By Liz Lebron
Bradley Hardy spoke with New College and area high school students about economics, academic research, and the role of work in personal fulfillment. He delivered a talk entitled In Pursuit of Happiness: Economics in College and Beyond on Monday, May 6, as part of the Economics and Finance Mentorship Program that ran throughout the spring semester. Hardy encouraged students to think about the issues they care about and the lifestyle they want to lead when choosing a college major or career.
“These choices are premature at the high school level,” said Hardy, “but it’s important to know those choices exist.”
His faculty page at American University, where he teaches public administration and policy, lists Hardy’s research interests as “labor economics, with an emphasis on economic instability, intergenerational mobility, poverty policy, and socio-economic outcomes.” In addition to teaching, Hardy is also a nonresident senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution and a visiting scholar with the Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Russell Sage Foundation.
As a researcher, Hardy enjoys a great deal of autonomy and felt he “could deliver good work” outside of a structured workplace. While greater freedom works well for him, Hardy urged students to think about the work style that best suits them. A liberal arts education, said Hardy, is a natural fit for students who want to pursue economics.
“I was attracted to economics because it involved politics, history, and a lot of things taken together to understand how systems work.”
Hardy advised those who are not interested in economics to consider how the discipline impacts the issues and questions they care about. Economics, he said, brings quantitative tools to assess societal problems and their potential solutions.
“Whether you study it or not,” emphasized Hardy, “you do care about economics because it affects issues you care about.”
Hardy was the final presenter in the mentorship program Assistant Professor of Economics Tracy Collins organized thanks to a grant from the Women’s Giving Circle, a group of women in the Sarasota Bay community who joined forces to steer their philanthropic efforts to New College.
— Liz Lebron is associate director of communications and marketing at New College.