Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lent Term 2006 Week 3

Monday (23rd):
1430-1600 Job market seminar by Alvaro Bustos from Princeton
The rest of afternoon - Fatigue from last week's work prevented me from thinking properly...

Tuesday (24th) through Thursday (26th):
Wrote a research memo in which I describe a theoretical model that I have in mind and its solutions and implications. As this process involves mathematics, you can't skip any single step in logic. This requires you to think real hard. So it took longer to finish and I got exhausted more than expected.

But this is why I love economics. This process often takes you somewhere you didn't expect. Which means you find a new thing. I mean, the conclusion derived from this process is often different from what you expected. If you just rely on verbal arguments, this won't happen. Which means you don't really make progress in expanding our knowledge on society. That's why economists hate most arguments without explicit mathematical modelling made by social scientists outside economics.

Friday (27th):
1300-1400 EOPP Work-in-progress Seminar
Afternoon - Wrote email to Professor Caselli, the speaker at today's seminar, on his presentation as what he's trying to do is quite similar to my research - I should talk to him soon. Then figured out how to use Excel2Latex for Ameet. The end result is written down here (look for "EXCEL2LATEX").
1800-1900 EOPP Happy Hour

Saturday (28th):
Complied the dataset for my research. Although it's theoretical, to motivate my research, it's good to present the data showing what I'm trying to explain is in fact a reality. (I followed Tim's advice last week.)

Sunday (29th):
Started reading Esteban and Ray (2006) to hone my skill of writing a theoretical paper. Debraj Ray's papers are good for this purpose - they are theoretically rigorous but still carry a huge relevance to reality so I don't get bored. What struck me during this week (and during the Christmas holidays, when I worked on the same research idea) is the fact that I haven't been exposed enough to theory papers. (This is partly because both development economics and political economy these days tend to be empirical (for development economics, to the extent that Dilip Mookherjee - one of the leading theoretical development economists of the present days - expresses his concern that there is too little theory in the field) and because due to my research topic I've been forced to read tons of descriptive (ie. non-mathematical) papers in political science, which was more often than not agony.) That is why I took almost a week to write up even a sketch of a simple model, or so I thought.
Also started proof-reading the proofs of Tim's forthcoming book as part of research assistance work for Tim.

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