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The Macro-Foundations of Microeconomics: Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists

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  • Paul Oyer

Abstract

Each year, graduate students entering the academic job market worry that they will suffer due to uncontrollable macroeconomic risk. Given the importance of general human capital and the relative ease of publicly observing productivity in academia, one might expect unlucky graduating cohorts' long-term labor market outcomes to resemble those who graduate in favorable climates. In this paper, I analyze the relationship between macroeconomic conditions at graduation, initial job placement, and long-term outcomes for PhD economists from seven programs. Using macro conditions as an instrument for initial placement, I show a causal effect of quality and type of initial job on long-term job characteristics. I also show that better initial placement increases research productivity, which helps to limit the set of economic models that can explain the effect of initial placement on long-term jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Oyer, 2006. "The Macro-Foundations of Microeconomics: Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists," NBER Working Papers 12157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12157
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Stephan, Paula E., 2010. "The Economics of Science," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    3. Webber, Douglas A., 2015. "Firm market power and the earnings distribution," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 123-134.
    4. Cutler, David M. & Huang, Wei & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2015. "When does education matter? The protective effect of education for cohorts graduating in bad times," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 63-73.
    5. Liu, Kai & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Sørensen, Erik Ø., 2016. "Good skills in bad times: Cyclical skill mismatch and the long-term effects of graduating in a recession," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 3-17.
    6. Sylvia Frühwirth‐Schnatter & Christoph Pamminger & Andrea Weber & Rudolf Winter‐Ebmer, 2012. "Labor market entry and earnings dynamics: Bayesian inference using mixtures‐of‐experts Markov chain clustering," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(7), pages 1116-1137, November.
    7. Hamaaki, Junya & Hori, Masahiro & Maeda, Saeko & Murata, Keiko, 2013. "How does the first job matter for an individual’s career life in Japan?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 154-169.
    8. Marcel Fafchamps & Marco J. van der Leij, 2006. "Scientific Networks and Co-authorship," Economics Series Working Papers 256, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Wachter, Till von & Bender, Stefan, 2007. "Do initial conditions persist between firms? : an analysis of firm-entry cohort effects and job losers using matched employer-employee data," IAB Discussion Paper 200719, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    10. Maclean, Johanna Catherine & Hill, Terrence D., 2015. "Leaving school in an economic downturn and self-esteem across early and middle adulthood," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-12.
    11. Bosquet, Clément & Combes, Pierre-Philippe, 2017. "Sorting and agglomeration economies in French economics departments," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 27-44.
    12. Natalia Mishagina, 2007. "Empirical Analysis of Career Transitions of Sciences and Engineering Doctorates in the US," Working Papers 1137, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    13. Bosquet, Clément & Combes, Pierre-Philippe, 2017. "Sorting and agglomeration economies in French economics departments," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 27-44.
    14. Beatrice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2010. "The Impact of Labor Market Entry Condition on Initial Job Assignment, Human Capital Accumulation, and Wages," NRN working papers 2010-15, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    15. repec:ner:leuven:urn:hdl:123456789/327130 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Bachmann, Ronald & Bauer, Thomas K. & David, Peggy, 2010. "Labour Market Entry Conditions, Wages and Job Mobility," Ruhr Economic Papers 188, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    17. Li, Dan & Li, Nan, 2017. "Moving to the right place at the right time: Economic effects on migrants of the Manchuria Plague of 1910–11," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 91-106.
    18. Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2008. "Do Initial Conditions Persist between Firms? An Analysis of Firm-Entry Cohort Effects and Job Losers Using Matched Employer-Employee Data," NBER Chapters,in: The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, pages 135-162 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Paul Oyer, 2006. "The Making of an Investment Banker: Macroeconomic Shocks, Career Choice, and Lifetime Income," NBER Working Papers 12059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Ylhäinen, Ilkka, 2017. "Life-cycle effects in small business finance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 176-196.
    21. Anne E Winkler & Sharon G Levin & Paula E Stephan & Wolfgang Gl&aauml;nzel, 2014. "Publishing Trends in Economics across Colleges and Universities, 1991–2007," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 560-582, September.
    22. Conti, Annamaria & Visentin, Fabiana, 2015. "A revealed preference analysis of PhD students’ choices over employment outcomes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1931-1947.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

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