Questions for Oxbridge economics applicants

Following on from Roberta Keys blog post on Tutor2u here are some questions that I have used for practice Oxbridge interviews for those candidates hoping to read economics at either Oxford or Cambridge. They might be of interest.

• Does the current crisis warrant a reappraisal of economics as broad as the one that followed the Great Depression?

• Paul Krugman said – “The economics profession went astray because economists as a group mistook beauty clad in impressive looking mathematics for truth” Does he have a point here?

• In the aftermath of the financial crisis do you see an end to the Neo-Classical theory and the Washington consensus and a return to the Keynesian Bretton Woods System?

• Is economics becoming too mathematical?

• In the response to the crisis we have seen more of the same – massive Keynesian stimulus in the form of both monetary and fiscal policy. What are your thoughts on this comment?

• Politicians and some economists said that the global economic growth from 2003 – 2007 was different from previous growth periods in history and therefore shouldn’t be alarmist. Do you agree?

• How could economists prevented a crisis like the GFC in 2008?

• How does politics impact on decision-making for economists?

• How has politics fed the belief that markets left to themselves deliver better economic outcomes?

• Can economists be trusted to draw the right conclusions and learn the right lessons from the financial crisis?

• Since the GFC there has been significant mention of the policies of economists Frederick von Hayek and John Maynard Keynes – who, if any, was right?

• You state that you have read Jeffrey Sachs’ book “Common Wealth” – what policies did he advocate to reduce poverty. (Refers to a personal statement)

• In the book “Dead Aid” you mention “Dambisa Moyo’s criticism of shock therapy in developing countries. Can you say the same in developed nations? (Refers to a personal statement)

• Macroeconomics is essentially ideological – do you agree?

• Keynes said “If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people, on a level with dentists, that would be splendid!” What did he mean?

• In a recession, should governments reduce budget deficits or increase them?

• Do zero-interest rates stimulate economic recovery or suppress it?

• Should welfare benefits be maintained or cut in response to high unemployment?

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