Monday, November 21, 2011

On Econ Study

It is not easy for grad econ students to find out the themes of research. They are so busy in teaching that they can't study as they want.

I graduated from a graduate school of economics in 2005 and I re-started studying economics in 2007 and flied to a graduate school in the US, but returned here in 2008. Now I am in a teaching position at some private schools(not college or university) and trying to continue to study economics.

Recently I found a microeconomics book written by Takashi Negishi(1989), a worldly pioneer of general equilibrium theory: It has less than 250 pages and every item is written so shortly that I can follow. I try to read Chapter 4 on general equilibrium.

Until now I have tried several economics books and I found it difficult to understand economics by using them. Professor Maddala of Ohio State, they say, once said, "you can't learn anything from a fat book", and now I should completely agree with him.

I have tried to select a couple of econ texts(Micro: Varian(1992) and Dixit(1990), Macro: Barro&SalaiMartin(2004),Romer(2006)) and to focus on them to study micro and macro. I had a lot of macro texts, Blanchard&Fischer(1989), Obstfeld&Rogoff(1996), Sargent(2004),Farmer(1993) and so on, but it was too much for me to study the basics of macroeconomics. At last I decided to sell all these books and said to myself, "don't read too much and think more yourself first".

Before I went to the US, I had an interest in international finance, currency union, exchange rate fluctuation and open-macroeconomic policy. But reading the related research papers, I found it important to study macroeconomics and tried to study Ramsey model(optimal growth theory/RBC model). And then continuing Ramsey model, I found it more important to study general equilibrium model and studied basic micro theory, consumer-producer theory and Walrasian competitive equilibrium. Finally studying general equilibrium, I found it much more important to research 'equilibrium' and '(static&dynamic) optimization', of which modern microeconomics consists.

One day I was told one book by Prof Drewianka of Wisconsin Milwaukee and I tried to read it after I came back here. It was Schelling(1978), Micromotives and Macrobehavior, that I found interesting: Not too much but should be careful to read in order not to miss important ideas. It researches individual optimizations and social equilibria, and more on the related socio-economic matters. Reading it, I found it much more important to study the inter-relationship between micro optimizations and macro equilibria(phenomena) when I try to research some basic but difficult-to-understand macro issues, the determinations of interest rate, prices, exchange rate and national income.

Now I try to write plainly the interaction of agent behaviors and macro phenomena by using two key elements of modern economics(optimization and equilibrium) by using some related researches, Becker&Murphy(2000) and modern classics Akerlof(1984). Through basic study on economics, I would like to understand macro behaviors that have attracted social interests among people. I don't know how many years it takes to write it but I believe it is very important to keep trying.

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