Posted by: TomA | 17 February 2008

Academic fullfillment or selling out?

For the past month or so, I’ve been trying to whittle down my ideas and settle on a plan for my dissertation. Yet the task is seemingly impossible. Is it too much to aspire to do an interesting piece of research, of worth and interest to myself and hopefully others, involving some novel aspect to consider areas of economics of importance? With only a limited amount of time this summer to research and write this, what should my approach be? Do I stick with my ideals and aim for greatness, running the risk that my novel approach may only appear unfruitful months into the task (increasing my probability of a poor grade); alternatively do I unambitiously follow the route suggested by peers, namely taking a current piece of (econometric) research, say for the USA and apply data from, say, the UK, ensuring a reasonable mark and complete lack of personal interest in the project?

Indeed, is this dilemma itself enough to apply standard and behavioural economic theory to, it essentially being an economic question itself?

So back to the books… Time for an experimental approach, a novel extension of existing behavioural microtheory or an unusual angle of energy and environmental economics? Or just dust off some Smith or Keynes…



  1. Write something to please yourself rather than following the formula. An MA is expensive, time consuming and draining. If you are going to spend a summer writing something you care nothing about then you will regret it in retrospect and despise it at the time. And yes, I am sure someone somewhere will find it interesting and publish it.

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