+3 votes
asked ago in General Economics Questions by (150 points)
Hi Everyone,

I have a question regarding recommendation letters for PhD applications that I would appreciate if anyone could help me with. I am a research assistant and have been working with a young economist who has made it clear that he doesn't think his recommendation would carry much weight. Our boss suggested the idea of having the two of them co-write a letter of recommendation. I've worked on policy projects for both of them and on research with the younger economist, so I believe they will have non-overlapping information on my skillset.

Our boss got his PhD ~15 years ago and the younger economist about 5 years ago so they are both not sure if this is generally accepted. Is there a rule of thumb for whether or not this is a good idea? Thanks in advance!

3 Answers

+2 votes
answered ago by (6.9k points)
It would be unusual (I don't think I've seen any coauthored letters), but I don't see any problem with it.  The important thing is that the letter should convey persuasively that you will do well in a Ph.D. program. If the two recommenders can convey this more clearly by coauthoring a letter, that's fine.
+3 votes
answered ago by (610 points)
A frequent co-author and I have done this on a couple of occasions when we both worked with a student or a Research Assistant, and I think it worked out pretty well. I also haven't seen it very often on the "other side", but I don't see any clear negatives.
0 votes
answered ago by (730 points)
Another option might be to just ask them to each write a letter.