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Nobel Prize winner Finn Kydland lectures on “How to Learn Economics Effectively”

SEP . 25 2018
Peking University, Sep. 18, 2018: On the morning of September 16, 2018, Professor Finn Kydland, a famous Norwegian economist and 2004 Nobel Prize winner, delivered a speech on “How to Learn Economics Effectively” to 324 freshmen at the School of Economics, Peking University. The lecture is part of the welcoming activities at the School of Economics for first-year students.

At the beginning of his speech, Professor Kydland illustrated the importance of university studies with an economic concept “human capital”, which “describes the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes to produce economic value”. He stressed that learning at a university was part of the process of accumulating one’s human capital, which would benefit his or her whole life.

Then, Professor Kydland shared his own experience as a young student – he told the audience that they should not expect their tutors to point out for them their research field. Instead, one must step out of the comfort zone and play an active role in academic activities searching for where his or her true interest lies. Professor Kydland reminded the audience that on the one hand, an economics student should apply the theories to their daily problems. On the other hand, exchanging opinions with colleagues also help improve one’s performance in studies of economics. As an macroeconomist, Professor Kydland gave three pieces of advice based on his own experience to the freshmen: first, math always matters, for it lays the foundation of any future edifice; second, participate in research projects to both discover meaningful economic topics and cultivate an economic way of viewing the real world; third, learn some programming as useful tools for more complexed economic problems.

During the Speech

During the question and answer session, one student asked about how to study economics in a systematical way. Professor Kydland explained that studies, especially the economic ones, should first be based on the concern for practical problems. Then, correct models should be chosen or set up for solving these problems. And the final step is to examine the model and reach the conclusion through mathematical method or computing programming. What’s more, economics, from his perspective, is a branch of learning that absorbs fresh energy from many other subjects, thus interdisciplinary cooperation will play a more and more important part in economic studies. When talking about the future of Chinese economics, Professor Kydland held the opinion that the steady progress of Chinese economy relies on the further optimization of the allocation of resources, the deepening reform on market, and the stimulation of the economic vigor.

During the Question and Answer Session

After the speech, Professor Dong Zhiyong, dean of School of Economics at Peking University, issued a commemorative certificate to Professor Kydland for his former speech. Professor Kydland willingly accepted this present and then took group photos with every student present at the ceremony.

Professor Dong Zhiyong Awarded the Certificate to Professor Finn Kydland

At the end, Professor Kydland left an encouraging note as a goodbye gift for the young students who have just set their foot upon the field of economics:

The Hand-Written Note from Professor Finn Kydland

Dear Students,
Economics is great! You’ve made a wise choice in entering this internationally renowned university. I enjoyed tremendously speaking to and with you and hanging out with you.
Best wishes,
Finn Kydland

Written by: Wang Nini
Edited by: Yan Shengnan, Xu Liangdi