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« What is Your Favorite Titled Essay in Economics? | Main | In Memoriam: Sudha Shenoy 1943-2008 »


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It's funny that you preview the first year of economics without mentioning MWG, Greene, or Fudenberg & Tirole, while in my program they contained about 80% of everything we did.

As one of the incoming first-year PhD students to GMU next fall, thank you for the advice! My reading list has been somewhat thin lately so I'll take these suggestions to heart.

Pete wrote: "start with University Economics (or Exchange and Production)"

As per an earlier comment of mine, I introduced Pete to University Economics... in fact I gave him his copy.

Pete also wrote:
"I had that same experience as Buchanan asked us to reflect on "the tale of the slave", "who is the individual in economic models?", and "the analytics of natural liberty"..."

That analytics of natural liberty paper cost me my A grade in Buchanan's class. I should've listened to Mike Alexeev, who warned me not to criticize Buch's technical construction on the grounds of internal inconsistency.


Thanks for the list and advice. I look forward to starting in the Fall at GMU.

Dear PLW,

You misunderstood my post, I didn't say these were books to preview the first year, they were books to read prior to graduate school to keep you excited about economics and give one an introductioin to the economic way of thinking and what a good economists does (Alchian), and to give a basic introduction to the tools and techniques required to "read" the work of other economists.

The first year set of classes at GMU in math econ, micro II, macro II, and econometrics will approximate more or less the curriculum you describe.


Great post! Here are a few lessons learned from my own experience in GMU's PhD program:


I believe that stressing the intuition is crucial and that the mentioned books are a great start. As a Florida State PhD (2000) I learned both the Public Choice literature (via Randy Holcombe and Bruce Benson) and the econometrics. It turns out that to publish in good journals (such as Public Choice) a good foundation in econometric techniques is crucial, so the Kennedy recommendation (A Guide to Econometrics) is essential. I find it rare to read a paper that contains no econometrics in top journals (Peter Leeson's JPE piece non withstanding). My current research focuses on Bayesian methods in spatial econometrics...and not just because it's window dressing. The techniques are actually useful in explaining certain empirical regularities which are not estimable using OLS or other sampling theoretic ideas. My best advice would be for students to get a good background in many varied econometric techniques because you never know when knowing the marginal distributions of the multivariate normal density will come in handy...even in the empirical Public Choice literature.

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good piece of work its really good.

You are giving such great suggestion, I think I will follow your guidelines, since now Im in a very similar situation, I really appreciate your contribution ;)

GMU is a gret place, I was lucky too as I went to study there and now thanks to them I have my own business and a fantastic carreer

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