as well.

Psychologically, this suggestion does a lot to me. Tim is a great economist - as it can be seen in this LSE news - but he's also great in terms of stimulating researchers (including PhD students) surrounding him. I believe that these years of sitting at a desk in Sticerd, the research institute directed by him, will benefit my future life as a researcher. I've learned a lot on how to create an active research environment.


Em said...

Masa, man, I don't know if you ever read your comments (I've never received a single feedback to a comment), but here goes anyway...

Congratulations on your new direction of research! This is great news for you. I'm sure you'll get to your dictatorship theory finally. I've got faith in you.

-One of your EC307, now a second-year econ phd student at an Ivy League uni... how about a guess as to which one?

Masayuki said...

Are you at Yale?


Em said...

yep. i meant as a guess as to which student, not the uni, but yes, i'm at yale.

Masayuki said...

Now I know who you are. Yale has quickly become one of the best places to study development economics during the past two years. Rohini Pande, Dean Karlan, and Mark Rosenzweig have joined the faculty. Lucky you!

Let me know when you have some idea on your research. We can discuss it.