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The Ph.D. Circle in Academic Economics

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  • Daniel B. Klein

Abstract

Adam Smith doubted an invisible hand in academia, saying that academia was prone to clubbish foolishness. From economics-department webpages, I collected data on Ph.D. origination of economics faculty. Using a ranking of 200 economics departments world-wide, I find that at the top departments 80-90 percent of faculty got their PhD at a top-35 department. The set of top-35 departments draws 76 percent of faculty from itself. The top-35 dominate the entire profession. Economics is more a monocentric cultural pyramid than a polycentric market.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel B. Klein, 2005. "The Ph.D. Circle in Academic Economics," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 2(1), pages 133-148, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:2:y:2005:i:1:p:133-148
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Boschini, Anne & Lindquist, Matthew & Pettersson, Jan & Roine, Jesper, 2004. "The Incentives of Future Economists - Striking a Balance between Tools and Relevance," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 550, Stockholm School of Economics.
    2. Dan Johansson, 2004. "Economics Without Entrepreneurship or Institutions: A Vocabulary Analysis of Graduate Textbooks," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(3), pages 515-538, December.
    3. Robert H. Nelson, 2004. "Scholasticism versus Pietism: The Battle for the Soul of Economics," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(3), pages 473-497, December.
    4. Anne D. Boschini & Matthew J. Lindquist & Jan Pettersson & Jesper Roine, 2004. "Learning to Lose a Leg: Casualties of PhD Economics Training in Stockholm," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(2), pages 369-379, August.
    5. Wendy A. Stock & Richard M. Alston, 2000. "Effect of Graduate-Program Rank on Success in the Job Market," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(4), pages 389-401, December.
    6. Sherwin Rosen, 1997. "Austrian and Neoclassical Economics: Any Gains from Trade?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 139-152, Fall.
    7. Kocher, Martin G & Sutter, Matthias, 2001. "The Institutional Concentration of Authors in Top Journals of Economics during the Last Two Decades," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(472), pages 405-421, June.
    8. Spellman, William E & Gabriel, D Bruce, 1978. "Graduate Students in Economics, 1940-74," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(1), pages 182-187, March.
    9. Paul J. Pieper & Rachel A. Willis, 1999. "The Doctoral Origins of Economics Faculty and the Education of New Economics Doctorates," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 80-88, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Williams, Paul F. & Jenkins, J. Gregory & Ingraham, Laura, 2006. "The winnowing away of behavioral accounting research in the US: The process for anointing academic elites," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 783-818, November.
    2. Daniel Sutter & Rex Pjesky, 2007. "Where Would Adam Smith Publish Today? The Near Absence of Math-free Research in Top Journals," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 4(2), pages 230-240, May.
    3. Edwards, John Richard & Dean, Graeme & Clarke, Frank & Wolnizer, Peter, 2013. "Accounting academic elites: The tale of ARIA," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 365-381.
    4. Rex J. Pjesky & Daniel Sutter, 2011. "Does the Lack of a Profit Motive Affect Hiring in Academe? Evidence from the Market for Lawyers," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 1053-1084, October.
    5. Emily C. Skarbek, 2010. "From Promiscuity to Commitment: Peter Boettke's Approach to Mentoring "Mainline" Economists," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 26(Fall 2010), pages 143-152.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ph.D. origination; self-validation; academia; scholasticism; Adam Smith;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics

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