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RISIS Research Seminar: The labor-market placement of trained PhDs outside academia: measurement and analysis

Iversen, Eric; Capasso, Marco

There is a long tradition of literature linking the 'production of PhDs' to the 'deployment' of trained PhDs in the labor-market. Much of this literature has focused on the 'reproduction rate' of academic positions, indicating a swing from a 'scarcity' of trained PhDs in the 1950s to a notable 'surplus' from about the 1990s. A recent focus has turned to the question of what happens to the increasing number of trained PhDs who do not move into academic careers or careers in aligned 'research sectors' (government labs, hospitals). How many trained PhDs wind up outside the academia? Where do they go? In what ways has this share changed? What implications does this 'export' have for the (knowledge) economy?

Focusing on Norway, the seminar presents fresh answers to these perennial questions. The seminar first introduces key analytical issues while briefly taking stock of the strengths/weaknesses of empirical lenses that have been used/are being used to address these questions. Its focus, however, is on the analytical possibilities that result from improving the lenses that are now under development. We focus here on the potential strengths that the evolving international CDH approach (“Career of Doctorate Holders (CDH)” potentially holds in cases where it is built on (education and labor-market) register microdata.

We report on work-in-progress* that explores how this approach could be leveraged with other data to better understand the changing deployment of trained PhDs in the labor-market across time. The experimental exercise links education and labor-market microdata (Source Statistics Norway).  Three steps are taken to align the resulting (panel) dataset, which is observed in the labor-market, with the concurrent PhD production from Norwegian HEIs. Focusing on of the ‘deployment’ of PhDs in the Norwegian economy for 2009-2016, we show that the approach allows new scope to analyze not only the  initial ‘placement’ of  ‘newly minted PhDs’ but also of their subsequent careers in the wider labor-market.  Results are presented.

*Iversen, Eric, Zach Andreadakis, & Marco Capasso (2021) Labor-market placement of doctorate degree holders in Norway

Carter Bloch, from University of Aarhus, presented his discussion on the paper.

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