• Member Announcement
  • August 20, 2020

AEA Guidance on Timeline for 2020-21 Economics Job Cycle

To: Members of the American Economic Association
From: Peter L. Rousseau, Secretary-Treasurer
Subject: AEA Guidance on Timeline for 2020-21 Economics Job Cycle

Dear AEA member:

The AEA Executive Committee, in conjunction with its ad hoc Committee on the Job Market, recognizes that it is to the benefit of the profession if the job market for economists is thick, with many employers and job candidates participating in the same stages at the same time.  Moreover, the AEA's goals of fairness, inclusion, and diversity are fostered by having a timeline that remains widely accepted, even as the current public health crisis requires use of the virtual format this year.  With these goals in mind, and in light of inquiries from both students and departments about how to proceed, the AEA asks that departments and other employers consider the following timeline for initial interviews and “flyouts” in the upcoming job cycle.  

Interview invitations
The AEA suggests that employers wait to extend interview invitations until Monday, December 7, 2020 or later.

Rationale: the AEA will deliver signals from job candidates to employers on December 2.  We suggest that employers wait and review those signals and incorporate them into their decision-making, before extending interview invitations.

The AEA suggests that employers conduct initial interviews starting on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, and that all interviews take place virtually; i.e. either by phone or online (e.g. by Zoom).  We also ask that all employers indicate on EconTrack when they have extended interview invitations (https://www.aeaweb.org/econtrack).

Rationale: In the past, interviews were conducted at the AEA/ASSA meetings. This promoted thickness of the market, because most candidates and employers were present at the in-person meetings, but had the disadvantage of precluding both job candidates and interviewers from fully participating in AEA/ASSA sessions. Since the 2021 AEA/ASSA meetings (which will take place Jan 3-5, 2021) will be entirely virtual, we suggest that interviews NOT take place during the AEA/ASSA meetings to allow job candidates and interviewers to participate in the conference.  Although interviews could take place prior to the meetings, we recommend that they take place afterwards, because job candidates will value the extra time to prepare given the disruption of COVID to their research and teaching.  All interviews should be conducted by phone or online to prevent risk of exposure to COVID, and to promote equality among the candidates. The use of EconTrack allows candidates to learn about the status of searches without visiting websites posting crowd-sourced information and potentially inappropriate other content.  

Flyouts and Offers
Flyouts and offers generally happen at times appropriate for the employer, and the AEA sees no reason to suggest otherwise.  We do suggest that all flyouts take place virtually, to prevent risk of exposure to COVID (not only from the in-person contact during a flyout, but also due to the candidate’s travel to an in-person flyout). We also ask that all employers indicate on EconTrack when they have extended flyout invitations and closed their searches.

Job market institutions and mechanisms
Please keep in mind the various job market institutions and mechanisms created by the AEA to improve the job market:

Thank you for your attention to this initiative. For communications from the ad hoc Committee on the Job Market, see https://www.aeaweb.org/joe/communications.