Resources for undergraduates

A boring disclaimer: Links to publisher pages are not endorsements of any particular vendor.

Urban economics (books about cities are full of economics):

A medley of other books:

Online courses:

Podcasts on economics and public policy:

  • Planet Money
  • The Weeds
  • The Impact
  • The Uncertain Hour

If you’re considering a PhD in Economics

Is it right for you?

  • Advice about doing a PhD tends to focus on the mechanics of gaining admission. If you’re intent on doing a PhD, it’s important to rack up the right credentials and to be strategic about applying, and I’ve listed some relevant links below.
  • But advice about applying can sometimes put the cart before the horse. A PhD is a huge investment of time, energy, and self, and you should think long and hard before embarking on one.
  • There are plenty of good reasons to consider pursuing a PhD. If you’re reading this, you likely have a deep intellectual interest in economics, and graduate school can be an intellectual feast. On a practical level, a PhD in Economics is a versatile credential with many possible career paths: academic appointments in economic departments and professional schools, positions in government and in international organizations, and private-sector jobs in tech, finance, economic consulting, and other industries. Most PhD economists go on to do well-paid, interesting work.
  • Alongside these positives, you should consider the sacrifices that a PhD entails. PhDs are hard. They’re emotionally and psychologically as well as intellectually challenging, and they take a long time, occasionally five years but typically six or more. Doctoral work is often a stressful and isolating experience, especially once you finish coursework and set off to do original research. Many PhD students struggle with anxiety and depression, not least in economics programs. Ask yourself whether the benefits are worth the costs: both are quite real.

Consider a full-time RA position

  • Before committing to the PhD path, seek out research opportunities first: write a senior thesis if your university allows it, and look for research assistant positions both during and after college. Spending a year or two post-college as a full-time research assistant can help you figure out if a PhD is a good fit; if you decide that it is, it’ll increase your chances of admission and prepare you to hit the ground running with research projects once you finish coursework.

Post-college research assistant positions:

The application process:

Some worthwhile textbooks for the PhD-bound: