Thursday, November 13, 2014

Defending my dissertation proposal today

"Three Essays on Connecting to Work"

Essay 1: The employment and earnings effects of Georgia's job creation tax credit: a regression discontinuity approach.

Essay 2: Educational mismatch and occupational sorting by science and engineering graduates.

Essay 3: Registered apprenticeships and the Great Recession.

Chair: Robert Lerman
Members: Robert Feinberg and Mary Hansen

Essays 1 and 2 are in pretty decent draft form, although some more work to do. Essay 3 is still a little loose. My chair and I have been going through lots of options with it (apprenticeships are his area of expertise). There's simply not a lot of work on apprenticeship in the U.S. - the most important papers, even by American economists, are on European apprenticeship. I have a database of all registered apprentices in the U.S. from 1999 to 2014, so in that sense practically anything I do with it is going to be a contribution. I was at first concerned about thinking of something more methodologically innovative and thinking along those lines, but my chair is really pushing me to do something simple but highly informative. The idea has grown on me. Apprenticeship in the U.S. is heavily concentrated in the construction sector so looking at apprenticeships over the business cycle is particularly interesting right now. I have a job I love - I'm not going on the academic market. My first two essays are methodologically sophisticated (I'm not a superstar, but you know what I mean - thoughtful non-basic methods appropriate to the question that fill a hole in the literature). So I'm digging this approach to the third essay if my chair does.


  1. Speaking of academic superstardom, Daniel Kuehn...I hope this doesn't depress you, but I thought that you might want to read this blog-post I found on the subject.

  2. How'd it go? When you get to your final orals, remind me to tell you a story.

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