Principles of Professional Advancement --- Armen Alchian to Young Economists
|Peter Boettke|Economics departments throughout the US are currently in the thick of the job market season. Campus visits, presentations, and departmental meetings to select those who will receive offers to join the faculty. Having looked through hundreds of applications, twenty or so are selected to be interviewed at the AEA meetings, and then 3 or 4 are invited to campus for the interview process, and 1 will be selected. That is the typical odds that an aspiring assistant professor faces. Our job as advisers to these students to help them build a CV that will stand out from the crowd and teach them presentation skills so they can represent themselves as best as they can in their quest to find employment. Most of the advise focuses on how to sell themselves to would-be employers.But I want to also suggest that aspiring economist take time to look at Armen Alchian's 1996 paper on the principles of professional advancement in academic economics. This advice is directed at assistant professors and focuses on what they want in terms of the environment to work in to give them the greatest opportunity for career advancement as economists. He lists 5 principles: (1) have great students to learn with; (2) have had great teachers who taught you well; (3) be in the right place at the right time for your ideas; (4) have good co-authors who will keep you honest and on-track; and (5) have great colleagues who will challenge you and also encourage you.Fortune favors those who follow those five principles. Listen to a grand master of this discipline like Armen Alchian about how to succeed, and be smart in your choices about the environment you are going to work in as an economist.