The Academic Job Market
By Arnold Kling
Two recent essays discuss the academic job market. Laura Vanderkam argues that students with good academic skills over-estimate their chances of landing a good job with a Ph.D.
Like actors, however, humanities graduate students have to realize that — except for a few jackpot cases — there is no market for their product. When you choose a career path with no market, you have to love it enough to do it for free. Chances are, you’ll do it for close to that much of the time.
Robert E. Wright condemns the wage structure that rations academic positions.
The solution is clear. The salaries for new assistant professors should be lowered until the number of qualified job applicants (not the number of new Ph.D.’s, which is just a subset of that group) and the number of job openings become more equal.
For Discussion. In another industry, if there were an excess supply of workers, a competing firm might offer a lower wage in order to cut its costs. Why does this not happen at colleges and universities?