All Posts Tagged With: "economics"
Report offers some excellent reasons to stay in school
We knew young people were having a hard time keeping jobs and finding new ones since the 2009 recession. But a TD Economics report by Francis Fong shows just how bad the job market still is:
“The economic recovery has been almost non-existent for younger Canadians (those aged 15-24 years). They accounted for more than half of all net job losses during the recession and employment still stands some 250,000 below its pre-recession peak. In contrast, jobs held by those over the age of 25 years are more than 400,000 above its level prior to the downturn.”
$90-billion possible for Saskatchewan: economist
A new report by University of Saskatchewan economist Eric Howe shows just how much Saskatchewan’s economy could gain by closing the Aboriginal education gap. Howe explains that higher education causes earnings to grow, so if Aboriginal Canadians were to become as highly-educated as non-Aboriginals, the province would increase its economic output by $90-billion. “To put this into context,” writes Howe. “The total production of potash in Saskatchewan back to the start of the industry is… four‐fifths of $90 billion.”
That said, academics often argue about how much education increases economic output. Some think gains in human capital (better skilled workers) have a large impact on economies. Others argue that credentials don’t increase employee performance much, but instead act mainly as “signals” to employers about who is likely to succeed. (To learn more see the book Academic Reform.)
Professors will study English, economics
Six North Korean professors will study English and Business at the University of British Columbia over the next six months. Professor Kyung-ae Park, director of the Centre for Korean Research at UBC, told South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that the six professors are the first group to have been invited under the Canada-DPRK Knowledge Partnership Program. DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The program is very unusual in that it allows North Korea’s professors to conduct research on a long-term basis,” said Park. “Other universities in North America are paying close attention to the program, and through it, I plan to push for exchanges between university officials of the two countries.”
The professors will have much to teach Canadians too. It’s rare that North Koreans are granted permission to travel beyond the borders of the repressive regime headed by Kim Jong Il. Universities, like much of the country, are in shambles due to the failure of its centrally-planned economy. Earlier this year, university students were reassigned to physical labour projects, in part to prepare for the 100th anniversary of the birth of their dead founder, Kim Il Sung.
Park said she believes educational exchanges are an important mechanism through which the two countries can improve relations. North Korea and Canada established diplomatic ties in 2001, but things soured when the DPRK tested nuclear weapons.
This isn’t the first time North Korea has sent professors abroad. They have also sent professors to study economics in Switzerland.
The trials of choosing a major
From what I want to study to what kind of world I idealize, there is no doubt that my first four months of independence have changed me, and the distance with which I now view those experiences, having just returned home for the holidays, affords me new and revealing perspective on my first semester of university.
Firstly, an academic dilemma has fostered just as much self-examination as my social conundrum. I came to school with the intention of majoring in international relations; my very decision to come to Trinity was based partly on their unmatched IR program. I’ve always been interested in and passionate about issues of international scope. It has always struck me that perhaps the most important issues facing humanity require solutions to be implemented at the international level. Thus, studying international relations seemed like a good idea.
The study of international relations at U of T is divided among the Departments of History, Political Science, and Economics. Cool, I thought, I like the sound of all of those. Four out of my six first year courses were dictated by my choice to major in international relations. I like one of them. The others — introductory economics and two political science courses — well . . . appropriate euphemisms escape me. I do enjoy my history of international relations course, but I’ve come to some realizations regarding the other disciplines that I wish I had understood earlier.
Political science, for instance, is not at all scientific. As far as I can tell with my obviously sparse understanding of the discipline, political science vainly attempts to squash the unsquashable nuances of political society into narrow, inflexible definitions and theories, necessarily omitting certain aspects of reality in order to achieve artificial coherency. The competing theories of realism and liberalism stand in irreconcilable opposition, each making their respective claims about human nature and the behavior of states, neither willing to compromise its convictions in the face of opposing evidence. Studying the world from such a normative perspective seems dangerous to me. History, with its focus on empirical evidence and its reluctance to make predictions or to create sweeping theories on the basis of its discoveries, seems a better way to understand why the world is the way it is.
