Background: I have a daughter who has been laser-focused on majoring in economics with a minor or maybe second major in philosophy since third(!) grade. She’s asked me to help her with looking into colleges that provide the type of economics she’s after, which feels like kind of a niche part of the field (though maybe not, I’m not an economist), so I figured I’d query the CC hivemind.
The main thing is that she isn’t interested in economics for the business side of it (except as far as that provides a shorthand for her interests), she’s after economics as a means for determining why humans behave as they do given the various competing items of value that they have to balance, especially regarding emotional-ish issues such as happiness or determining what counts as ethical. (And yes, I know, that sounds like philosophy—but she’s interested in quantitative approaches more than qualitative ones.) Basically behavioral economics, but what feels like an odd corner of behavioral economics.
She realizes that this is the sort of thing she probably wouldn’t be able to pursue til grad school, but she doesn’t (nor do I) quite know how to sift through all the undergrad econ programs out there to know which ones would give her the best base for that sort of graduate work. (Oh, and it would be a strong bonus for her if she wasn’t constantly faced with “The invisible hand of the free market will solve everything!” dogma.)
So after all that, for people who know the econ landscape, what sorts of programs should she be looking for? If you have specific colleges to suggest that’s appreciated, but maybe more useful would be knowing what characteristics someone with her interests and goals might want to be on the lookout for to avoid.