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The Handbook of Market Design$
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Nir Vulkan, Alvin E. Roth, and Zvika Neeman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570515

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570515.001.0001

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Can the Job Market for Economists be Improved?

Can the Job Market for Economists be Improved?

Chapter:
(p.189) Chapter 7 Can the Job Market for Economists be Improved?
Source:
The Handbook of Market Design
Author(s):

Sarbartha Bandyopadhyay

Fedor Iskhakov

Terence Johnson

Soohyung Lee

David Mcarthur

John Rust

Joel Watson

John Watson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570515.003.0008

This chapter describes the operation of the job market for PhD economists and an effort to improve the market's operation via the creation of the non-profit organization EconJobMarket.org (EJM), an online intermediary that serves as an ‘information clearinghouse’ to facilitate the exchange of information between applicants, recommenders, and recruiters. EJM does not attempt to alter the decentralized search and matching process by which the economics job market currently operates. Since there is unrestricted entry of intermediaries similar to EJM and a number of for-profit and non-profit organizations are currently competing in this market in addition to recruiters with their own application systems, the chapter discusses the problem of market fragmentation that can occur when too many organizations attempt to intermediate trade in the market. Contrary to conventional wisdom in industrial organization theory, the chapter shows that unrestricted entry and competition of intermediaries can result in suboptimal outcomes. The chapter discusses conditions under which the market might be improved if there is sufficient coordination to promote information sharing, such as establishing a dominant information clearinghouse that operates as a non-profit public service — a role EJM is trying to fulfill. The chapter also considers the benefits and impediments to establishing more ambitious centralized job matching mechanisms, including guided search or price-based alternatives to the current system.

Keywords:   job markets, economics job market, labor market intermediation, market fragmentation, information clearinghouse, market making, matchmaking, centralized market, market unravelling, position auctions, field experiments

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