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The Allocation of Talent: Evidence from the Market of Economists

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  • Boehm, Michael J.
  • Watzinger, Martin
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    Abstract

    Recent research in labor economics has highlighted the substantial and long-lasting adverse effect of recessions on employment prospects and earnings. In this paper, we study whether individuals react to these shocks by changing career paths and thereby affect the selection of talent into sectors. More concretely, we examine how the publication success and career choice of graduates from the leading US economics PhD programs varies with the state of the business cycle at application and at graduation. Our results strongly support the predictions of a Roy-style model of self-selection into sectors: We find that adverse macroeconomic conditions at application lead to a substantially more productive selection of individuals into academia and at graduation they lead to more PhDs deciding to stay in academia.

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    File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/27463/
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    File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/27511/
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27463.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27463

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    Keywords: Sectoral Selection; Skill Composition; Business Cycle; Careers;

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    1. Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Jialan Wang, 2008. "Superstar Extinction," NBER Working Papers 14577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fabian Waldinger, 2012. "Peer Effects in Science: Evidence from the Dismissal of Scientists in Nazi Germany," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 838-861.
    3. Daniel Sullivan & Till von Wachter, 2009. "Job Displacement and Mortality: An Analysis Using Administrative Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1265-1306, August.
    4. Bedard, Kelly & Herman, Douglas A., 2008. "Who goes to graduate/professional school? The importance of economic fluctuations, undergraduate field, and ability," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 197-210, April.
    5. 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.
    6. Richard Freeman & John Van Reenen, 2009. "What if Congress Doubled R&D Spending on the Physical Sciences?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0931, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 1(6), pages 1346-1366, December.
    8. Craig A. Gallet & John A. List & Peter F. Orazem, 2005. "Cyclicality and the Labor Market for Economists," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 284–304, October.
    9. Glenn Ellison, 2002. "Evolving Standards for Academic Publishing: A q-r Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 994-1034, October.
    10. Goolsbee, Austan, 1998. "Does Government R&D Policy Mainly Benefit Scientists and Engineers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 298-302, May.
    11. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2006. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates," NBER Working Papers 12159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Fabian Waldinger, 2009. "Peer effects in science: evidence from Nazi Germany," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE 278, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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