There has been recent discussion (Twitter: https://twitter.com/fscoamodio/status/1088858596413267969?s=11
) about the timing of job offers. In particular, there are questions about exploding offers and coordination issues with European and Chinese markets. Offering departments presumably would like to be unconstrained. (Although they might agree that other departments should be constrained when offering jobs to their students.) Candidates benefit from some coordination. I suggest here some minimalist guidelines.
Cross-university guidelines for hiring are not unusual in academia. Here are two examples:
American Association of Universities: (with regard to faculty moving between institutions)
"We believe that a responsible approach for both the institutions and the faculty members would be to consider offers made or pending on May 1, or thereafter, to be effective normally only after the intervention of an academic year"
American Historical Association:
"The candidate must then have a reasonable amount of time, from the receipt of the offer in its written form... before he or she must make a binding decision. ... this period should last a minimum of two weeks from receipt of the formal offer....If university procedures make it impossible to provide a letter of intent, the candidate may be given a deadline for a decision. In such cases, however, the candidate cannot be considered to be morally bound by his or her agreement until a written document is issued and received, and has a clear right to withdraw his or her acceptance."
Let me offer a first attempt at suggesting a policy the AEA might adopt. Improvements/disagreements welcome of course.
1. Job offers should allow for a minimum two weeks following receipt of a formal, written offer to respond.
2. Job offers should remain open until at least January 31.
3. Acceptance of an offer that does not satisfy (1) and (2) is not considered ethically binding on the candidate.