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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Mankiw on Characteristics Economists Share

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mankiw on Characteristics Economists Share

Lisa Leslie Henderson of WellesleyWeston Magazine conducted an interview with Greg Mankiw ("Face to Face: An interview with N. Gregory Mankiw").  The entire interview is good, but I want to focus on his view of the making of an economist.
WellesleyWeston Magazine: You have had a remarkable career both in the public and private sector. What is it about economics that piqued your interest?

Greg Mankiw: I first became interested in economics during my freshman year at Princeton. One of my friends was taking a microeconomics class; I started reading her textbook and found that I like economics, a lot. In many ways I am a prototypical economist. Economists share a couple of characteristics: they tend to be naturally better in math and science—economics is fairly quantitative—and they are generally more interested in public policy and social issues than in the substance of science. I have always been interested in politics—dinner conversation in my home often centered on what was happening locally and in Washington. But politics by itself seemed vague, random, and subjective. Economics appealed to me because it brought an analytic perspective to social policy questions.

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4 comments:

  1. I find it very interesting that the author of my Macroeconomics textbook did not realize he was interested in economics until his freshman year of college. Maybe I can get more interested in politics with the new information I am obtaining from my class.

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  2. 喜樂的心是健康良藥,憂傷的靈使骨枯乾。........................................

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  3. I have to agree. In college I was torn between the hard sciences and psychology. I love that econ is a social science and only wish that I was introduced to the discipline earlier.

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  4. Mary Beth G4/11/10 4:55 PM

    I'm surprised that Greg Mankiw didn't discover that he liked economics until his first year in college. He's a great economist so that's interesting that he discovered it later on but still soon enough to major in it. I am not the politics type person and my family isn't either so it's harder for me to understand what people are talking about cause I have no idea what's going on. Also, I hope that I will discover what I want to become in life before college or during my freshman year because as of now, I have no idea.

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