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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: June 2014

3 - Personal Reflections on My Professional Life


In my middle fifties, and as a father of young adults who are choosing their paths in life, I find myself looking along my own path. I ask myself why I chose it, where it has taken me, and where it will lead next.

How I Became an Economist: Accidents and Ancestors

Seen from one point of view, my life as an economist is serendipitous, the accidental result of decisions that I made in order to postpone commitments to one career or another. Seen from another point of view, it was no accident that I became a macrofinance economist; perhaps psychological forces have steadily pushed me along a predetermined path.

I grew up in Oxford, England, in an academic family and was fortunate enough to have an intellectually intense education. The private schools I attended, the Dragon School and Winchester College, had their eccentricities but both challenged their students every day. I reached the moment when the English educational system demands that one choose a specialty even earlier than normal, at age fifteen.

Kremer, Michael, “The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 108 (1993): 551–575
Gabaix, Xavier and Landier, Augustin, “Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?”Quarterly Journal of Economics 123 (2008): 49–100
Glaeser, Edward, Triumph of the City (Harmondsworth, Penguin Press, 2011)