One of our PPE tutors explains their own particular interests in Economics:
My particular interest within Economics lies within modelling, due to the real world implications as well as the mathematical rigour upon which the model is based. I particularly enjoy building up macroeconomic models from the basics as the base assumptions made can have incredibly varied outcomes, and choosing the appropriate model for distinct situations is crucial; for example, the assumptions made in the IS-LM model (a model relating interest rates to GDP) can either show a Keynesian view of the world (i.e. Fiscal Policy is a better tool to stimulate the economy) or a monetarist view of the world (such as Friedman’s views about the importance of money supply). In addition, I enjoy the mathematics behind this modelling as it allows you to approach what initially seem like fairly qualitative issues (e.g. how should a consumer spend their income based on two goods they like) with precise mathematical techniques to achieve a specific result. For example, given a budget constraint and utility function, one can derive the exact quantities they should consume of the goods available to them based on their prices, and the marginal rate of substitution (which depends on their utility functions).
And what does a typical day look like for you?
My typical day would involve going to two/three lectures in the morning, followed by lunch. After this, I would either have a supervision (which is the small group teaching that Oxbridge specialises in, where I am taught in a group of three or fewer by an expert on the topic) or have time to work on the assignment for my next supervision. Following this, if I am not busy with work I would go to an evening activity; there’s always something going on which interests me, whether it’s a play or a speaker at the Union. Most recently I saw Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White in Breaking Bad, and spoke about his roles in TV and at the theatre, his character of Walter White and how his fame affected his life. As supervisions and lectures are normally held during the weekdays, this means that my usual day is normally quite similar to this. Weekends would also mostly involve getting work done, but I am also on the committee for a cultural Arts show, and currently, we have committee meetings during the weekends as well as rehearsals for our dance. On the whole, although I am generally very busy during term time, I feel that I am able to achieve a good work-life balance.