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Attrition in Economics Ph.D. Programs

  • Wendy A. Stock


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

  • T. Aldrich Finegan


    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • John J. Siegfried


    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University and AEA)

Information about 586 individuals who matriculated into 27 economics Ph.D. programs in Fall 2002 is used to estimate first and second year attrition rates. After two years, 26.5 percent of the initial cohort had left, equally divided between the first and second years. Attrition varies widely across individual programs. It is lower among the most highly rated 15 programs, for students with higher verbal and quantitative GRE scores, and for those on a research assistantship. Poor academic performance is the most cited reason for withdrawal. About 15 percent transfer to other economics programs because they are dissatisfied with some aspect of the particular program where they first enrolled.

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File Function: First version, 2006
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0608.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0608
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  1. John J. Siegfried & Wendy A. Stock, 2007. "The Undergraduate Origins of PhD Economists," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(4), pages 461-482, September.
  2. 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.
  3. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Panagiotis G. Mavros, 1992. "Do Doctoral Students' Financial Support Patterns Affect Their Times-to-Degree and Completion Probabilities," NBER Working Papers 4070, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kalaitzidakis, P. & Mamuneas, T.P. & Stengos, T., 2003. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions," Working Papers 2003-8, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  5. 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.
  6. Boschini, Anne & Lindquist, Matthew & Pettersson, Jan & Roine, Jesper, 2004. "The Incentives of Future Economists - Striking a Balance between Tools and Relevance," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 550, Stockholm School of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Alan B. Krueger & Stephen Wu, 2000. "Forecasting Job Placements of Economics Graduate Students," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(1), pages 81-94, December.
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