Read the JEP, and Follow The Conversable Economist

And if you are an undergrad student of economics but haven’t gotten around to doing both of these things just yet, well then, drop everything else and get on to this right away.

The Journal of Economic Perspectives is a journal that has been around since 1987, and I can attest to it being an excellent read, especially if you are an undergraduate student. The papers are accessible, almost always interesting, and the coverage is broad-based by definition. If you’re looking for a good place to start, here’s a personal favorite.

The Conversable Economist is a blog run by Timothy Taylor, who also happens to be the managing editor of the JEP (and has been so from its inception!). All of his posts are well worth your time (here are some I’ve blogged about on EFE before).

The reason I’m writing this post today is two-fold. One, the latest issue of the JEP is out, and Timothy Taylor blogged about it recently. Two, I’d like to expand a little bit on one of the pieces in this issue. There’s at least one other paper that sounds fascinating, but I won’t be able to get to it right away.

The piece that I would like to expand upon is this one: Recommendations for Further Reading

This section will list readings that may be especially useful to teachers of undergraduate economics, as well as other articles that are of broader cultural interest. In general, with occasional exceptions, the articles chosen will be expository or integrative and not focus on original research. If you write or read an appropriate article, please send a copy of the article (and possibly a few sentences describing it) to Timothy Taylor, preferably by e-mail at taylort@macalester.edu, or c/o Journal of Economic Perspectives, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55105.

https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.36.1.191

  1. It’s a great collection of articles for you to read if you are, as Timothy Taylor says, involved in undergraduate education.
  2. From the Smorgasbord section, the Nobel Prize in Economics write-up for this year’s awardees is great reading, and I’d strongly encourage you to read it in full. Or hey, watch the video!
  3. The BIS paper on bottlenecks and their macroeconomic implications is also a great read, please do read the whole report. (And here’s some writing on supply chains from EFE as a useful pairing)
  4. This is not to imply that the others aren’t great reading, of course. It is just that these two happen to be favorites of mine.
  5. Although I should point out that this piece continues to puzzle me! NFT’s in general continue to puzzle me, but that’s a story for another day.
  6. Here’s one thing I wish more undergraduate students would do: get into the habit of not just reading these pieces, but also run a Google Scholar search for other works by the same authors – especially by those whose works you have enjoyed reading thus far. Build up a sense of familiarity with their body of work, and this can serve as a great way to learn more about both a particular field of study and also about an author’s body of work.
  7. Discuss these works threadbare! Do it on campus, on a Discord server, host a discussion on Zoom, ask your profs to arrange for a discussion in class, but get in the habit of reading something, and then speak about it. This happens nowhere near the frequency with which it should, and this should change.
  8. And finally, Luigi Zingales is always worth a listen!

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