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The Hazards of Doing a PhD: An Analysis of Completion and Withdrawal Rates of British PhDs in the 1980s

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  • Booth, Alison L
  • Satchell, Stephen E

Abstract

The paper examines UK PhD completion and withdrawal rates, in a competing risks framework, using the 1986 National Survey of 1980 Graduates. The statistical problem of thresholding of completion data is also addressed. We argue that our results suggest that there are problems with the use of PhD completion rates as performance indicators for academic departments. The principal results of the analysis are as follows. First, research council funding significantly increases only the male completion rate. Second, male and female completion rates are highest where the subject area of research is in the sciences or engineering. Third, ability increases the completion rate for men, but for women increases both the withdrawal and completion rates. Finally, a significant maternal role model effect is observed for female completions.

Suggested Citation

  • Booth, Alison L & Satchell, Stephen E, 1993. "The Hazards of Doing a PhD: An Analysis of Completion and Withdrawal Rates of British PhDs in the 1980s," CEPR Discussion Papers 765, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:765
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    Cited by:

    1. Pietro Garibaldi & Francesco Giavazzi & Andrea Ichino & Enrico Rettore, 2012. "College Cost and Time to Complete a Degree: Evidence from Tuition Discontinuities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 699-711, August.
    2. Brunello, Giorgio & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2003. "Why do students expect to stay longer in college? Evidence from Europe," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 247-253, August.
    3. Glocker, Daniela, 2011. "The effect of student aid on the duration of study," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 177-190, February.
    4. Wendy A. Stock & T. Aldrich Finegan & John J. Siegfried, 2006. "Attrition in Economics Ph.D. Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 458-466, May.
    5. van Ours, J. C. & Ridder, G., 2003. "Fast track or failure: a study of the graduation and dropout rates of Ph D students in economics," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 157-166, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Competing Risks; Hazard Rates; Higher Education; PhDs;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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