Owen Zidar sends us back to the Wall Street Journal of twenty years ago, reminding us why Berkeley Economics has punched so much above the fundamental weight of the relative resources allowed us by the university over the past generation, and will continue to punch well above its fundamental weight in the future: a ruthless focus on what is important, a profound attention to what works, and an enthusiasm for marking our beliefs to market very rarely found as a guiding ethos in other economics departments:
Owen Zidar: Back to the World: Berkeley’s Economists Attack Policy Issues With Unusual Gusto: "Berkeley is having prospective PhD students visit the economics department today, so I wanted to share an old gem on Berkeley’s “real world economics”
WALL STREET JOURNAL (J) 12/01/95 Copyright (c) 1995 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. By Thomas T. Vogel Jr. Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal BERKELEY, Calif.: Activists have taken over at Berkeley, again. The school that was synonymous with 1960s tie-dyed radicalism is once more in the vanguard. This time it’s shaking up the economics profession, and the rebels are on the faculty, the 42 Ph.D.s in the Department of Economics at this University of California campus.
Their battle cry is “real-world economics,” and they talk and write about today’s hot-button issues, such as jobs and wages, immigration policy, the dollar and currency markets, business cycles and technology’s role in economic growth. While intellectually rigorous, many of their pursuits are a sharp departure from the esoteric realms of many academic economists, who churn out papers strewn with Greek- letter formulas understood by few and interesting to even fewer.