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Stay Curious, and Ask Questions


Thursday, June 10, 2021
Veronique de Rugy

Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Veronique de Rugy considers herself a generalist. As an economist, she has researched a wide range of issues, ranging from taxation to financial privacy.

“What happens is that I get not necessarily tired of an issue but there’s something that suddenly ... interests me more because it’s more in the news and it’s something I just don’t necessarily know and I want to learn more,” she said.

And that curiosity suits her quite well as a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and as a syndicated columnist.

In a Women in Economics Podcast Series episode, de Rugy discussed taxation, the importance of data visualization, her work as a columnist, and the cultural shock of moving to the U.S. from France. (The episode includes a transcript of the interview.)

During her interview, she offered advice to those interested in working at research foundations and policy institutes so they can influence public policy.

Be open to criticism and be open-minded about others, de Rugy said.

Meanwhile, “try to accumulate knowledge, beyond your area of interest,” she added. “Economists tend to often be a little deficient when it comes to knowing history well and history of thought.”

And never be embarrassed to ask questions, the economist added.

“You will never look like an idiot for asking questions,” she said. “You will look like an idiot if you publish something that is blatantly wrong and you haven’t actually done your homework or asked people who know.”

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