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The National Science Foundation annually conducts the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), a census of all persons in receiving a research doctorate in the current academic year N = 54,664 in 2017, response rate 91.4%. SED data tables are available at https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvydoctorates/

As staff to the AEA Committee on Economic Statistics, I'm writing to tell AEA members that NSF has posted plans for the 2020-21 SED and invites public comment. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/03/22/2019-05457/agency-information-collection-activities-comment-request

The SED is relied on by economists conducting research in higher education generally and specific disciplines, particularly science & technology. The SED also provides important contextual data for AEA's professional climate efforts. It's the source, for instance, of data on gender and citizenship distribution of recent economics Ph.Ds -- of 1,237 awarded in AY2017, 812 were men and 423 were women; 539 were U.S. citizens or permanent visa holders, 647 were temporary visa holders, and the citizenship status of 61 were unknown.

Under the general field of economics, the SED offers subfields of econometrics (23 recipients in 2017) and natural resource/environmental economics (53), and everyone else is lumped into other (1,161). Would AEA members like to see additional subfields added?

The SED asks questions about current degree, educational history, employment plans, and demographic characteristics. The proposed 2020 version is here https://reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=90256900

Regarding research access to SED microdata: NSF notes "Each academic year, the results of the SED become part of the Doctorate Records File (DRF), a complete database of more than 2 million U.S.-educated doctorate recipients from 1920 to the present. . . . [R]esearchers at U.S. institutions may gain access to the DRF by completing a NCSES Restricted-Use Data Licensing Agreement (http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/license/). [NSF] is also developing a Restricted Data Analysis System (RDAS) that will allow users greater access to the SED without compromising the confidentiality of respondents."

Further information on SED plans and methods are available here https://reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewDocument?ref_nbr=201903-3145-003

If you have comments on the proposed 2020-21 SED, please let me know at areamer@gwu.edu.

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