January 11, 2010

Weinstein, David Silver_nugget
[W4325] Economic Organization and Development of Japan

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Economic Development of Japan was probably one of the best economics classes I have taken at Columbia. Weinstein explains the material very well, and his lectures are lively enough to keep even a hungover senior such as myself engaged at 9am on a Thursday morning.
There is assigned reading, but virtually none of it is tested. The one piece of advice I would give to prospective students is that it is very important to actually show up to class, because he covers models on the blackboard that aren't included in the powerpoint notes. The exams focus heavily on this material, so if you try to just rely on the class notes, you are in for some trouble.
The paper is something of an ordeal (it counts for 40% of your grade), but because Professor Weinstein is actually willing to take the time to help you find a good topic, you actually end up learning something from the whole exercise.
In summary, this is a great class and I encourage every economics student to take it. The Japanese economy is very different from our own, and this is one of the few classes at Columbia that I can honestly say I got something out of.

Workload:

Midterm (difficulty - fair), Final (difficulty - fair), Paper (you can make of it what you want, but the correlation between effort and grading is high)