is economics more insular than i thought?
Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler discusses a paper by Chicago undergrad Zhengye Chen on status in the economics profession:
Of the 138 Ph.D. economics programs in the United States, the top fifteen Ph.D. programs in economics produce a substantial share of successful economics research scholars. These fifteen Ph.D. programs in turn get 59% of their faculty from only the top six schools with 39% coming from only two schools, Harvard and MIT. Those two schools are also the PhD origins for half of John Bates Clark Medal recipients. Details for assistant professors, young stars today, American Economics Association Distinguished Fellows, Nobel Laureates, and top overseas economics departments are also discussed.
This is consistent with other research on the academic profession. The top 5-10 programs dominate any given academic discipline. See, for example, Val Burris’ now classic article on elite sociology programs. What I found interesting is that economics is even more concentrated than other disciplines. Two schools with almost 40% of the market share? Wow.
Commenter MJT links to a paper by Helsinki econ professor Marko Tervio from the Review of Economics and Statistics showing that economics is even more concentrated than other disciplines:
Of all the faculty at the top 10 economics departments, 79.6% received their Ph.D. inside the top 10. For mathematics this figure is 58.3% and for comparative literature 63.2%.
This is consistent with prior work showing that economics has a more enclosed culture relative to other fields. For example, a finding is that most economics journal article citations are overwhelmingly within economics (90%+!). Historical reviews of economics emphasize the degree to which economists will try to separate themselves from other fields. I wonder if this is a long term state, or just a relic of the post-1980s move toward the purification of the discipline.