Do Economics Departments Search Optimally in Faculty Recruiting?
University of Colorado Department of Economics Working Paper No. 02-07
30 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2002
Date Written: June 2002
Casual observation of faculty searches by economics departments suggests that search scope varies widely. Some departments search primarily in a narrow subfield, while others search in several general or even all fields. This raises two questions: First, what is the optimal search scope for a recruiting department? And second, do departments search optimally? This paper develops a simple search model in which optimal search scope is shown to increase in the quality rank of the department. Using data from 'Job Openings for Economists', we find that higher-ranked departments do indeed conduct broader searches. This relationship is robust to the exclusion of the highest-ranked departments from the sample. We correct for measurement error in department rankings by instrumenting a reputation-based ranking with a publication-based ranking, which increases the magnitude of the quality-rank coefficient. We find that a 10-place difference in department ranking is associated with 3.3-4.6 more JEL subfields listed in a position announcement.
Keywords: Employer Search, Search Scope, Faculty Recruiting, Economics Department Rankings
JEL Classification: J44, J64, D83, L8
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