Weekend Reading: Some Underrepresented Minority Perspectives on U.C. Berkeley Graduate Econ

Cursor and bradford delong com Grasping Reality with Both Hands

Weekend Reading: Trevon D Logan: On Twitter: "Great advice here. (I admit I’m biased though...)"

@DaniaFrancis: Another example of the excellence coming out of Berkeley Econ. I kick myself again.

@TrevonDLogan: I remember your visit. Andrea and I were so hoping you’d come. In the end, there are not good or bad choices but just paths. I knew you’d reach your destination no matter what!

@DaniaFrancis: Thank you! I wasn’t so sure myself, but I’m glad I did!

@KimberlyNFoster: Does anyone love their PhD program? Why is it that we only hear struggle stories from PhD students?

@nomadj1s: Had a great time at @berkeleyecon. Faculty generally cared about advising & classmates were collaborative, as opposed to competitive. Good weather & food didn’t hurt. PhD was still a struggle at times, but worth it. YMMV

@TrevonDLogan: I too am a @berkeleyecon alum. It was a great experience overall. Very broad approach to Econ and intellectual curiosity was nurtured. My only regret is that I left the program too quickly. (But I was tired of trying to survive in that expensive housing market!)

So fitting that I’m teaching @MarthaOlney “Avoiding Default” (QJE, 1999) today. She put a reprint in my hand in 1999 when I visited @berkeleyecon and told her I was interested in consumer finance. She also gave me a reprint of “When your Word is Not Enough” (JEH, 1998) about racial differences in credit in the 1918/19 consumer expenditure survey. She told me “you can do that here!” And that was the first time I had anyone affiliated with a program ask what I wanted to do and showed me an example of what it was. That is so important and it sticks with me to this day. I don’t do ANYTHING related to that today and I never have! BUT I have used the 1918/19 consumer expenditure data and I found a department that let me follow my own path. @berkeleyecon is not a cookie cutter program, and that’s one of its key strengths.

@femme_economics: Ditto. @berkeleyecon was a wonderful place to get a PhD. Standout, considerate faculty paired with smart, fun, intellectually curious classmates. + Food +SF/Oakland +Tahoe +Napa +Santa Cruz

@DaniaFrancis: These endorsements of @berkeleyecon inspire me to make a PSA to students of color recently admitted to Econ Ph.D. programs who are trying to decide where to go. In 2001, I was faced with choosing between Berkeley Econ and two other programs. I chose wrong. Instead of benefiting from the supportive environment that @drlisadcook, @nomadj1s, and @femme_economics among others have touted at Berkeley, I wound up in a program where I felt very isolated for multiple reasons. I also found most of my fellow students to be more competitive with each other than cooperative. Adding to the “outsider” feeling, about 1/3 of my cohort had been undergrads in the same program. They knew each other, knew the professors, and were somewhat insular. I eventually left that program and found a home at @DukeSanford under the mentorship and support of @SandyDarity, which means my story does have a positive outcome.

But every time I hear someone (especially a person of color) y’all about how awesome Berkeley Econ was, I kick myself and wonder what could have been. Berkeley Econ has become one of those programs with a reputation for supporting and encouraging scholars of color of this generation much like MIT Econ did in the 1970s (see @SandyDarity and cohort). I say all of this to say: if you are a scholar of color making this choice right now, econ grad school is hard enough w/o a supportive environment. Factor that into your decision. It matters. Ask current and former students about their experiences. Don’t just choose the shiny, fancy name department, without knowing about support structures because that shiny, fancy name will mean nothing to you if you don’t have the support to actually finish. Finally, I have to add that at @UMassEcon we support the heck out of grad students. That is all.

@odiakosionu I shall send this on to my nephew who is graduating from Harvard this May, and considering Econ grad programs!...

@hotchocolatefox: I would recommend a HBCU