Can You Earn a Ph.D. in Economics in Five Years?
We investigate which of the students who entered economics Ph.D. programs in fall 2002 were more likely to earn a Ph.D. within five years, and which were more likely to have dropped out. Students enrolled in Top-15 ranked programs are less likely to have dropped out, but no more likely than others to have graduated; relatively more of them remain in the pipeline after five years of study. Students with higher verbal and quantitative GRE scores more frequently survive the first five years but are no more likely to have graduated in five years. First-year financial aid appears to reduce attrition and increase completion for U.S. citizens. Those with undergraduate degrees from Top-60 U.S. liberal arts colleges and from foreign universities have both lower attrition and higher completion probabilities. The availability of office space for Ph.D. students is related to higher retention among non-U.S. citizens, but lower completion probabilities among U.S. citizens. There are also important differences in the characteristics associated with retention and completion probabilities between men and women.
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