Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Productive Year?

The Fletcher School's graduation starts in 45 minutes. So, I'm sitting in my office in Phil Cagan's old University of Chicago graduation gown (he gave it to me) waiting for the fun to begin. I'm actually in the middle of a reflective moment. Has it been a productive academic year?

While my teaching ratings wouldn't reveal it, I actually think I gave fewer bad lectures than usual. In all 3.5 classes I taught, I think that I did a pretty good job.

In terms of academic research, my main accomplishment is this:
http://www.brookings.edu/press/books/greencities.htm

Writing a book by yourself is hard work; much harder than writing an academic paper for a pure academic audience. I can't be that burned out because Dora and I are taking our 6 social capital papers and are writing a book about Social Capital during war time. We aren't simply "stapling" the six papers together into a book. Instead, we are re-writing, re-estimating and thinking about how the papers fit together into a coherent readable book.

All academics look forward to summer, not because teaching is done but because this is a time to make the big push. We have no more excuses and it is time to get down to business. For me, this means taking my computer file called "research plan" and turning the ideas listed there into actual papers.

2 comments :

Ken said...

You go guy! Hope Lance was hot...

Been trackin your blog for some time, and may soon expand my island sustainability (susisl) bloggin.

Bought your book, and am closely following social capital concepts (as in my book, Tending the Garden Island).

As a green urban economist in Hawai`i working with a client who's building two new green towns and a cannery (all McDonough designs), and launching a sustainability leadership group on my island (Kaua`i), I'm caught up in the measurement and behavior issues you address.

Keep it coming!

Andrew Waxman said...

Prof. Kahn,
In a spare moment I was fishing for economics blogs and found yours. Very Gary Becker/Steve Posner (http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/) of you. A copy of your book is waiting at home in the States for me once I finish my master's here at Oxford (the home of the "heterodox" approach to development economics....utter nonsense). Anyways, it's worth taking a look at the article in the magazine section of the Times today on Biloxi, MS and the idiocy of the New Urbanists (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/21/magazine/21biloxi.html?hp&ex=1148270400&en=ffa0a654e188e06e&ei=5094&partner=homepage). Their utter inability to come to grips with the reality of basic price theory as it applies to housing markets in Biloxi (as any Chicago economist would love), combined with a total inability to factor in FEMA hazard assessments proved to much and they all gave up.
Anyways, best of luck with your research and thank you so much for writing the grad school rec for me.
Best Wishes,
Andrew