What’s the best (or worst) advice you ever received when it comes to being an economist?
The best advice I ever received as a graduate student was to write liberally and often, and to focus on the topics I found the most interesting. Had I not been given this advice, I would have never found my current research program--and I couldn't imagine doing anything else! The worst advice I ever received was to just do "standard" economics (by this they meant standard econometrics). This would have ended poorly!
What economic concept do you students have the most difficulty understanding?
Students are often really tripped up by the concept of cost as opportunity cost. We spend so much time thinking of cost as the equivalent of price. I spend a lot of time in micro principles trying to divorce these two ideas.
What is the most unexpected lesson you learned from you previous career as a dancer?
Comparative advantage! Some dancers are really superb at turn sequences, others at leaps, others . . . well . . . they have a comparative advantage in things other than dancing. When doing choreography--who you use for what relates directly to their comparative advantage.