Monday, November 9, 2009

Reflections on finishing a thesis

I submitted my honours thesis yesterday, with a bit of relief. Now I have submitted it, I know there are a few things I should have done differently.

1) Go vanilla: there's nothing wrong with the basic formula of a thesis (lit review, model, regressions, conclusion). I began the year wanting to incorporate natural resource price shocks into a multisector DSGE model (of my own design), and finished the year building natural resources into a two sector growth model (of Uzawa's design).

2) Don't attempt a theoretical thesis. The fact is it takes a decade to get to the bleeding edge of economic theory, and once there, one's capacity to explain the world is diminished by the having depleted all social skills required to explain anything, due to the act of getting to the bleeding edge! There is nothing wrong with empiric studies.

3) Don't teach three subjects with 12 hours of teaching per week. I love my students, but I think they suffered from my less-than-perfect organisation over the semester.

and 4) Make your supervisor push you. My supervisor (who is also my boss) was excellent, and a brilliant help, though didn't want to stress me out. I think honours should be about stress. So when I get to the point of supervising people, I think I'll push a bit harder than I was pushed.

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