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Free Content Does the Academic Labor Market Initially Allocate New Graduates Efficiently?

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Abstract:

It is not surprising that economics graduate students from elite and very good schools find better jobs after completion of their Ph.D. degree, on average, than do candidates from less prestigious universities. Yet the job market outcome for candidates from the same university varies quite a lot. While the top candidates from the elite schools are often able to find jobs in other elite universities, it is unclear how "average" candidates from elite schools fare compared to the top students from relatively less prestigious schools and how the relative job market outcome relates to future success as a researcher. The objective of this paper is to investigate these issues. In this paper, we compare the career trajectories of candidates coming from three different types of schools: elite universities, "very good" universities, and "good" universities. We define three types of graduates within each group: those who placed best; those who had an average placement; and those who found jobs at lower levels. Then, for each of these nine groups, we look at initial and current affiliations and we compare publication patterns of the graduates more than a decade into their academic careers. Can we say that the initial allocation was efficient, in the sense that those who placed higher were also more productive in research terms? And to what extent does the labor market for economists adapt and allow economists to move between schools as the ability of individuals to publish their work manifests itself over time?

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/089533006780387599

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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