nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2009‒05‒16
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. The Last of the American Ag Economists By Epperson, James E.
  2. Just a Paycheck? Assessing Student Benefits of Work on Faculty Research Projects By Mathews, Leah Greden

  1. By: Epperson, James E.
    Abstract: It has become more and more difficult to recruit prospective American Ph.D. students in Agricultural and Applied Economics. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of the problem, to ascertain why with respect to location and other important factors, and hopefully deduce recruiting solutions. Results indicate that the paramount factors in a profile of those willing to pay the price in terms of sacrifice and effort to obtain a Ph.D. encompass willingness to accept a relatively low starting salary with a Ph.D., likely to be a Foreign National, prone to be in a Midwestern university, and willing to relocate globally. Generally, the Ph.D. starting salary would have to increase dramatically to change the minds of graduate students not intending to pursue a Ph.D. including most American graduate students. A change in public policy appears to be the only real solution.
    Keywords: American, Agricultural Economists, Ph.D., Salaries, Probit, Labor and Human Capital,
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Mathews, Leah Greden
    Abstract: The benefits that students gain from designing and implementing their own independent undergraduate research projects is often presented as a valuable step in their academic career, and a stepping stone to graduate school success. However, it is not clear what benefits students receive when working as undergraduate research assistants on faculty research projects where they, the students, have little or no input into the project or its design. This paper reports on a survey of undergraduate students who participated as wage laborers on two separate faculty-directed research projects. The results of the study suggest that students gain valuable knowledge and skills that serve as constructive preparation for work, personal lives and graduate school careers; in addition, their participation in research enhances their overall undergraduate experience.
    Keywords: student learning, assessment, undergraduate research, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession,
    Date: 2009
  3. By: George Grantham
    Abstract: Cognitive obstacles to perception of novelty on the scientific frontier created obstacles to evaluating scientific work and recruiting scientific workers had to be overcome for the scientific enterprise to expand to the point where it could significantly affect factor productivity. The principal problems arise from the idiosyncracy of observations on the research frontier and the exceptional specificity of the human capital employed in identifying and validating scientific novelty. Resolution of these problems was by no means inevitable or predictable, as the scientific institutions which had emerged as the principal institutional support of ‘Open Science’ in the seventeenth and eighteenth century could not be efficiently scaled up to accommodate the requirements of a greatly expanded scientific enterprise. This paper recounts how in the second quarter of the nineteenth century the emergence of decentralized university-based research networks in Germany resolved the problem of scale, laying the foundations for the discoveries that powered the ‘Second Industrial Revolution’ of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
    JEL: D80 D82 D83 D89 O17 O30 O31 O34
    Date: 2009–05

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