Purpose of the call: We organized this call to learn more about the value of getting a PhD in economics to help advise people considering that path.
Why this person: We sought Robin’s thoughts because he is a like-minded economics professor with whom we already had a relationship.
We discussed what career options are available to people who get PhDs in economics, who is a good fit for a PhD in economics, and how to maximize one’s impact in economics. We did not discuss highly data-oriented questions, such as PhD acceptance rates, tenure rates, and portions of economics PhDs working in different areas.
An economics PhD is
- generally necessary for becoming an economics professor
can be a promising route (among some other potentially promising routes) to finding work in think tanks, government agencies, international organizations such as the World Bank,
can be helpful for getting a job in consulting.
Good indicators of fit for an economics PhD include aptitude for math, interest in economics, being open-minded about research topics, being able to work on challenging tasks with little direction from others, and being willing to put in a lot of hours. A firm grasp of basic economics concepts and theory, developed through years of practice, is very valuable for understanding how the social world works, which is helpful for evaluating causes and interventions.