Monday, October 27, 2008

A source of great research ideas in economics

I've decided to get this blog back in operation. But each post will be brief.

Reading Chris Blattman's blog for the first time in weeks reminds me of an important tip for applied economists. Hal Varian says, "Look for ideas in the world, not in the journals." Ray Fisman says, "I always tell graduate students that if they want innovative thesis ideas, to read the newspaper, not the economics literature. ... You usually don’t get exciting new research ideas while reading Econometrica."

I almost forgot this important tip. At least, when you think about building a model, the kind of assumptions you want to make should be what you have learned from world events, not from academic papers in economics.

And this reminder seems to have an immediate impact on my research today.

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