Pedigree bias in economics

Coastal Elite, a loyal MR requester, requests:

Why is there more "pedigree bias" for hiring of Economics faculty than
in other disciplines? For example, at any top 30 school, 95% of the
faculty will have their PhD from a top 10 school. In other fields, this
will not be the case. Some other disciplines have a much stronger
tendency to co-author than Economics, which should decrease the signal
to noise ratio on a CV. This should imply that pedigree bias should be
even stronger in disciplines with more co-authoring, but anecdotally
this does not seem to be true.

And very often it is the top six rather than the top ten.  I don't myself see the factor of co-authoring as the path to an answer here.  The default answer is to invoke a relatively high importance for IQ, in economics, combined with the relative absence of prodigies, compared to say math.  When prodigies and autodidacts are possible, top performers can come from anywhere.  But smarts and training and networking are all required.  The combination of those barriers give a big advantage, justified or not, to the very top schools.  It is usually believed that a candidate from a lesser school is lacking in at least one of these yet all are required for a big career success.  So maybe a "multiplicative model" of achievement in economics plays a big role in pedigree bias.

On top of that, economics is a relatively unified field with relatively homogeneous metrics of quality.  A school ranked #23 can "play it safe" by hiring a lesser MIT grad, rather than the best student coming out of Emory, and more or less know what they are getting and agree on that.  This tendency in the market is probably inefficient, relative to a first-best with a higher degree of intellectual innovation and less concentration of rewards across the top graduate programs.

Also, the top programs are good at doing admissions — surprisingly good in my view — and pre-selecting the kind of talent the rest of the profession is looking for.

Which other fields have a comparable "pedigree bias"?


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