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The Allocation of Talent: Evidence from the Market of Economists

  • Boehm, Michael J.
  • Watzinger, Martin
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    Recent research in labor economics has highlighted the substantial and long-lasting adverse effect of recessions on employment prospects and earnings. In this paper, we study whether individuals react to these shocks by changing career paths and thereby affect the selection of talent into sectors. More concretely, we examine how the publication success and career choice of graduates from the leading US economics PhD programs varies with the state of the business cycle at application and at graduation. Our results strongly support the predictions of a Roy-style model of self-selection into sectors: We find that adverse macroeconomic conditions at application lead to a substantially more productive selection of individuals into academia and at graduation they lead to more PhDs deciding to stay in academia.

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    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27463.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27463
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    1. Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Jialan Wang, 2010. "Superstar Extinction," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 549-589, May.
    2. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2001. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics," Discussion Papers in Economics 01/8, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Fabian Waldinger, 2009. "Peer Effects in Science - Evidence from the Dismissal of Scientists in Nazi Germany," CEP Discussion Papers dp0910, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    6. 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.
    7. Glenn Ellison, 2002. "Evolving Standards for Academic Publishing: A q-r Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 994-1034, October.
    8. John Van Reenen & Richard B. Freeman, 2009. "What if Congress doubled R&D spending on the physical sciences?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25478, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Goolsbee, Austan, 1998. "Does Government R&D Policy Mainly Benefit Scientists and Engineers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 298-302, May.
    10. Bedard, Kelly & Herman, Douglas A., 2008. "Who goes to graduate/professional school? The importance of economic fluctuations, undergraduate field, and ability," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 197-210, April.
    11. Fabian Waldinger, 2009. "Peer effects in science: evidence from Nazi Germany," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 278, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    12. Daniel Sullivan & Till von Wachter, 2009. "Job Displacement and Mortality: An Analysis Using Administrative Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1265-1306, August.
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