Economics personal statement
Witnessing huge changes and rapid development, young men born in 1980s are facing an era in which development issues highlight in both international agenda and academic field. Many fields call for our endeavor. What can our generation contribute to the world development? This question is ineluctable for young adults with historical responsibility, including me. After years of reflection, I found that creation and implementation of improved development strategies are keys to the question. Thus, I have determined to pursue studies in development economics and contribute ideas to the society.
My understanding of development is an inch-by-inch deepening process. While in high school, China's high rate of economic growth, which was claimed to be a great, flawless feat in the news, was my only concern and biggest pride, since I believed that growth of GDP means everything. However, in my freshman year, several visits to a village near my hometown changed my mind. Maroon rivulets floating wasted plastic bags, thatch huts standing by grand houses and roaming dropout teenagers overthrew my forepassed image of development; all these ironically contrasted China's rapid GDP increase. Critical thinking, especially distrust to the exaggerating, unilateral words, replaced the credulity. I felt obligated to do something for the suffering villagers and the millions facing the same fate across the globe; my very concern for development issues began. Gradually, I transferred my attention to growth quality and other equally important dimensions such as environment, income distribution and education. Recently, Development as Freedom, the masterpiece of Amartya Sen, guided me to reexamine the goal of development and confirm the worth of freedom and equal access to opportunities.
In methodology, I attached importance to interdisciplinary collaboration. On weekends, I attended an academic salon, where my friends from various majors covering economics, political science, history and philosophy, talked about mutual concerns. In one discussion of Japan's rise after the Meiji restoration with China's contemporaneous decline, other's analysis of discrepancies in institution and culture inspired me to incorporate the role of dissimilar bureaucratic-merchant relationship into analysis. Particularly, I hold a complementary perspective on the relationships between economic history and development economics. A comparative approach was also adopted in my historical analysis to understand why certain policies were effective in a given country while others were not. I compared the implementation history of industrial policy in East Asian countries, analyzed the cross-country data sets and concluded the mutual reasons for its wax and wane. Meanwhile, I did not overlook the mastery of quantitative analysis tools. Actually, I spent extra time on mathematical training and statistic courses and got excellent scores.
While reviewing history, I noticed that, the first two generations of development economists have brought about much progress in the evolution of the subject, many unsettled questions and central issues remain to be resolved. It is an honor for me to participate in this field. I have read some academic literatures, including the World Bank reports, academic books and papers, which led me to delve into further studies. Especially Frontiers of Development Economics: the future in perspective (Gerald M. Meier, Joseph E. Stiglitz) and Economics of Development (Dwight H. Perkins et al), showed me the framework of the subject, its tasks and remaining challenges. Thus, I wish to obtain strict graduate economic training, especially with advanced quantitative methods. After a master degree, I wish to pursue doctoral studies in development economics or economic history. For me, to be an economic adviser at World Bank or think tanks such as Brookings Institution, is my ideal professional goal.
M.S. Econ program in University of Delaware is an ideal one for me. One outstanding characteristic of this program lies in the field of specialization in development economics, focusing on technology transfer, human capital formation, and microenterprise development, which all fit my academic interests. Besides, specific courses of Research Methods and Thesis Research, group studies and seminars, and guidance of prominent advisors are of special value to me, who has planned to conduct research and compose thesis in graduate studies. In the meantime, my firsthand observation and reflection of China's development together with problems amid its fast growth, including reforms in state-owned banking system, technological selection of emerging economies and the like, will be beneficial to your research on underdevelopment countries.
This personal statement was written by barrydean for application in 2010.
I am a senior student in China, major in finance, applying for the master of economics in US.