Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Supervision on what to do next

Talked to my supervisor. What I should do now is (1) try to extract something from the dictatorship project, even if it's not that interesting; (2) find an applied theory work given that running regressions in the past year didn't take me anywhere, which indicates that I'm probably not good at empirical research; and (3) make even more efforts because not even having a single paper written at this stage of the PhD life (the beginning of the fourth year - PhD students usually finish their study by the end of the fifth year by writing three papers) is pretty much a red alert.

Although investigating the determinants of economic performance in dictatorship is an exciting topic, the difficulty with this topic is that there is no stylised fact on this issue at all. You can come up with any theories you like. But if that theory has no empirical backing, then it's useless. That's what I learned from my supervisor a year ago - which is why I started doing empirics.

So the best strategy right now should be to find a stylised fact that's not been fully explained by any theories...

EC501 Development & Growth PhD student seminar at lunchtime. Until last year, present at this seminar were only one junior faculty member (Oriana in the Michaelmas term or Robin in the Lent term) plus one senior public economics professor. This year, senior development economics faculty members (Tim and Maitreesh) are also among the audience. Looks like professors in the development & growth field get really serious about educating PhD students. That's definitely a good thing for us. Hooray!

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