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Thread: US News and World Report 2017 Economics Rankings

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    Re: US News and World Report 2017 Economics Rankings

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    Small differences across the Top 10 and drop off when you reach the boundary for the Top 12. Basically, don't sweat if you're admitted in this range but obviously it's an accomplishment to get admitted. I think the absolute scores of these programs all rose even if relative ranking changed.

    This list + NYU is the generally accepted Top 10. And the Top 15 stops at rank 12 (but people generally also include UMN in this group).

    I think buckets are more informative (i.e. Top 5, Top 10, Top 15, and Top 20).

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    Re: US News and World Report 2017 Economics Rankings

    These rankings get worse every iteration. I can't take this newest iteration seriously at all

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    Re: US News and World Report 2017 Economics Rankings

    There is no Caltech.

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    Re: US News and World Report 2017 Economics Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by tm_member View Post
    There is no easy way to rank PhD programs. It's all subjective. There are 3-7 schools that are at the very top of the profession - Princeton, Harvard, MIT are definitely in there. A case could be made for Yale, Chicago, Stanford, and Berkeley to be right there next to those three. If you get into any of these seven schools, you should not be considering anything outside those and your outcomes can be expected to be similar regardless of where you choose to go. Pick whichever one you like best from this top tier.

    The next group (Tier 2) covers schools ranging from Northwestern, Maryland, Penn, and NYU, to schools like Michigan and Duke. Which school is best for you in that group depends on your interests. It also includes schools like BU, UCLA, Caltech, and Columbia. Again, if accepted in that group (but not anywhere better) you should just pick whichever one suits you.

    Below that are a third tier of schools including Boston College, Pitt, Vanderbilt, UNC, Virginia, and so on. Job market outcomes from these places is not so great - it's not that the programs are poor quality, it's just hard when the schools above them have 200-300 students graduating each year. You really need to think long and hard about attending these kinds of programs. About half of graduates from these kinds of programs end up in tenure track academic positions and those that get academic positions generally place into lower ranked schools and LACs if they are good teachers. You need to have a low opportunity cost of attending in order for these programs to make sense. Again, conditional on not getting into any schools in Tier 2, pick whichever one you like best - your outcomes from attending Virginia instead of Arizona will not be "better" (but they will be different).

    Below that level (outside of the top 50), it's tough to recommend attending a PhD unless you have very very specific reasons to do so.
    A couple of points where I disagree:

    1) The divisions between tiers are not clear, and there are exceptions to picking a school in one tier over a school in another. I would for sure take a funded Northwestern offer over an unfunded Chicago offer, for example. Students with strong field preferences may also not want to follow the tier strategy, e.g. a student who is certain of wanting to do macro should pick BC over Caltech.

    Perhaps an easier rule of thumb is that you need a strong rationale for picking a school more than 5 ranks below your highest-ranked admit in the US News rankings, and an exceptional rationale for picking a school more than 10 ranks below your highest-ranked admit. (These numbers might expand from 5 and 10 to 10 and 20 once you get to outside the top 50.)

    2) I don't think it's not worth it to attend a PhD for students outside the top 50. I teach in a department outside the top 50 and I think most of our students are making a perfectly reasonable life choice. The point is just that those students need to be aware of what their likely job market outcomes would be, and not go into a PhD if they would only accept working at a research university.

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    Re: US News and World Report 2017 Economics Rankings

    This is good advice for steady state but one needs to be careful when there is a structural change. The placements are mainly a function of the advisor, not of the program one is graduating from. In steady state, they are correlated but when there is a structural change, one needs to know how the job market works to be able to make counterfactual predictions.

    As the DGS of Rice, I started getting phone calls from good schools (e.g. University of Chicago, UPenn, Penn State, etc.) inquiring whether I could recommend any of our Rice students to tenure track positions at those schools as soon as I arrived at Rice 3 years ago. Of course I will not risk my reputation and make such recommendations when they are not warranted, but my prediction is that we will be able to make them in about 3-4 years.

    In general, I recommend looking at the placement records of the faculty in trying to make predictions about future placements.