Economics also shares this focus on empirical data, but unfortunately, it’s just boring. Again, my views are undoubtedly limited by my continued naivete and perhaps a bit of wishful thinking, but I suspect that for my purposes, I could achieve a sufficient understanding of economic activity without learning how to manipulate graphs of short- and long-run equilibrium. Maybe I’m wrong. Either way, I hate economics, and any discipline that takes as its starting point the assumption that human beings are always rational arouses serious suspicion in me.
Which brings to me a side point: it’s very easy to “learn” just enough to pass an exam — indeed, to get an entire degree — without actually learning anything. My economics course is a perfect illustration. The material is dry and the professor drier, so I don’t do the readings, don’t go to class, cram for two days before the exam, memorizing only that which I know I’m going to be tested on and nothing else, and I always manage to pull off a solid mark. Not a great mark, but enough to pass the course and go on to take more economics courses if I wanted to.
Rodney Dangerfield’s first economics class.
Rodney Dangerfield’s first economics class.
First-year economics student and rugby player sustained injuries in last week’s residence fire
A 19-year-old student has died after being injured in a residence fire last week at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont.
According to university spokesman Kevin Crowley, first-year economics student and varsity rugby player David LaForest of Toronto succumbed to his injuries Sunday in the burn unit of Hamilton General Hospital.
“This is a sad and difficult time for everyone who knew David,” said Laurier dean of students David McMurray in a written statement. “Our hearts go out to his family,”
Emergency crews were notified of the fire last Tuesday at around 6 p.m., and as the fire tore through two apartments on the fourth floor, more than 300 students were evacuated.
In the aftermath of the blaze, approximately 150 students were forced out of the damaged Waterloo College Hall residence. The university says it will pay for all the moving and relocation expenses of the displaced students.
Damage to the residence has been estimated at about $800,000.
The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office and regional police are continuing their investigation into the fire. According to the CBC, some officials suspect the blaze originated in the victim’s fourth-floor residence unit.
A memorial service for LaForest is being planned, and grief counselors will be available for any affected students.
Deciding where to get your Master’s can be a tricky thing. Here are some tips
Got a question this week.
I am a mature student just finishing my first year of studies. Looking to my future, I will complete a Masters degree in Economics. My question to you is, does it really matter where I obtain my degree?
There were more details in the full question, but the fellow in this case has some fairly compelling reasons to stay one place. He also has concerns about the reputation and marketability of the degree. And he has some fairly significant professional experience. My answer is going to hinge significantly on this last point.
Reputation, employment prospects, all the intangible aspects of a degree at one institution vs. a degree at another … frankly, I would never pretend to be in a position to evaluate all of these things accurately. But I do feel the frustration from students and applicants as they realize they aren’t in a position to do that either. The fellow who wrote in this week put is as well as I possibly could, so I’ll just quote him.
Universities spend a lot of money on marketing, luring prospective students to their campuses. They post succession rates, average salary after the program, jobsites of recent graduates, etc. This leads the reader to believe that one school degree is better than another, depending on where the student wants to work, or how much money he wants to make. All of these statistics can be grossly misleading.
Hell yeah. That’s the problem boiled down perfectly to the essentials. This sort of data is very misleading. Even when the data is collected by third parties in a comparative environment it still relies, of necessity, on the self-reported success of students. And then it’s very rarely collected by third parties at all. When you get this data it’s almost certainly presented by the school itself, and all the inevitable problems of bias and self-interest creep in. It’s probably safe to assume that no reputable school is going to outright lie to you, but there are a lot of ways to create a false impression without actually lying.
For the sake of the guy who actually wrote in, I’ll sidestep this problem entirely and give him my advice for his particular situation. When you’ve got a student who has significant employment experience already, and other sorts of qualifications to stand on, the intangible benefits of one institution over another are much less significant. Even grades become less significant. The classic example is the business executive who needs a MBA to take the next step in her career. Getting the degree may be critical. But where it comes from and what sorts of grades she actually receives are less important.