Saturday, September 30, 2006


Revise my paper at LSE from 3 to 8 pm. Doesn't seem to finish by next Monday...

Need to decline Kirsten's invitation to her house-warming party in the evening.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Last Friday of LSE Summer Holiday

Robin's various comments and Sylvia's suggestions yesterday make me think that the amount of time needed to revise the job market paper is more than I initially thought. So I cancel the seminar presentation slot next Friday in which I planned to talk about my new project. (I thought I could make my mind on the job market after next Friday's seminar---if my new project receives a good response, I would be better off by waiting one more year with the possibility of a better job market paper. But as the paper I've already written down has got good responses unexpectedly, the above plan makes no sense now.)

I need to forego the opportunity of going to tonight's V&A late opening with Sue or Kirsten. I need to revise my paper...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Third Reference

A morning meeting with Robin to hear his view on my paper. He says that the paper is worth going on the job market with. He then gives me several valuable comments to improve the paper.

Now that three faculty members recommend going on the job market, I have no reason for not doing so.

In the evening, I meet Sylvia, a malaria control specialist, through the introduction by Yuri-san. The purpose is to get familiar with the public health literature. I didn't want to be an "imperialist" economist (ie. an economist invading the territory of other academic disciplines) who does not know the common knowledge in the discipline he/she invades. It is a very useful meeting. She shows me a wide range of sources of information as well as some basic ideas of public health in Africa.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Abstract, Introduction, and Conclusion

Start revising the paper. Noll (2005, p.17)---last year's job market guide for PhD candidates at Stanford University---convincingly argues for the importance of the abstract, the introduction, and the conclusion of the job market paper. These are the parts of your job market paper that recruiting commitee members at universities actually read.

I think it's better to revise these three parts of the paper first. After revising the main text I will need to modify these parts anyway. So I will spend twice as long time as I would do if I revised these three parts only in the end.

The abstract must be short. The upper limit is 150 words. It must include the research question, the research method, and a brief statement of most important results. (Noll 2005, p.17)

I think that the introduction of a paper is more or less the same as the introduction of a seminar as described in Cox (2000): the question to be addressed, why this question is important, why the existing literature fails to address it properly, what your new and better research method is to address the question, and the summary of results.

More trickly is the conclusion. Cochrane (2005, pp.3-4) even argues that there needs no conclusion. But he suggests some idea for what should be written in the conclusion: a short paragraph or two acknowledging limitations. I think implications for future research and policies can also be included. In addition, David Levine (see under the heading "Stylistic issues") says the conclusion should be "accessible to the nonspecialist reader".

I forego the opportunity to go to Heyward Gallery with Cheyok and to a classical music concert with Katsumata-san tonight. Now I'm on the job market.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hotel Room Booking for ASSA Meeting Interviews

Back at LSE, I immediately try to book a hotel room in Chicago online (the AEA website offers such an online booking system). Job market guides such as Cawley (2004, p.17) recommend booking a room in the headquarters hotel, in an all-suite interview hotel (where most interviews take place), or in hotels near these two. I don't really know why, but just follow the advice.

The updated version of Cawley (2004) (Cawley 2006, p.17) changes its advice. Now the author recommends NOT reserving a room in an all-suite interview hotel for the sake of social welfare.

Unfortunately, I'm already too late to book such hotels. I make a reservation at a hotel which is far away from the headquarters hotel and the all-suite interview hotel. But I learn that I can cancel a hotel reservation until early December without any charge. So I put myself waitlisted at a hotel near both the two hotels.

My strategy is this: those candidates who are sure to go on the job market should have booked either of the two main hotels because they are the first to book. They won't cancel their booking. Those candidates who are not that sure if they go on the market are likely to have booked one near the two main hotels because they are slightly late to book a room and learn that the two main hotels are already fully booked. So the chances that you get a room after waitlisted is higher for these "nearby" hotels.

Tim's advice

Meeting with Tim at his BOE office.

He starts telling me about the procedural stuff on the job market process: where to apply, how to post references, booking a hotel room in Chicago (where preliminary interviews are going to be held) NOW, etc.

I ask him why he thinks my paper is good enough to be on the job market. I don't think so because findings in my paper are not convincing enough. I cannot rule out the possibility that infant mortality drops before democratization.

But Tim says, "What the market looks for is a person who investigates an issue intelligently. You don't need a news-headline result." Then he cites two examples. One is his own work on property rights in Ghana. This paper is celebrated not because of his result (he couldn't find a positive effect of property rights on investment in the end), but due to the fact that he thinks hard about how property rights affect investment and provides a framework to analyze it (so that other researchers can use it). Another example is Angus Deaton's work on estimating demand functions. It ends up finding that the linear demand function does not work with data. But his work is well-respected because of his invention of how to estimate demand functions.

This is something all the PhD students should know.

He advises me to get the job market paper ready by 15th-20th November. The formal package of application isn't very important. For example, some top school does not open it. They contact job placement officers at each school and ask for sending the job application packet of the candidates they are interested in. This will happen after Thanksgiving (Last Thursday of November).

In terms of where to apply, he says, "A good place to be an assistant professor is those with lots of other junior faculty members with similar interest. So you can collaborate with them. Senior professors are important in terms of giving good advice. But nothing more than that."

The final piece of advice: try to book a seminar presentation with different audience (ie. outside LSE).

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mock Job Talk Booking

Find that my result does not hold if I use alternative measures of democracy. Which is not necessarily bad because it suggests that these alternative measures are inappropriate.

