Thursday, April 30, 2009

Unemployment Rate for PhD Economists = 0%

Economics has long been called the dismal science. The general economic outlook today is indeed dismal, but that doesn't mean job prospects in the field are. "There is no unemployment among Ph.D.s in economics," declares John Siegfried, a Vanderbilt University professor.

Just do the math, and you'll see why: In the current academic year, the American Economics Association has listed approximately 2,200 job openings worldwide—but U.S. universities will grant only 950 Ph.D.s in economics.

Universities themselves may cut back, but economists remain in demand in government, business, and nonprofits and as consultants or policy analysts. "Depending on the program, about half the graduates stay in academics, and the other half go into the private sector, government, or places like the World Bank or International Monetary Fund," says William Collins, director of graduate studies in economics at Vanderbilt.

Some of the most famous economics Ph.D.s straddle both worlds; think of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, and Obama advisers Christina Romer (who will chair the White House Council of Economic Advisers) and Laura D'Andrea Tyson.

~US News and World Report article "For Economists, a Moment in the Sun"

Economics Ph.D. program rankings

HT: Tom Hemphill

15 Comments:

At 4/30/2009 7:56 PM, Blogger Maria Teresa Quirke Arrau said...

PhD economists are the key to survive in this crisis.

 
At 4/30/2009 8:20 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

There's an interesting book, I believe, on the economics profession: "The Making of an Economist" by David Colander.

 
At 4/30/2009 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PhD level economics profession is highly diversified which creates conditions which does not necessarily lead to 0 unemployment with total overall demand being greater than total supply.

worst post i have read for quite sometime

 
At 4/30/2009 11:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering it was many of those same PhD economists who lead us to where we are now.....

it is but an example of the overallocation of resources.....

Perhaps it's time to look into outsourcing PhD economists too....

 
At 5/01/2009 12:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should produce more PhD's and lower the price. This is a guild system, just like medicine.

Hydra

 
At 5/01/2009 6:56 AM, Blogger 1 said...

Naturally three chronic complainers in the crowd...

None of them offered anything credible or substantial to bolster their opinions...

Sad really since there might of been something to their argument if they had...

 
At 5/01/2009 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Considering it was many of those same PhD economists who lead us to where we are now....."

Could someone explain this to me. I thought it was potential home owners taking on mortgages they couldn't afford (and should have realized this right away....someone making $50,000 should be wondering how they can live in a $500,000 house) and the lending sector that gave lent to these subprime people. Why is this the economics profession's fault?

 
At 5/01/2009 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Considering it was many of those same PhD economists who lead us to where we are now....."


. . . um, that would be MBA's actually.

 
At 5/01/2009 8:30 AM, Blogger jaike said...

"Could someone explain this to me. I thought it was potential home owners taking on mortgages they couldn't afford (and should have realized this right away....someone making $50,000 should be wondering how they can live in a $500,000 house) and the lending sector that gave lent to these subprime people. Why is this the economics profession's fault?"


Because some of them were the reasons that the government made the decisions to loosen regulations which allowed such actions to take place. They said oh this model, that model, Credit default swaps, blahlbahl houses can never go down in value.

You take that advice, have guys at the bank spin it, then you have mortgage servicers, originators and upper level mgmt at the banks going.... heck yea this is a great idea!!!!!

Then you get greedy and loosen standards more and more and more.... now were screwed

 
At 5/01/2009 9:48 AM, Blogger Realist Theorist said...

Bloomberg recently ran this story, around a PhD in Economics who used to work on Wall Street and simply cannot get a job. He's finally throwing in the towel and moving to Vermont, with long mountainman beard to boot. Very interesting article.

 
At 5/01/2009 10:03 AM, Blogger Alfred the Pug said...

This post is very misleading. The U.S. produces 950 PhDs but what about the rest of the world? Are you implying that worldwide those who receive a PhD in the U.S. get priority when being hired? Another issue, of course, is that there are also applied and agricultural economics PhDs that I bet you did not account for since *sigh* they're not that glamorous... And finally, most Americans do not speak a foreign language, so it would be very unlikely that all the PhDs awarded in the U.S. would be eligible for any job worldwide (even when taking into account that many international students get their PhDs in the U.S.).

 
At 5/01/2009 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well if a company offers to pay for my schooling I will stay with them forever as long as it pays enough for shelter and food. I would not leave for more money, I would be loyal but no company will do that because there are already to many people looking for a job with advanced degree's. I live in michigan and was applying with people with bachelor degree's for a cashier position. 700 people applied for one 10 dollar an hour full time job. I am desperate for work

 
At 6/22/2009 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Are you implying that worldwide those who receive a PhD in the U.S. get priority when being hired?"

yes. The best economics schools are in the US, and well, Germany.

 
At 12/06/2009 5:36 PM, Blogger Hanover said...

Interesting numbers, but I have to agree with a few other posts regarding abstractions in the data. It looks like a few respondents have made the observation that this data is only looking at numbers of PhD's granted in the US vs. job posting for the entire world. How many new economists are credible PhD programs in Germany or the UK contributing to this supply?

There will always be at least some level of unemployment. Differences in fields of specialty or just location will create some level of structural unemployment in every industry. While the job prospect for economists may be quite promising for the coming years, graduates may still need to search extensively and be willing to relocate to ensure a position.

 
At 2/05/2010 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I beg to differ.

I have a PhD in Economics - which I obtained with no corrections and very flattering comments from my examiners. I also have 3 years of post doctoral experience, publications and various predoctoral placements (including part time seasonal jobs in the World Bank and the European Commission as a research associate)

Do I have an academic job? Yes. Is it the job that I want? no: It is another temporary post.

Getting lectureships (as we call them in the UK - or Assistant Professorships as called in the US) these days is ridiculously hard. Of course the fact that Economics journals take their good time to turnover papers does not help much either - waiting for a year and a half to receive a rejection from a top ranking journal is not unusual at all. And if you opt to publish instead in lower ranking journals (to improve probability of success), people start doubting your commitment to "high quality research" when you go to interviews.

The truth is that I am currently very frustrated with the American and European job markets (of which I believe the "most frustrating" one currently is the British one - and so are many of my peers.

 

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