Will the U.S. Keep the Best and the Brightest (as Post-Docs)? Career and Location Preferences of Foreign Stem Phds

30 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2018 Last revised: 2 Aug 2018

See all articles by Ina Ganguli

Ina Ganguli

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Department of Economics; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Center for International Development

Patrick Gaule

University of Bath

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

We estimate the career and location preferences of students in U.S. doctoral programs in a major STEM field – chemistry. Our analysis is based on novel survey conducted in 2017 of 1,605 current Chemistry doctoral students enrolled in the top 54 U.S. research intensive universities. First, we estimate the career preferences of foreign and U.S. STEM students for different types of post-graduation jobs – postdocs, industry, or teaching positions – using both hypothetical choice methods and more standard Likert measures of preferences for different careers. We find that foreign students are generally more interested in academic careers than U.S. students, even when controlling for ability and comparing students from similar subfields and programs. Next, we estimate students’ location preferences using a hypothetical choice method: we ask respondents to choose between two postdoc job offers, where one offer is in the U.S. and one is abroad. We find that foreign students have a stronger preference for U.S. locations even after controlling for ability and career preferences. Our results suggest the U.S. is managing to retain talented foreign graduate students for postdoc positions.

Suggested Citation

Ganguli, Ina and Gaule, Patrick, Will the U.S. Keep the Best and the Brightest (as Post-Docs)? Career and Location Preferences of Foreign Stem Phds (July 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24838, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3218068

Ina Ganguli (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

Amherst, MA 01003
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Center for International Development ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-9066 (Phone)

Patrick Gaule

University of Bath ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

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