Seminar in Political Economy

May 2006

The class was very unstructured and was designed for you to discuss your research. I strongly suggest you already have a topic of interest from day one. There are basically two types of papers you "should" do. One that requires data - your own data you gathered yourself - and one that requires theoretical mathematical proofs that may require you to use advanced math-related computer programs. If your paper falls into either of these categories you should fare well. Professor Miyagawa is a stickler for strong logical reasoning of your work with required data or proofs. Doing a paper that requires your own data may be difficult to do because it's hard to collect data. But mathematical proofs are difficult too. Either way I suggest you start your paper early. You'll have to give two presentations. Also discuss your paper during his office hours if you can. You should. Good Luck.

Aug 2005

Findlay is a great example of an old econ professor who really should never be allowed in front of students. His attitudes and actions towards his seminar were both hillarious and frustrating. He would come late (and later as the semester went on), come completely unprepared (whether it be knowing what was being presented or even for his own lectures the first month), and FALLING ASLEEP! He definitely nodded off more than a few times during presentations. But what easily annoyed our class the most was his constant interruptions during otherwise good presentations. He would cut off students mid-idea with what he thinks (and then go on for 20 min) which came off as him trying to show off or prove he was paying attention (both usually failed). As a result of this and the negligible coursework, classes were rarely fully attended (which Findlay didn't care about - a rarity in a small seminar) and there was pretty good class cohesion since Findlay just got ridiculous by the end of the class. The best thing about this seminar was that you can do whatever you want for your project (as opposed to Epstein's seminar). So find a topic you're interested in, figure out how to do it, then present it to the class and write the paper. So much freedom is great in the last class in PoliEcon! Nice guy overall and could be useful in office hours but in the seminar he worked far less than even the laziest second semester senior. I'd recommend this easily over slaving over someone else's work in the other seminar.

Feb 2005

Course requirements are very vague. No syllabus, no reading, and no assignments, just one project (which can be done in pairs). He asks that you tackle a resource-allocation type problem in an interesting way. Not very approachable.