Sunday, January 29, 2006

Job Market Update

A few facts and thoughts about the job market and my experience so far:

The average number of applications sent out for ABD/Ph.D. economists on the junior faculty job market is in the mid-70s. I sent out roughly 40 apps myself.

I had only 3 interviews at the AEA/ASSA meetings in Boston. I was briefly discouraged by this until I found out:

1) The average for schools of GMU's rank is 3.21 interviews.
2) A number of schools I've been in contact with didn't bother to hold interviews in Boston.

So, in spite of only having three interviews, as far as I know I'm still in the running for (i.e. I haven't been "cut" yet), right now, five jobs (without naming names):

1) A rapidly growing state university in Florida
2) A small Catholic university in Florida
3) A small state military college in rural Georgia
4) A private Christian university in Tennessee
5) A state university in North Carolina

And I have what seems to be a standing offer to work at a private research institution in New England. This seems to be my best option if my goal were to maximize my lifetime earnings, while still working on issues in political economy (consulting, for example, pays more).

The only bad news I have so far is that I'm out of the running for what was probably my top choice, a state school here in Maryland. Not only is it local, but they have what I believe to be a very good economics department.

But to answer the question, "What can a GMU grad on the job market expect?" The answer is you can expect the most attention from small, but growing schools in the South. Now, others have done better than I, and received more attention from higher-ranked schools (Pete Leeson is the best recent example), but I am probably a more typical example of a GMU Austrian/Public Choice guy on the market. If you take a look at Leeson's CV, you'll know what I mean -- he's an incredibly productive scholar.

I probably have a different set of priorities than many of my fellow GMU students who are or will soon be on the job market: I'm currently 32 years old with a family (wife and 1.5 kids). I even drive a minivan now. My largest priority is to find a job that allows me to provide for my family, yet spend time with them. I have an aggressive research agenda, but part of that agenda includes eventually turning all this work on education, intelligence, and belief into a book, of all things.

Speaking of books, Bryan Caplan's forthcoming book on voter irrationality has been receiving a lot of attention in the blogosphere lately. Since I've actually read the latest draft of the whole thing (not just the excerpt Bryan put on the web), I'll definitely be commenting on it in future posts.

For those who don't know, I was Bryan's research assistant for three years, and he's on my dissertation committee, and my dissertation is very closely related to much of Bryan's work, and we're co-authoring a series of papers on public opinion in politics and economics.


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