Sunday Reading: Assessing Robert Gates's Memoir
Noted for Your Afternoon Procrastination for January 19, 2014

Notes for "Introduction to 210a": Why Are We Here?

Why Assign Readings? Why Ask You to Write?

  • Why not just dump a bunch of data on you, and ask you to make sense of it?
  • Why assign these readings? How should readings be chosen?
  • Why ask you to write about the readings—briefly, briefly—before class?
  • Why a big paper rather than a midterm and a final exam?

Why Gather Us All Here W 1-3?

  • Self study/distance learning/MOOCs—why aren’t we doing that?
  • The 10-40-80 Rule…
  • That means you gotta talk—or this course is going to be much less useful than it could and should be…
  • The instant-correction-of-misapprehensions principle…

Boilerplate I

Boilerplate II

  • Economics 210a is required of Ph.D. students
  • Emphasis is on the insights that history can provide to the practicing economist.
  • Class meetings consist of a mixture of lecture and discussion.
  • Readings should be completed before class.
  • Your grade will be based 50 percent on one-page memos due at the beginning of each class meeting in the instructors' mailboxes at 5 PM Tuesday, and 50 percent on the research paper
  • Extra credit will be given for informed, constructive classroom discussion.

Boilerplate III

  • A memo on each week’s readings is due at the beginning of the class

Boilerplate IV * Your research paper is due on Friday May 9th. * The paper should not exceed 25 pages. * The deadline will not be changed * Plan in advance. * Discuss your paper topic during office hours * Submit a brief paper prospectus before spring break

An Economic History Paper

What Is an Economic History Paper? * Not a summary * Method of economics, question of history * What is “historical substance” anyway? * What is the economic past? * One answer is a period when economic institutions were significantly different from today. * You, as author and researcher, have to make the case. * Comparisons of past and present are fine).

Types of Papers:

  • Comments
  • Historical roots or parallels
  • Find a dataset
  • Test a hypothesis
  • An interesting event