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Does the Academic Labor Market Initially Allocate New Graduates Efficiently?

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  • Valerie Smeets
  • Frédèric warzynski
  • Tom Coupé

Abstract

It is not surprising that economics graduate students from elite and very good schools find better jobs after completion of their Ph.D. degree, on average, than do candidates from less prestigious universities. Yet the job market outcome for candidates from the same university varies quite a lot. While the top candidates from the elite schools are often able to find jobs in other elite universities, it is unclear how "average" candidates from elite schools fare compared to the top students from relatively less prestigious schools and how the relative job market outcome relates to future success as a researcher. The objective of this paper is to investigate these issues. In this paper, we compare the career trajectories of candidates coming from three different types of schools: elite universities, very good universities, and good universities. We define three types of graduates within each group: those who placed best; those who had an average placement; and those who found jobs at lower levels. Then, for each of these nine groups, we look at initial and current affiliations and we compare publication patterns of the graduates more than a decade into their academic careers. Can we say that the initial allocation was efficient, in the sense that those who placed higher were also more productive in research terms? And to what extent does the labor market for economists adapt and allow economists to move between schools as the ability of individuals to publish their work manifests itself over time?

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.20.3.161
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 20 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 161-172

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:20:y:2006:i:3:p:161-172

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.20.3.161
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  1. John J. Siegfried & Wendy A. Stock, 1999. "The Labor Market for New Ph.D. Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 115-134, Summer.
  2. Ault, David E & Rutman, Gilbert L & Stevenson, Thomas, 1979. "Mobility in the Labor Market for Academic Economists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 148-53, May.
  3. Paul Oyer, 2006. "Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 143-160, Summer.
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Cited by:
  1. Ana Rute Cardoso & Paulo Guimaraes & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2008. "Comparing the Early Research Performance of PhD Graduates in Labor Economics in Europe and the USA," Working Papers 368, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Paul Oyer, 2008. "Ability and employer learning: Evidence from the economist labor market," NBER Chapters, in: Organizational Innovation and Firm Performance, pages 268-289 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Tom Coupe, 2010. "Peer Review versus Citations - An Analysis of Best Paper Prizes," Discussion Papers 35, Kyiv School of Economics.

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