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Interview Scheduling Strategies of New Ph.D. Economists


  • John A. List


Given the importance of job placement for Ph.D.s, it is surprising that economists have not closely examined the factors that affect procuring job interviews for new Ph.D. economists.' In this study, I investigated those factors using a data set gathered at the 1997 American Economic Association (AEA) meetings in New Orleans. My purpose was to increase the information available to Ph.D. candidates who wish to maximize their postgraduation job prospects. In addition, this study may guide undergraduates and master's candidates who seek to pursue a Ph.D. in economics. The results of the findings, however, could benefit more than job seekers-they may provide academic departments and private industry with a comparative baseline for making decisions to interview job candidates. The job market for new Ph.D.s consists of two submarkets-academic and businesshndustry. The following are questions regarding job seekers in both submarkets. (1) Do employers in academia seek the same attributes as businesshndustry? (2) Is there discrimination in the interview decision? (3) Is an MBA important in the Ph.D. market? (4) How many more interviews are secured by candidates with a finished dissertation? (5) How important are teaching and research credentials? (6) Are graduates from top-ranked programs given special consideration in the job market? (7) Do personal letters of recommendation or calls from professors make a difference in the interview decision? (8) How influential are recommendation letters from prestigious economists? (9) What is the marginal effect of submitting another application? A simple theoretic construct provides a basis for understanding the two-step job-search process carried out by new Ph.D. economists.* In the first step, the job seeker decides whether to enter one or both submarkets and determines the optimal number of applications to submit. The second step reflects the actual decision process regarding acceptance or rejection of a job offer. Because a natural
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Suggested Citation

  • John A. List, 2000. "Interview Scheduling Strategies of New Ph.D. Economists," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 191-201, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:31:y:2000:i:2:p:191-201 DOI: 10.1080/00220480009596776

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Scott, Loren C & Mitias, Peter M, 1996. "Trends in Rankings of Economics Departments in the U.S.: An Update," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(2), pages 378-400, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Krause, Annabelle & Rinne, Ulf & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2012. "Anonymous job applications of fresh Ph.D. economists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 441-444.
    2. Gallet, Craig A. & List, John A. & Orazem, Peter F., 2004. "Cyclicality and the Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 1302, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Slade, Peter, 2013. "Gender and Academic Hiring: Evidence from a Two-Sided Matching Model," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150803, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. 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.
    5. Brooke Helppie McFall & Marta Murray-Close & Robert J. Willis & Uniko Chen, 2014. "Is it all worth it? The experiences of new PhDs on the job market, 2007-2010," NBER Working Papers 20654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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