Receive email from Tim, suggesting to book a Monday lunchtime PhD student seminar slot on one of the days he can attend. The message sounds like he's already assumed that I'm going on the job market...

Then receive email from my supervisor as well, telling me that he can come except for one of the dates Tim suggested.

Email Oriana to ask for her view on my paper. Initially I thought she wouldn't be interested in my paper, but I realized that what's the most important is to maximize the number of feedbacks.

She emails back immediately with a note on whether or not I can present at the Development & Growth Seminar (see 14 September). Unfortunately there is no seminar slot left.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, scheduling a seminar presentation is one of the important things to do when you are on the job market. In the final stage of the job market process, what gets you a job is your performance at the seminar presentation in the prospective employers' campus (what we call ''job talk''). Which means you need to practice it beforehand, ideally in front of lots of faculty members from your own school so you can get critical comments.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Last Friday Night Out

A day of data processing, in order to check the robustness of my findings to the use of alternative measures of democracy.

Hang out with Cheyok and her friends in the Brick Lane area in the evening. Perhaps the last Friday night out before the whole job market madness.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Replication done

Finish replication. Find a minor error (I mistakenly excluded from the sample a few babies), but fortunately it doesn't affect my findings.

Email Sylvia, a public health specialist, to ask many questions related to my paper. I need to learn a lot more on what determines child mortality and related issues in the public health literature.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Start making STATA do files for replication to spot any error in my estimation for the paper before the job market madness may start.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New (and Last?) Student Card

Back from St Ives yesterday, get a new LSE student ID card as a new academic year is about to begin. I still don't believe that this new card may become the last student card in my life...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

St Ives

Off to St Ives, the best hidden gem of England in my view, to forget everything for three days. Finding a single room to stay there takes a lot of time as most guesthouses wait for a couple to arrive at their double rooms...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Two more references

I couldn't believe my ears yesterday. I want to hear more views on my paper. In any case, you need to submit at least THREE references when you apply for an academic job. Which means you need to have at least three faculty members who like your research.

Email Tim and Robin to make an appointment.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Beginning

Meet my supervisor. I emailed him beforehand to let him know that last month I wrote up the first paper in the four years of my PhD life, and to ask him if he thinks the paper is good enough for me to go on the job market. My expectation was, however, that I needed to take one more year before going on the job market.

During the meeting, my supervisor takes me by surprise, saying, "You can go on the job market with this paper."

He also suggests booking a presentation slot at LSE/UCL Development & Growth Seminar. This is something. Speakers at the Seminar are usually faculty members inside and outside LSE and UCL. Oh my...

Email the Seminar organizers if there is any vacant slot.

LSE RLAB Lift back in operation

So LSE RLAB Lift is finally back in operation after a two-week strike. Fingers are crossed.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Metrosexual in Japan

It seems that the term "metrosexual" has now become a buzz word among fashion-conscious young men in Japan.

Yuri-san, who has just arrived in London from Japan, bought me a men's hair catalogue from Japan. I've already said this quite a few times in this blog, but there is such a thing as men's hair catalogue books in Japan, targeted at fashion-conscious young men. (I still haven't seen this in London. Do you?)

The term metrosexual appears on this catalogue. This is the first time I saw this word in Japanese media. It reads, "Metrosexual is an urban celeb pursuing cool-ness not just personality-wise but also appearance-wise."

Okay, now I need to explain another buzz word "celeb" in the Japanese language. It doesn't mean someone famous. Nobody seems to know its real meaning, but it seems to refer to people whose life style is like the one of pop stars, super-rich, and upper-class people. It's been a couple of years since this term was imported into the Japanese language.
I google "metrosexual" in Japanese, and the number of hits is about 122,000.

As far as I understand, the phrase "metrosexual" here in UK refers to a man who uses moisturiser. :-) David Beckam represents all the metrosexuals in UK.

Anyway, what's interesting to me is that the idea that a man takes care of his appearance is nothing new in Japan. It's already been a decade since young Japanese men became appearance-conscious. I believe it was much earlier than here in UK. Then the term metrosexual is now imported to symbolize such men. Maybe those fashion-conscious teenage boys a decade ago are now in the position of creating trend words. They wanted to give a name to themselves to be distinct from the rest of Japanese men. Then they found the term metrosexual in English. Maybe. Maybe not.

An update to LSE RLAB Lift

Here's an excerpt from an email message sent to all members of LSE Research Lab today:

... the faulty component was replaced yesterday but this has highlighted further faults on the electronics in the main lift controller.

Number of days LSE RLAB Lift is out of service since 1st September 2006: 5.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Saga continues...

LSE Rlab lift seems to be trying to undermine my effort. Last Friday, I decided to recode the number of times he - yes, I would say he's he because this kind of behaviour is not typical for women (am I sexist?) - breaks down. But what he cares about is the number of hours he doesn't need to work. So he seems to make each break-down take longer to fix.

So he didn't work last Sunday (I didn't come to the School last Saturday. Maybe he didn't work on that day, either, but to be fair, I won't base my count on guesswork.), and he is still out of service today.

I've changed my strategy. I will count the number of days he is lazy.

Number of days LSE RLAB Lift is out of service since 1st September 2006: 3.

Friday, September 01, 2006


I've decided to record the dates when the lift of LSE RLAB is out of order. It has been playing up so many times in the past four years, but today it's egregious because the lift was out of service last Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday due to maintenance. I had to walk up stairs to the fifth floor several times. Four days on, it again breaks down.

I bet it will break down in the next 12 months more than 50 times.

Number of times LSE RLAB lift breaks down since 1 September 2006: 1.