Thursday, 22 July 2010


Well, it's always nice to be asked... especially if it's a sign that you are known for something. Well, almost always. Recently, I found this in my inbox:

from: NN


date: Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 18:13

subject: Bubble Help!

Dear Sir,
I am a member of an Irish University and my Economics thesis is on the link between irrationality and bubbles in the financial market, was wondering would you have any journal recommendations or articles which could help me within this topic.

Thank you
Yes, absolutely. As a matter of fact, since I work in the area, it'll be more efficient if I write the thesis for you, and send you a draft next week.

I also enjoyed this one:

from: NN


date: Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 00:28

subject: about your paper "How the West Invented Fertility Restriction"

Dear Professor Voth,

I am UBC PhD and have some questions about your paper "How the West Invented Fertility Restriction". As i have not encountered this topic before, if you have some spare time, I would be thankful to have your ideas on these:

1) It seems that European Marriage Pattern is a puzzle that there has been many researches trying to solve the puzzle. Is there any surveys or texts you can introduce me that summrizes different ideas about this subject?

2) In your paper, you have brought some evidence that fertility restrictions through late marriage was voluntary in old days. Are there any counter arguments in the litrature? Does any other researcher interprets this fertility restrictions through late marriage, in another way?

3) And if there are any useful references for this subject.


This is after my co-author gave a presentation at UBC. The paper has 4.5 pages of references; we also spend a lot of time on possible counterarguments... Reading? A paper? You gotta be kidding. Let's write to the authors instead, and get some personalized feedback on unique questions.

Hmmm. Maybe I can magically transfor my career by trying this:

Dear Jean Tirole/Philip Aghion/Elhanan Helpman/Robert Barro,

I am a member of UPF's economics department. I would like to publish a brilliant paper. Please send me your most outstanding articles (unpublished), so that I can put my name on them and submit them to the AER.

Joachim Voth

Don't get me wrong - I love to hear from students interested in my research. I just hope that the level of interest is a touch above "help me with my homework, pls"...

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