My PhD

This year, if all goes well, I will defend my PhD thesis on the 6th September. As a writer and performer, it may seem unusual that I should have written a doctoral thesis on finance, but it speaks more to my approach to life than anything else.

When I started, I had no intention of doing a PhD and least of all in finance. I suppose, had I been serious, I would have chosen mathematics or philosophy. However, through a series of coincidences, I was told that, were I to apply for the PhD, I would get it and, frankly, I saw no harm in the proposition.

What ended up happening was that I wound up studying psychology and neuroscience, which now features heavily in my final thesis. I learned about something called a utility function, which converts explicit value into implicit value. For example, imagine $10. The implicit value between $0 and $10 is substantially more than that between $1,000,000 and $1,000,010, even though the explicit value is the same. A utility function incorporates this effect.

But from there you start to learn all the other ways in which people consistently misvalue things and suddenly, the connection between money and psychology becomes overwhelmingly fascinating. Is it possible to construct an equation that puts the correct price on things and if not, why not? The law of one price is a central underpinning of the current structure of the global economy but, in general, it doesn't really work.

Now that my PhD is nearing its end and I'm working on becoming a professional writer/performer, I hope I get the opportunity to share my work with everyone and engage people on the subject. Most of the people I see explaining economics on television today are professional journalists who are put in front of a camera. If I get the chance, I would like to be one of the few people who are directly engaged in explaining economics and finance to everyone. I think this is really important.

Please contact me if you'd like to find out more.