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Matriculation in U.S. Economics Ph.D. Programs: How Many Accepted Americans Do Not Enroll?

  • 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)

Using a sample of 26 U.S. economics Ph.D. programs in Fall 2003, we estimate that only about 12 percent of the U.S. and Canadian students accepted for doctoral study did not enroll in any U.S. economics Ph.D. program in Fall 2003 or Fall 2004. It is not possible to increase the supply of new Ph.D. economists substantially by "closing the sale" on accepted applicants: additional qualified applicants are needed. Nonmatriculants are remarkably similar to enrollees in demographics, prior education, test scores, and fields of special interest, but express less interest in economic research and are less likely to have been offered financial aid. An expected financial aid deficiency was also the most-cited reason for deciding not to matriculate, followed by how long it takes to earn an economics Ph.D., and the expectation of higher lifetime earnings in a career other than economics. Most who decided against an economics Ph.D. enrolled in an alternative graduate program.

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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 0609.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0609
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  1. Charles E. Scott & John J. Siegfried, 2012. "American Economic Association Universal Academic Questionnaire Summary Statistics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 631-34, May.
  2. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "The Changing Distributions of New Ph.D. Economists and Their Employment: Implications for the Future," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 135-138, Summer.
  3. Wendy A. Stock & T. Aldrich Finegan & John J. Siegfried, 2006. "Attrition in Economics Ph.D. Programs," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0608, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  4. David Colander, 1998. "The Sounds of Silence: The Profession's Response to the COGEE Report," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(3), pages 600-607.
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