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Empirical Analysis of Career Transitions of Sciences and Engineering Doctorates in the US


  • Natalia Mishagina

    () (Queen's University)


This paper studies career mobility of white male doctorates in natural sciences and engineering using the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (1973-2001). The paper focuses on two issues. First, it assesses the relevance of doctoral careers to sciences and engineering (S&E) in general, and research and development in particular. Second, it evaluates participation rates and mobility patterns of doctorates in careers of different types. To analyze how various factors affect mobility, a transition model with competing risks is specified and estimated. The paper finds that only half of doctorates have careers in R&D, and another 8% work in occupations outside the scope of S&E. Employment choices vary throughout a career. Mobility both within- and out of S&E is especially high during the first 16 years on the job. The effects of individual and job characteristics, research productivity, and labor market conditions on transitions are also assessed.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1137

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bruce Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman & James B. Rebitzer, 2006. "Job-Hopping in Silicon Valley: Some Evidence Concerning the Microfoundations of a High-Technology Cluster," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 472-481, August.
    2. Christopher Ferrall, 1997. "Empirical Analysis of Occupational Hierarchies," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-34.
    3. S. Robin & E. Cahuzac, 2003. "Knocking on Academia's Doors: An Inquiry into the Early Careers of Doctors in Life Sciences," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 17(1), pages 1-23, March.
    4. Jeff Biddle & Karen Roberts, 1994. "Private Sector Scientists and Engineers and the Transition to Management," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(1), pages 82-107.
    5. Mangematin, V., 2000. "PhD job market: professional trajectories and incentives during the PhD," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 741-756, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Maximo Torero, 2002. "Labor Mobility from Academe to Commerce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 629-660, July.
    8. Paul Almeida & Bruce Kogut, 1999. "Localization of Knowledge and the Mobility of Engineers in Regional Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 905-917, July.
    9. Jarle Moen, 2005. "Is Mobility of Technical Personnel a Source of R&D Spillovers?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 81-114, January.
    10. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby, 2014. "Movement of Star Scientists and Engineers and High-Tech Firm Entry," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 115-116, pages 125-175.
    11. Anna Christina D'Addio & Michael Rosholm, "undated". "Labour Market Transitions of French Youth," Economics Working Papers 2002-14, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    12. Paula Stephan & Jennifer Ma, 2005. "The Increased Frequency and Duration of the Postdoctorate Career Stage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 71-75, May.
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    More about this item


    duration analysis; competing risks; science and technology workforce; high-skilled labor; occupational choices;

    JEL classification:

    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • 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

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