Notes on an Economics Graduation

I like graduations. Sunday was Stanford’s. It was a beautiful day, especially for economics graduates, who gathered under a big tent with family and friends in front of Stanford’s Hoover Tower, listened to a fascinating speech on matching by Nobel Prize winner Al Roth, and received their diplomas.  The weather was typical for June: low humidity, a mild 75 degrees, not a cloud in the sky.

Economics teaching was celebrated.  Caroline Hoxby won a major prize for teaching and advising a slew of Ph.D. theses, Scott McKeon for heroic teaching of undergraduate econometrics, Matt Jackson for his MOOCs. This academic year Al Roth, Susan Athey and Guido Imbens followed Caroline from Harvard and moved to Stanford. And Stanford won the Rose Bowl, another economic teaching opportunity.

Student research was celebrated.  Evan Storms, who worked on large scale matching model (with Paul Milgrom advising), and Cynthia Liu, who worked on the end of the Great Moderation (with me advising), won the university undergraduate research award.

Four years ago many of the graduates took Economics 1A (Principles of Microeconomics). One of the guest lecturers that year was my granddaughter who was not yet one year old.  Now four years old, she came by Sunday for the reception.  Over those four years the S&P 500 soared from 1K to 1.6K, but the employment to population ratio stagnated.

This year was the last for Economics 1A and Economics 1B (Principles of Macroeconomics) at Stanford. From now on we’ll combine 1A and 1B into a one-term course—Economics 1—the Principles of Economics.  I’ll be giving Economics 1 and blogging on Economics One.

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