I've been seeing this in a couple places lately, and I genuinely don't understand it. It's true there do seem to be hyper-powers in economics (MIT, Harvard, Chicago), which is probably unnecessary. We might be a little top-heavy. But aside from that observation, I don't see why people are so upset about this relatively banal point.
In my experience with people (professors and students) from top schools, middle schools, and lower schools, those from top schools are noticably sharper and more productive than the rest of us. Is anyone really surprised by this? What else would you expect to see? What else would you want to see?
Of course that's frustrating, but it's the fierce competition that keeps the science moving forward and certainly nobody is entitled to any other outcome. And if you think the competition started when you started grad school, you are going to be in for a very rude awakening. Much of the groundwork is laid earlier than that.
I made peace long ago with the fact that if I get an acadmic placement I will probably have to be mobile and I'll probably be unsatisfied with it (there are one or two exceptions with special connections to AU faculty). If I look into a public policy program I might have better luck, and there would be a lot appealing about working in a public policy department. But it basically means I'm not going to be looking into the academic labor market, although maybe I'll toss my hat in a few rings. I've made peace with that. There are plenty of other things to do, particularly in this town. Of course that's a drag. It would probably disappoint my professors to even see me write that. But that's reality.
Nobody is preventing me from writing for good journals. Hell, good journals outside of my field are publishing me! The review process is the great equalizer. Nobody is preventing me from doing excellent economics. So if I don't build the CV I want that's my own fault. Math and statistics don't work differently outside of MIT or Harvard. They work the exact same in my study in Falls Church, Virginia as they do in Cambridge, Massachusetts. So academic pedigree is no excuse for not doing good work.
And when I graduate, I'm not going to be flipping burgers (well, unless that's what's for dinner). As long as I am not flipping burgers I will have the opportunity to do economics and publish economics. And if I write better economics than the MIT or Harvard guys, it will get published. If I don't write better economics then it won't be published. Nobody embraces the MIT or Harvard guys' economics just because it came out of MIT or Harvard. I feel like I've had a pretty damn good start on my CV, given the circumstances.
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