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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?

Suggested Citation

  • Valerie Smeets & Frédèric warzynski & Tom Coupé, 2006. "Does the Academic Labor Market Initially Allocate New Graduates Efficiently?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 161-172, Summer.
  • 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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ault, David E & Rutman, Gilbert L & Stevenson, Thomas, 1979. "Mobility in the Labor Market for Academic Economists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 148-153.
    2. Paul Oyer, 2006. "Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 143-160, Summer.
    3. John J. Siegfried & Wendy A. Stock, 1999. "The Labor Market for New Ph.D. Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 115-134.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana Rute Cardoso & Paulo Guimarães & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2010. "Comparing the early research performance of PhD graduates in labor economics in Europe and the USA," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, pages 621-637.
    2. Oyer, Paul, 2008. "Ability and employer learning: Evidence from the economist labor market," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 268-289, June.
    3. Coupé, Tom, 2013. "Peer review versus citations – An analysis of best paper prizes," Research Policy, Elsevier, pages 295-301.
    4. Coupé, Tom, 2013. "Peer review versus citations – An analysis of best paper prizes," Research Policy, Elsevier, pages 295-301.
    5. Blum, Matthias & De Bromhead, Alan, 2017. "Rise and fall in the Third Reich: Social mobility and Nazi membership," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2017-04, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.

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