Confessions of a Supply-Side Liberal

A Partisan Nonpartisan Blog

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A Note for Graduate Students in Economics Looking for Ph.D. Dissertation Topics

In addition to using the “Ask me anything” button for substantive economic questions, I encourage any of you who are graduate students looking for Ph.D. dissertation topics to send me a detailed description of what kinds of things you are interested in (research preferences), and I will try to think of research topics that I think are important within the range of things you are interested in doing research about. Three warnings:
  1. I will almost always suggest a different topic than the one you are already working on. For this to be helpful to you, you have to be open to the possibility of a new topic. This is easiest psychologically if you are near the beginning of the process of choosing a research topic. 
  2. I am likely to want to publish my reply, so in the unlikely event that many are eager to follow my advice on research topics, you may have competition on the research topic I suggest.
  3. I can’t actually supervise the research long distance, only suggest a topic. And there is some chance I can’t think of anything in your area of interest. But I have many opinions in many areas.
  4. When you write in, please tell me how many different tools you are prepared to use for your dissertation: mathematical analysis, empirical analysis, or computations.
  5. Also, make sure you tell me something about why you were attracted to the area you mention, so I can understand your preferences better.    
Please use the “Ask me anything” button for such questions about potential research topics. You can do more than one message with the button if the length restriction binds. (Don’t use the comment section below to ask about a dissertation topic; it is for comments about the general process.)
If I write a post to answer you, please write in the comment section how likely you are to pursue the dissertation topic I suggest so that others won’t be worried about too much competition if you aren’t going to do it. In general, the comments section of one of the “Dissertation Topic n” posts is an appropriate place for economists to coordinate on doing research in the area I suggest, including economists who already have their Ph.D.