From the mail:
I am a recent graduate of an economics Ph.D. program. I had what I thought was a successful trip through the adventure that is the economics job market and chose the risky but exciting option of working for a small start-up. Unfortunately, it turns out that it was more risky than exciting and the company doesn’t have work for me after all. So, I will be going back on the job market next year, but in the meantime I have extra time on my hands and bills to pay. I don’t want a permanent position and I don’t necessarily need much work, just enough to keep the lights on and food on the table.
My brother-in-law is a graphic designer and does some freelance work on the side which made me wonder if there could be such a thing as a freelance economist. There must be many small companies or organizations who cannot afford staff economists or expensive consultants, but have data they don’t know what to do with or questions about how their business runs that they don’t know how to answer. Freakonomics readers know that economics shows up all over the place.
Some potential projects I can think of:
- A local mom & pop restaurant wants to know if the Groupon/LivingSocial deal they offered last month is having a long-term effect on sales
- A small non-profit is trying to compare the effectiveness of several different fundraising drives
- A large firm would like an answer to a small question that they don’t wish to ask their usual economics consultants
I’m a regular follower of the Freakonomics blog and thought that your readers might find this idea interesting, and can probably think of many more applications than I have. And if any readers think they might have need of a freelance economist, I can be reached at email@example.com.
I’m an empirical microeconomist, so my expertise is in data analysis. I love working with data. It is why I became an economist. I graduated from a program that is consistently ranked in the top 30 economics Ph.D. programs. The professors at my school emphasized not just answering interesting questions, but answering interesting questions well. I am happy to provide my CV, links to my research papers, and other information in private, but I prefer to stay anonymous on this public forum.
If anything interesting comes of it, I will report back in a couple weeks.
I hope this works. And: should we have a job-market section on the Freakonomics blog?