Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Working in Policy and Working in Academic Research

Interesting blogpost on the differences. These are of course the extreme poles between someone doing solo-authored work in economic theory and someone work hands on in government or international policy. Academic research in economics is increasingly done in teams. Most of my ongoing projects are coauthored at the moment. Despite Deirdre McCloskey's criticisms, we are also very interested in the magnitude of effects - for example the size of the rebound effect or the climate sensitivity. And if you want to get a grant (at least in Australia) you have to convince academics outside your discipline. If you want to have a policy influence you have to convince non-academics. As someone at a school of public policy that is an important part of our mission. I also prefer to answer important questions even if it is hard to give a good answer to them, rather than less important questions which can be answered better. Of course, if we can't say anything novel enough to publish we have to drop the topic. There is a "sweet spot" where the question is both important and can be answered well, but that is difficult to find.

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