Professor William F. Shughart II spoke at the Center for Growth and Opportunity’s weekly student fellows meeting on Monday, Oct. 1. Shughart is the J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice at Utah State University as well as Senior Editor at the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University.
During his remarks, Shughart shared his perspective on the importance of writing and the process of publishing. He also provided insight into what he considers the most important part of research.
“Good writing is crucial,” said Shughart. “I always consider the last thing I’ve written to be the best I’ve ever done. That’s because you should not only be writing, but rewriting and getting feedback. It’s not enough to sit in your office and stare at Word or LaTeX until you’re ready to send your paper to a journal.”
The lecture was conducted as an open forum, allowing students to ask questions and make comments throughout. Several students were seeking advice on the best strategies for determining how deep to dive into their own research projects.
“You’ve got to cover the waterfront in as few words as possible,” Shughart said. “Inevitably, that means you devote less attention to some topics than others. But that also means you get another topic for another paper later on. There are plenty of ideas out there. The constraint is time to work on those papers.”
Following the meeting, students remarked on the incredible volume of work Shughart has produced throughout his career. While also holding the positions of editor-in-chief of the scholarly journal Public Choice, Shughart has authored more than 100 academic journal articles and more than 11 books, as well as dozens of popular articles, opinion editorials and book chapters.
Shughart’s most recent research includes Gordon Tullock’s Critique of Common Law (published in The Independent Review this August), Assessing For-Profit Colleges, Interest Groups and Regulatory Capture, and Institutional Change and the Importance of Understanding Shared Mental Models.
Shughart credited his success to strong working relationships formed with other scholars and students. He talked about the importance of forming co-authorships — three out of four of his most recent pieces were co-authored.
The hour long lecture from Shughart is part of an on-going USU faculty lecture series hosted by the CGO for their Graduate and Undergraduate Research Fellows.
“Professor Shughart is one of the best resources our students have in the economics department at Utah State,” said Madison Schmidt, academic and student programs manager at the Center for Growth and Opportunity. “I can’t impress upon students enough how lucky we are to get to learn from him, and all other faculty members who are willing to work with and mentor our student fellows.”
Shughart currently serves as Research Director and Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, and is also a past president of the Southern Economic Association. A former economist at the Federal Trade Commission, he received his Ph.D. in economics from Texas A&M University, and he has taught at George Mason University, Clemson University, University of Mississippi, and the University of Arizona.
For information about opportunities to work with and mentor CGO student fellows, email firstname.lastname@example.org.