Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 24 No. 4 (Fall 2010)


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The Job Market for New Economists: A Market Design Perspective

Article Citation

Coles, Peter, John Cawley, Phillip B. Levine, Muriel Niederle, Alvin E. Roth, and John J. Siegfried. 2010. "The Job Market for New Economists: A Market Design Perspective." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(4): 187-206.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.4.187


This paper, written by the members of the American Economic Association (AEA) Ad Hoc Committee on the Job Market, provides an overview of the market for new Ph.D. economists. It describes the role of the AEA in the market and focuses in particular on two mechanisms adopted in recent years at the suggestion of our Committee. First, job market applicants now have a signaling service to send an expression of special interest to up to two employers prior to interviews at the January Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) meetings. Second, the AEA now invites candidates who are still on the market, and employers whose positions are still vacant, to participate in a web-based "scramble" to reduce search costs and thicken the late part of the job market. We present statistics on the activity in these market mechanisms and present survey evidence that both mechanisms have facilitated matches. The paper concludes by discussing the emergence of platforms for transmitting job market information and other design issues that may arise in the market for new economists.

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Coles, Peter (Harvard U)
Cawley, John (Cornell U)
Levine, Phillip B. (Wellesley College)
Niederle, Muriel (Stanford U)
Roth, Alvin E. (Harvard U)
Siegfried, John J. (Vanderbilt U and U Adelaide)

JEL Classifications

A11: Role of Economics; Role of Economists
D82: Asymmetric and Private Information
J44: Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing


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