    Quote Originally Posted by tm_member View Post
    There is no easy way to rank PhD programs. It's all subjective. There are 3-7 schools that are at the very top of the profession - Princeton, Harvard, MIT are definitely in there. A case could be made for Yale, Chicago, Stanford, and Berkeley to be right there next to those three. If you get into any of these seven schools, you should not be considering anything outside those and your outcomes can be expected to be similar regardless of where you choose to go. Pick whichever one you like best from this top tier.

    The next group (Tier 2) covers schools ranging from Northwestern, Maryland, Penn, and NYU, to schools like Michigan and Duke. Which school is best for you in that group depends on your interests. It also includes schools like BU, UCLA, Caltech, and Columbia. Again, if accepted in that group (but not anywhere better) you should just pick whichever one suits you.

    Below that are a third tier of schools including Boston College, Pitt, Vanderbilt, UNC, Virginia, and so on. Job market outcomes from these places is not so great - it's not that the programs are poor quality, it's just hard when the schools above them have 200-300 students graduating each year. You really need to think long and hard about attending these kinds of programs. About half of graduates from these kinds of programs end up in tenure track academic positions and those that get academic positions generally place into lower ranked schools and LACs if they are good teachers. You need to have a low opportunity cost of attending in order for these programs to make sense. Again, conditional on not getting into any schools in Tier 2, pick whichever one you like best - your outcomes from attending Virginia instead of Arizona will not be "better" (but they will be different).

    Below that level (outside of the top 50), it's tough to recommend attending a PhD unless you have very very specific reasons to do so.
    Last edited by hkke; 03-16-2017 at 01:01 AM. Reason: typos

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    Re: US News and World Report 2017 Economics Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by tm_member View Post
    Below that level (outside of the top 50), it's tough to recommend attending a PhD unless you have very very specific reasons to do so.
    An utterly ridiculous statement; the hubris is astounding.

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    Re: US News and World Report 2017 Economics Rankings

    Although I would agree with you, it's not politically right. Actually, one of my professors told me this as well. He said "Any Phd program below 50 is not worth attending."
    Quote Originally Posted by tm_member View Post
    There is no easy way to rank PhD programs. It's all subjective. There are 3-7 schools that are at the very top of the profession - Princeton, Harvard, MIT are definitely in there. A case could be made for Yale, Chicago, Stanford, and Berkeley to be right there next to those three. If you get into any of these seven schools, you should not be considering anything outside those and your outcomes can be expected to be similar regardless of where you choose to go. Pick whichever one you like best from this top tier.

    The next group (Tier 2) covers schools ranging from Northwestern, Maryland, Penn, and NYU, to schools like Michigan and Duke. Which school is best for you in that group depends on your interests. It also includes schools like BU, UCLA, Caltech, and Columbia. Again, if accepted in that group (but not anywhere better) you should just pick whichever one suits you.

    Below that are a third tier of schools including Boston College, Pitt, Vanderbilt, UNC, Virginia, and so on. Job market outcomes from these places is not so great - it's not that the programs are poor quality, it's just hard when the schools above them have 200-300 students graduating each year. You really need to think long and hard about attending these kinds of programs. About half of graduates from these kinds of programs end up in tenure track academic positions and those that get academic positions generally place into lower ranked schools and LACs if they are good teachers. You need to have a low opportunity cost of attending in order for these programs to make sense. Again, conditional on not getting into any schools in Tier 2, pick whichever one you like best - your outcomes from attending Virginia instead of Arizona will not be "better" (but they will be different).

    Below that level (outside of the top 50), it's tough to recommend attending a PhD unless you have very very specific reasons to do so.

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    Re: US News and World Report 2017 Economics Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by upwardly mobile View Post
    An utterly ridiculous statement; the hubris is astounding.
    tm_member is correct. It is very tough to justify going to a program outside the top 50. I have read over 5,000 jmps from students spanning every institution in the top 100. It is very obvious that there is a sharp drop in the mean-and I emphasize, mean-level of quality in jmps from candidates outside the top 50. When you read their jmps it is obvious that their training was not up to par. They submit jmps studying outdated questions using outdated methods.It is clear that they were never taught how to communicate their paper, answer questions properly, or pick out what was originally important about their topic. As a result the job market is terribly unkind to these candidates. Every time I see this I want to smack their adviser's for their incompetence.

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    Re: US News and World Report 2017 Economics Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by upwardly mobile View Post
    An utterly ridiculous statement; the hubris is astounding.
    Tough crowd. =|
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