Created: 1999-05-03
Last Modified: 1999-05-03
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David Romer's Rules for Making It Through Graduate School and Finishing Your Dissertation

"Out in Five"

  • Don't clutter up your life with other activities; just write.
  • Don't carry out a thorough and comprehensive search of the literature; just write.
  • Don't attempt to make sure that every page you write shows the full extent of your professional skills; just write.
  • Don't write a well-organized, well-integrated, unified dissertation; just write.
  • Don't think profound thoughts that shake the intellectual foundations of the discipline; just write.
  • If you don't have a paper started by the spring of your third year, be alarmed.
  • If you don't have a paper largely drafted by the fall of your fourth year, panic.
  • Have three new ideas a week while you are getting started.
  • Don't try to game the profession, work on what interests you.
  • Good papers in economics have three characteristics:
    • A viewpoint.
    • A lever.
    • A result.


Professor of Economics J. Bradford DeLong, 601 Evans Hall, #3880
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
(510) 643-4027 phone (510) 642-6615 fax

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