Forecasting Supply and Demand for PhD Economists

Forecasting Supply and Demand for PhD Economists
May 20, 2005
Joe Price
Lit Review
“Forecasting Demand and Supply of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers: Report of a
Worshop” Office of Scientific Engineering and Personnel (OSEP)
The book contains a biography of the participants of the conference that produced this
document. It would be interesting to consult with them about some of the ideas that I
have about modeling the entire market for economists which could then be used as a
model for other fields. In fact you would have to at least model similar fields because of
the infiltration idea.
Tap all of the data on the internet to get very detailed information on all where all of the
current holders of economics PhDs are right now. Where do we all end up?
Also get a detailed description of information on everyone that is currently occupying a
academic position in economics and related fields. Use vita information to create career
paths for each individual.
Use this information to predict hazard functions for when people will exit the academic
market or retire. Also use this information to model how the change in positions at each
school. Look at when new positions are created or transformed.
The process would basically be that schools have two opportunities to change the
composition of the their department. The first is when current faculty retire. In this case
they have to chose the type of faculty position to replace it with. Also for each faculty
member the school has to decide what their position will be the next year. Finally, the
department can chose to add a new faculty member and they have to chose where to start
The idea would then be to model out the evolution of a department with transition
probabilities in which the slots in each department are evolving over time. This could be
approached using David Blau’s lifespan simulations. The idea would be that we would
want to forecast the demand for new entrants on a national level.
We need historical data on every economics PhD recipient, or at least those that worked
at some point in academia. The curriculum vitae would provide this information as would
publishing data (since it records the current affiliation and position of each author).
We also need the historical record of positions at each department. This would include
the academic status and (possibly experience/tenure if it determines salary) of each
faculty member.
How many PhD recipients stay in academia?
Do you see movement into and out of academia?
Can you predict status changes and quit or retirement rates?
-how does gender, marital status, and race factor in.