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The Labor Market for New Ph.D.s in 2002


  • John J. Siegfried

    () (Vanderbilt University and American Economic Association)

  • Wendy A. Stock

    (Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University)


This paper reports results from a survey of the labor market experience of the 2001-02 class of Ph.D. economists. We estimate that 850 economics Ph.D.s were awarded by U.S. universities in 2001-02, down about 100 from five years earlier. Of these, 28 percent were women, and 37 percent U.S. citizens and permanent residents. On average, the graduates took 5.4 years to earn their Ph.D.s. Over 97 percent of the graduates secured a full-time job; 82 percent held permanent jobs; 59 percent were in academe. Ninety-four percent of respondents reported that they like their job. Those who do less research are more likely to be dissatisfied. The median salary of those holding full-time jobs in the U.S. is $74,000, up from $54,000 five years earlier, a compounded annual increase of 6.5 percent. Salaries of starting assistant professors are now significantly larger than the average of incumbent assistant professors at similar category institutions. Salary compression has progressed to salary inversion. A two-tier job market is emerging in academe, as the gap between the median annual nine-month salary of permanent (tenure-track) and temporary (visiting) academics has widened to $21,500. Nevertheless, 86 percent of the doctorates report that had they known at matriculation what they know now, they still would have pursued a Ph.D. in economics.

Suggested Citation

  • John J. Siegfried & Wendy A. Stock, 2004. "The Labor Market for New Ph.D.s in 2002," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0401, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0401

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(6), pages 1346-1366, December.
    2. John J. Siegfried & Wendy A. Stock, 1999. "The Labor Market for New Ph.D. Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 115-134, Summer.
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    More about this item


    Labor markets for Ph.D. economists; economists' salaries; time-to-degree for economics Ph.D.;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists

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