14 Aug 2010

5-Year-Old to PhD Economist: Sorry!

Humor 7 Comments

A bit of background: I have a PhD in economics from New York University, which I believe is arguably one of the top 10 departments (in the world?), though when I was there, it was more like top-15. (BTW, I’m not being funny with that line; I really mean that NYU’s ranking went up because of a bunch of new hires, just as I was leaving.)

While at NYU, it’s true that my dissertation was on capital & interest theory. However, my “major” (not the actual term) was in “theory,” which meant microeconomics and game theory. And within the game theory classes, I was kind of a big deal, to quote Will Ferrell.

So you can appreciate my shock when my 5-year-old absolutely destroyed me in two back-to-back games of Sorry! Naturally, my first thought was that our strategy profile did not constitute a subgame perfect Nash equilibrium.

But then I realized that my decision to “mix things up” by switching from Blue to Yellow–while my son continued to play his favorite color, Green–had serious strategic consequences:

7 Responses to “5-Year-Old to PhD Economist: Sorry!”

  1. Andy says:


  2. Jim D says:

    You may have been shocked, but you loved every minute of it!
    Amazing to watch the little ones develop.

  3. senyoreconomist says:

    I think I saw your phd somewhere on line, and if I remember correctly, I was (very happily) suirprised to see that there was no math in it. Were you really able to get your phd dissertation through without any math in it, or did I just miss it? People keep saying that things are improving for Austrians, and I know that in some ways thtey are, but in other ways things seem to be getting worse. I mean if people like Krugman are complaining that the mathematizatiion has gone too far, then I don’t see how Austrians can think things are improving, at least from a methodological standpopint. If I remember correctly, pro math Friedman complained that things were getting too mathematized, but that complaint appears to have had little affect on the trend because then it got so bad that evern Krugman complained about it. It just seems that the quantitative juggernaut keeps going, full steam ahead.

    • bobmurphy says:

      Well, the appendix was a general equilibrium model. And it should be noted that I am not in academia anymore, so some would say that my dissertation choice was a bad one.

  4. senyoreconomist says:

    The rather large number of spelling mistakes in my previous post were due to my not having my reading glasses handy…

  5. Austrian Spectre says:

    Hey Bob,

    Long time reader, first-time commentor. I was interested in learning what universities you have on your list for best PhD programs in economics. I am considering graduate work in the not too distant future (taking on all the debt I can to watch it be monetized away – j/k). So what schools are on your list?

    • bobmurphy says:

      I’m actually out of the loop in terms of academia. Walter Block compiles lists of “Austrian friendly” places. Other than that, I would just look at regular rankings of departments, and then see if you like faculty in any of them.