Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

The Ph.D. Circle in Academic Economics


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Adam Smith doubted an invisible hand in academia, saying that academia was prone to clubbish foolishness. From economics-department webpages, I collected data on Ph.D. origination of economics faculty. Using a ranking of 200 economics departments world-wide, I find that at the top departments 80-90 percent of faculty got their PhD at a top-35 department. The set of top-35 departments draws 76 percent of faculty from itself. The top-35 dominate the entire profession. Economics is more a monocentric cultural pyramid than a polycentric market.