Beginning in the early 2000s, there was an upsurge of national concern over the state of the science and engineering job market that sparked a plethora of studies, commission reports, and a presidential initiative, all stressing the importance of maintaining American competitiveness in these fields. Science and Engineering Careers in the United States is the first major academic study to probe the issues that underlie these concerns.
This volume provides new information on the economics of the postgraduate science and engineering job market, addressing such topics as the factors that determine the supply of PhDs, the career paths they follow after graduation, and the creation and use of knowledge as it is reflected by the amount of papers and patents produced. A distinguished team of contributors also explores the tensions between industry and academe in recruiting graduates, the influx of foreign-born doctorates, and the success of female doctorates. Science and Engineering Careers in the United States will raise new questions about stimulating innovation and growth in the American economy
Is the United States falling behind in the global race for scientific and engineering talent? Are U.S. employers facing shortages of the skilled workers that they need to compete in a globalized world? Such claims from some employers and educators have been widely embraced by mainstream media and political leaders, and have figured prominently in recent policy debates about education, federal expenditures, tax policy, and immigration. Falling Behind? offers careful examinations of the existing evidence and of its use by those involved in these debates.
These concerns are by no means a recent phenomenon. Examining historical precedent, Michael Teitelbaum highlights five episodes of alarm about "falling behind" that go back nearly seventy years to the end of World War II. In each of these episodes the political system responded by rapidly expanding the supply of scientists and engineers, but only a few years later political enthusiasm or economic demand waned. Booms turned to busts, leaving many of those who had been encouraged to pursue science and engineering careers facing disheartening career prospects. Their experiences deterred younger and equally talented students from following in their footsteps—thereby sowing the seeds of the next cycle of alarm, boom, and bust.
Falling Behind? examines these repeated cycles up to the present, shedding new light on the adequacy of the science and engineering workforce for the current and future needs of the United States.