The Unhidden Curriculum: Bellemare’s “Doing Economics”

J Edgar Mihelic
2 min readJun 21, 2022

Back when I was a baby in undergrad, I saw my professors and wanted to have their job. How nice, I thought, it must be to only teach a few classes a semester and have all that free time.

I sought out graduate school and even then, my main waring was that I should not got into debt for graduate school. It was not until I was in graduate school when I had a class that an introduction to graduate studies (this being an earlier version of myself who wanted to be a poet or something like that). Only then was there a glimpse of what it meant to work in and around academia as a profession and not just as a scholarly pursuit.

There’s a hidden curriculum that doesn’t stay hidden on purpose, I don’t think, but is more passed on down though folk wisdom. I imagine this is why PhDs are way more likely to have parents with terminal degrees than any random person on the street. There’s a lot below the surface that even if you are studying a subject that you just don’t know. There’s rules to these games and a lot of people walk though the door without even knowing that they’re playing a game.

In “Doing Economics,” Marc Bellemare tries to lay these rules out for people. He breaks down what you should have in your applied econ papers, and he breaks down what your approach should be to different kinds of presentations and even about how you should approach social media. One noticeable absence is how to navigate the job market, but I guess even with then more standardized search method econ has the market is heterogeneous enough and changes enough it would be a dated topic the day the book was published. The author does make acknowledgements of this absence.

My only real quibble is that I think the subtitle has the audience wrong. It might be worthwhile for junior scholars, but I think the real utility would be more for your motivated juniors who are thinking about going to graduate school. That introduction to grad studies was great in that it really showed me what the profession would be like. I might have better served professionally had I not moved across the country as a young man trying to pursue my dreams when I didn’t really even know what my dreams were. It all worked out in the end though, so I have no complaints.

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