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Free Content Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists

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Abstract:

Each year, graduate students entering the academic job market worry that they will suffer due to uncontrollable macroeconomic risk. Given the importance of general human capital and the relative ease of publicly observing productivity in academia, one might expect that long-term labor market outcomes for students graduating in unfavorable climates will resemble long-term outcomes for those graduating in favorable climates. In this paper, I analyze the relationship between macroeconomic conditions at graduation, initial job placement, and long-term outcomes for Ph.D. economists from seven programs. Using macroeconomic conditions as an instrument for initial placement, I show that a quality and type of initial job have a causal effect on long-term job characteristics. I also show that better initial placement increases research productivity, which helps to limit the set of economic models that can explain the effect of initial placement on long-term jobs.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/089533006780387616

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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  • The Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP) attempts to fill a gap between the general interest press and most other academic economics journals. The journal aims to publish articles that will serve several goals: to synthesize and integrate lessons learned from active lines of economic research; to provide economic analysis of public policy issues; to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas among the fields of thinking; to offer readers an accessible source for state-of-the-art economic thinking; to suggest directions for future research; to provide insights and readings for classroom use; and to address issues relating to the economics profession.
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