Identification of master programs in economics

Identification of master programs in economics

A precondition for the accreditation process to take place is the definition of which master programs could be eligible for entering the accreditation process itself. It is important not to extend too much the set of eligible programs to all types of master programs having "some kind" of economics among their courses, but "diluted" with a variety of other disciplines. It is important that economics stands out as leading discipline approached through a variety of different school of thoughts.

Points

I thought Phds were the gateway to the profession in terms of the academic profession. What profession are you, Alan and Alberto, talking about? Presumably not the mainstream economics profession where a mainstream masters/phd would be generally required. Is there really an economics profession as such anyway?

Agreed in principle, but we need to devise a structure that is sufficiently flexible to allow each course creator to pull in whatever disciplines s/he feel provides the appropriate understanding for the economics ideas they are proposing.

I agree with Alan. An MA is the "gateway for the profession", and this profession requires knowledge of some crucial topics: monetary policy, fiscal policy, international capital flows, the exchange rate. We can address them with a variety of methodology (non necessary formal models) and with insights from sociology, political sciences... But these topics must be included. If not, an MA will not form (who are considered) economists, whatever their pluralist approach is.

It is not clear what 'some kind' economics of means. If another discipline can provide powerful insights into economic phenomena, that would seem to count as good economics, no? Should we not be encouraging interdisciplinary approaches if they help us understand the economy? For instance, sociologists have studied how economic forecasting in the finance sector actually works. This is surely a potentially powerful contribution to the 'rational expectations' debate.

Most students do in economics to get jobs outside the academia as consultant, policy advisors, analysts or researchers in think-tank in both public or private institutions, not for the pure sake of knowledge. It is important to form these students on core economic topics but with a pluralist approach in terms of theories and methodologies. Employers don't care that much about mainstream or not...they care more about capabilities and prestige of the university.

I concur with Alan and Alberto, how this is identified is another matter as it seems that most universities can have an economics programme and then "produce" economists. So the accreditation should be based on not only a set of topics being covered, but some qualitative aspect of material should be included as well. Although, this feels like a big ask. In Norway there is a protected tittle for "civileconomist" (direct translation) and it could be something similar in terms of the accreditation.

Agreed in principle, but need to be more precise. EG 'proper programs in economics' seems to be defined here as 'characterising most part of the courses'. That sounds like to me that economics must make up at least 50% of the taught course material. Does that work, or does it need to be at the level of individual modules?

Master programmes are the gateway for acceptance into the profession. They are therefore the critical point for accreditation. This point could however be made more rigorous and precise, so I think it should be developed

Identify "proper" programs in economics, in which economics, although analyzed through the perspectives of other disciplines and a variety of approaches, still stands out as the leading discipline characterizing most part of the courses composing programs themselves. Avoid to embark in the accreditation process everything that contains "some form of economics".

Don't many people do masters programmes as a way of enhancing their undergraduate degrees to be more generally employable. Aren't we trying to influence all those doing masters programmes so they get a reasonably pluralist economics teaching including those who then go into work in a range of professions?

Should we not see other disciplines contribution to understanding economies as a potential gift rather than a 'dilution'? Should not teaching that takes a pluralist approach to economics ideally draw on the most appropriate, useful and insightful methods and research relevant to the topic in hand and ignore disciplinary boundaries? This may be a huge challenge but could still be an ideal?

The proposal for greater pluralism in economics must take into consideration that the many subjects likely to be introduced will confuse the students with much interesting but less vital information. So unless the aim is to make their lives harder, along with the pluralistic approach should be a master plan or program, so that the path of the main subject is clear, and that many of the pluralistic parts are regarded as ancillary. This main backbone to the whole of pluralism should be macroecon

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