The Search for Economics Talent: Doctoral Completion and Research Productivity
13 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2010
Date Written: 2007
The search for talent is of particular interest to economists; in fact, nothing unites academic economists’ interest like speculation about the causes of two key measures of success in their profession: completion of the doctorate and success in publishing. We assess both outcomes by using a rich set of pre-graduate school characteristics to forecast both success in the Ph.D. program and professional achievement. Using information contained in application files to a top 5 economics Ph.D. program in 1989, we predict the determinants of doctoral degree completion and research productivity 17 years later. The results suggest that several variables consistently predict degree completion and long run research productivity: quantitative GRE scores, having a foreign undergraduate degree, and the quality of the individuals who write letters of reference.
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