And real analysis—by far the hardest subject of the five—is something that you will probably never use in real econ research, but which the economics field has decided to use as a sort of general intelligence signaling device.
Greg Mankiw's Blog: Why Aspiring Economists Need Math wrote on Sep 15 2006
4. Your math courses are one long IQ test. We use math courses to figure out who is really smart.
Even undergrad Real Analysis can be difficult, I know. But why not proxy intelligence
with Masters or PhD level statistics courses? Why not require PhD applicants to have taken Masters or PhD statistics courses?
or other advanced math courses more relevant to economics?
As a high school senior, Kimball took 9th place in the USA Math Olympiad. Kimball graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard University in 1982. He then received a master's degree in linguistics from Brigham Young University in 1984. His Master's thesis was "Language, Linguistics and Philosophy: A Comparison of the Work of Roman Jakobson and the Later Wittgenstein, with Some Attention to the Philosophy of Charles Saunders Peirce." In 1987, he graduated with a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and won the David A. Wells prize for the best Harvard dissertation in economics.