Public Management

The ideal economist

September 22, 2015

Public policy within organizations and markets is shaped largely by economists. But what qualities are needed to succeed in an academic environment and in the field? And will there not be a gap between academia and the field? In academia, the focus is on the specialist, who is under a lot of pressure to keep publishing, and a thorough knowledge of the economy is almost impossible, while in the field it is much more important that you have all-round knowledge and are able to place things in their historical context and with an eye on future developments.

Our society often discusses the position of economists, not only in light of their role in the financial crisis, but also because the knowledge they are taught is not relevant in the real world. To facilitate and boost the discussion in this area, TIAS professors Van Dalen and Koedijk have taken the initiative to map an economist's world, both within academia and in the field. Their research focuses on what qualities make a successful economist. Generalists are valued in the field and specialists in the academic world. However, it is primarily the internal workings of academia that cause concern. Pluriformity of vision, skills, and knowledge make the university an innovative source of knowledge. The strong emphasis on rewarding publications and citations compromises that pluriformity. The disrupting and binding force of generalists is missed there.

Read more: article about "De ideale econoom" (The ideal economist) by Van Dalen, Klamer, and Koedijk (2015, in Dutch).

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