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Thread: Co-Author In Non-Econ Publication/Non-Econ Experience in Application

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    Co-Author In Non-Econ Publication/Non-Econ Experience in Application

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    Hi all,

    In my undergraduate degree, I had the unusual opportunity of working with a mathematics faculty member on a paper which led to a publication in a leading journal soon after our research concluded. Outside of a brief literature review, this is the only significant, faculty-led research experience that I've got under my belt. On top of that, I was also a highly regarded TA for a linear algebra course for several semesters before I graduated from undergrad. To make matters a bit more confusing, I have what I believe to be non-competitive mathematics grades in the courses that I took as an undergraduate (B level for the most part).

    I was wondering if anyone knows what the general consensus is on non-economics publications and non-economics TA experiences in the context of applying for Econ PhD programs?
    Are these experiences enough to potentially make up for some of my lackluster mathematics grades?

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    Re: Co-Author In Non-Econ Publication/Non-Econ Experience in Application

    Unless that publication is in a journal well-known to economists (JASA is one that comes to mind for me), it probably does not matter much. The TA experience wouldn't hurt, but it wouldn't help either because a school wouldn't admit someone solely due to the fact that they can TA well.

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    Re: Co-Author In Non-Econ Publication/Non-Econ Experience in Application

    A co-authored publication in a "leading" math journal is certainly a significant positive signal, and is a lot more relevant than a publication in, say, sociology or political science (so your question should be more specific than it is). But it's hard to tell you exactly how significant it will be without further info on the field/ranking of the journal.

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    Re: Co-Author In Non-Econ Publication/Non-Econ Experience in Application

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    A co-authored publication in a "leading" math journal is certainly a significant positive signal, and is a lot more relevant than a publication in, say, sociology or political science (so your question should be more specific than it is). But it's hard to tell you exactly how significant it will be without further info on the field/ranking of the journal.
    Hi chateauheart, thanks for the reply. To provide some more context, the name of the journal that the work is published in is 'Experimental Mathematics' (Taylor & Francis) and the field of study was, of course, in experimental mathematics. I can really only gauge the reputation of the journal vicariously through the reaction of the faculty member that I worked with, but he seemed very excited about being published in that particular journal when I spoke with him about it.

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    Re: Co-Author In Non-Econ Publication/Non-Econ Experience in Application

    Is that even a "leading journal"? I could be wrong. When I first read your post, I thought you meant something like the annals of applied probability or something.

    Even then, I think that your letters are going to be important because it will convey what you actually contributed. But your grades are going to imprint some doubts onto adcom's assessments.

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    Re: Co-Author In Non-Econ Publication/Non-Econ Experience in Application

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubrus View Post
    Is that even a "leading journal"? I could be wrong. When I first read your post, I thought you meant something like the annals of applied probability or something.

    Even then, I think that your letters are going to be important because it will convey what you actually contributed. But your grades are going to imprint some doubts onto adcom's assessments.
    I spent some time and looked into the reputation of the article and according to the wikipedia page (possibly questionable source) it allegedly has a fairly decent reputation within the mathematics community. If it's any compensation, most of the work that I did in that group was rather prob/stats heavy. Do agree that adcoms will not take kindly to some of my poor math grades. That is my biggest concern for my profile at this point.
    Last edited by EconGnome; 09-21-2018 at 02:31 AM.

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    Re: Co-Author In Non-Econ Publication/Non-Econ Experience in Application

    To be honest, I think you should ask yourself this question: if I were to ask a random economist at the schools I target what he or she thinks about the journal I have published in, what would the response be? If you think that most of them would say, "I don't know anything about it", "haven't heard of it", or something of that sort, then it should signal to you that the paper you published as a coauthor may not carry much weight in the admission process (it does carry some weight since it's a piece of research that shows your ability to do the work, but it may not be as significant as you hope it will be)

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    Re: Co-Author In Non-Econ Publication/Non-Econ Experience in Application

    I've heard about Experimental Mathematics, but only by chance. It's a decent second-tier journal but wouldn't be ranked among the top 50 math journals, so I doubt most economists know about the journal. But it's still a legit journal that most active mathematicians would be happy to publish in. I think this falls under the range where your typical adcoms won't know about the journal, but it's worthwhile for you to emphasize the publication because it ought to be a strong signal. Your math letter-writer will probably add some contextual information, but you can also add a footnote to your SOP or CV saying "classified as an A journal by the Australian Mathematics Society Journal Rankings)" or something similar.

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