Monday, January 29, 2018

Payoffs, Tastes, and Preferences

It looks like I managed to write exactly one blog post last semester. Huh. Let's try to improve upon that.

Last semester ended up much as it started, with my Macro Theory class a total disappointment and my statistics class an interesting (if a bit dry) intellectual challenge. Hopefully this semester will be a bit more satisfying.

This time around I'm taking ECO 354K Game Theory with Dale Stahl and ECO 341K Econometrics with Stephen Trejo.

Econometrics has a reputation as a fairly easy class, especially when compared to the 329 Stats class I took last semester. So far that seems to be true, but we're only a couple of weeks in, so the jury is still out.

Game Theory, on the other hand, has a reputation as a difficult course, a fact Dr. Stahl mentioned in the first class meeting. But so far the only challenging aspects have been understanding what the professor is trying to convey in his lectures—he sometimes rambles and gets tangled up in explanations—and what he's trying to elicit in his homework assignments—they're sometimes imprecise and ambiguous. I find this worrisome. In fact, I've considered dropping the course altogether. After all, I'm doing this not for the degree but to satisfy my own intellectual curiosity. Right?

Actually, I'm not completely convinced of my own motivations. Understanding one's own tastes and preferences is one of the most difficult things we as consumers do, I think.

When I decided to go back to school, it was simply because I was interested in economics and wanted to be taught (and graded) instead of having to create my own curriculum and discipline myself to follow it. But now I'm near the end. After this semester and one more course I'll be able to say I have degrees in computer science and economics, which appeals to me. (Actually I'll still have one degree but with a double major. Whatever.)

So unless something changes between now and 5pm Wednesday (the deadline to drop a class) I'll stick with the Game Theory class, suboptimal though it may be.

[Update]: I dropped it. Upon reflection, I didn't have confidence in the professor or his ability to deliver what I paid for. If there's one thing I learned from running a startup, it's to fire fast.

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