Econjobrumors Finance: Drama and Intrigue

Econjobrumors Finance is an online forum frequented by academic economists and economics graduate students. The site, founded in 2006, is modeled after popular rumor sites like AutoAdmit and Greedy Associates that cater to law students and lawyers. Econjobrumors has become a popular, if controversial, place for members of the economics profession to discuss job prospects, programs, research, and gossip related to the field.

The finance section of Econjobrumors Finance focuses on topics like investment banking, hedge funds, private equity, and other areas of high finance. Given the competitive nature of elite finance jobs, this section has become notorious for intense discussion and speculation about hiring, salaries, workplace culture, and related issues at top firms. The anonymity provided by the site leads some users to post unfiltered opinions, rumors, and even personal attacks related to finance careers and employers.

While Econjobrumors provides a platform for sharing information and advice, the tone and lack of accountability on the site have sparked criticism. Detractors argue the hostile atmosphere marginalizes women and minorities in economics and allows unethical behavior like breaches of confidentiality agreements. Supporters counter that the site provides a space for open dialogue not found elsewhere in the field. The impact and future direction of Econjobrumors remain hotly debated.

Types of Discussions

Econjobrumors is an online discussion forum where members can anonymously discuss topics related to economics and academia. Some of the most common types of discussions include:

Job Postings and Applications

A major focus of the site is job postings and discussions around applying for academic jobs in economics. Users share job listings at universities and research institutions for positions like assistant professor, postdoc, and lecturer. There are active discussions analyzing job market trends, comparing salaries and benefits, and seeking advice on crafting application materials. Users, often graduate students or junior faculty, look for feedback on their CVs, research statements, and strategies for standing out in the job market.

Academic Research and Publications 

With its large user base of economics graduate students and professors, Econjobrumors sees substantial discussions around academic research and publishing. Members discuss working papers, journal articles, and new research, often posting links and PDFs to analyze methodologies, findings, and potential impact. There is also a discussion of the publishing process, like responding to peer reviews, targeting top journals, and improving one’s citation metrics and h-index.

University Programs and Departments

The forum contains detailed discussions evaluating and comparing different economics PhD programs, especially top-ranked departments. Users seek insights on issues like program structure, curriculum, qualifying exam difficulty, research requirements, graduation rates, and career outcomes. There are also discussions on master’s programs in economics and assessments of undergraduate economics departments.

Professors and Academics

With its controversial nature, Econjobrumors has many discussions evaluating professors in economics programs. Users give anonymous reviews of advisors and faculty members, analyzing their research, teaching abilities, personalities, and treatment of students. There are also discussions of economists’ public profiles, media appearances, policy stances, and activity on social media.

Tone and Culture

Econjobrumors has developed a reputation for having a toxic and sexist culture, largely enabled by the anonymity of users. Many economists, especially women and minorities, have reported being harassed and attacked on the forum. 

The aggressive nature of discourse on the site stems from the competitive job market in academic economics. With a surplus of PhDs and limited tenure-track positions, there is an incentive for individuals to try to undermine and discredit their competitors. The anonymity provided by Econjobrumors allows users to gossip, spread rumors, and criticize others without accountability.

Some of the worst behavior includes targeted personal attacks, sexist comments, racism, and threats of violence. There have been attempts by users and moderators to improve the culture on Econjobrumors, such as banning the most egregious offenders. However, the underlying competitiveness of the field and the anonymity of users make it difficult to enact wholesale changes. Many users justify the aggressive tone as a way to vent frustrations with the rigid hierarchy and intense demands of trying to succeed in academic economics. But this comes at the expense of a positive, supportive environment, especially for women and minorities trying to break into the field.

Impact on the Economics Profession 

Econjobrumors has had a significant impact on the economics profession in several ways. Many economists and students use the site to discuss research, share opinions on papers, and gossip about their departments and colleagues. However, there are concerns that the tone and culture of the site negatively influences hiring decisions and reputations in the field.

The anonymous nature of the site allows unfiltered criticism and accusations to spread rapidly. There are instances where candidates have been labeled as “toxic” or “crazy” on the site during job market season, potentially impacting their job prospects. Senior economists are also regularly discussed and ranked on Econjobrumors, affecting their standing in the profession. Since identities are hidden, these criticisms often go unchecked. 

The aggressive culture on the site likely deters some women and minorities from participating, perpetuating gender imbalance in the field. Sexist and racist comments are fairly common on Econjobrumors, creating an environment that is not welcoming to all. There are also many objectifying discussions about the appearance of female economists. This risks further marginalization of those groups.

The ethics of the site are frequently questioned. Candidates are evaluated and criticized in detail without consent, while employers likely utilize the site’s rankings and discussions for hiring decisions. The anonymous gossiping and accusations spreading on Econjobrumors raise concerns about privacy, conflicts of interest, and the impact on careers. While free speech is valued, the platform facilitates unaccountable and potentially damaging speech.

In summary, Econjobrumors has had a significant influence on hiring, reputations, and gender imbalance in the economics profession. The culture and tone of the site raise ethical concerns around privacy, conflicts of interest, accountability, and marginalization. Reforms may be needed to reduce harmful gossip and level the playing field.

Rankings and Ratings  

Econjobrumors features controversial rankings and ratings of economics professors and programs that have raised concerns about bias and validity. The rankings are compiled from anonymous ratings and comments left by users on the site’s discussion forums.

Many have criticized the rankings as not accurately reflecting teaching quality or research output, but instead being skewed by the demographics of the site’s users. The vast majority of users and raters on Econjobrumors are male economics graduate students and faculty. This leads to accusations that female economists and non-top-ranked programs are unfairly rated lower. 

The anonymous and unmoderated nature of the ratings makes it difficult to assess their credibility. There have been instances of professors being targeted for negative ratings by disgruntled students. Some say the rankings promote an unnecessary competitiveness within the economics profession. 

Overall the ranking system lacks oversight and methodology to ensure fair, unbiased results. Relying on anonymous crowdsourced ratings from a narrow demographic leads many to question the validity and usefulness of the Econjobrumors rankings. More transparency and steps to mitigate bias would need to be implemented for the rankings to carry real weight.

Gender Issues

Econjobrumors has long faced criticism for the male-dominated nature of its user base and rampant sexist and misogynistic comments. 

The vast majority of users on the site are male economists or aspiring economists. While anonymity makes demographics difficult to verify, various surveys have suggested over 90% of users are male. This skewed gender ratio contributes to a “bro culture” that is frequently hostile toward women.

Sexist attacks and objectifying comments about female economists are commonplace on the site. Female scholars are subjected to criticism based on appearance and gender rather than merit. There have even been inappropriate sexual remarks directed at specific women.

This behavior has created an unwelcoming atmosphere that dissuades participation from women economists. Some women intentionally avoid the site to steer clear of harassment. Others risk reputation damage by having their name mentioned in crude discussions. 

In recent years, there have been some efforts to combat misogyny and support women economists on the site. Some members call out sexist comments or report abusive posts. There are also occasional threads celebrating the accomplishments of female scholars. However, substantial work remains to reform the site’s culture and improve gender diversity.

Attempts at Reform

Econjobrumors has faced criticism for years regarding the toxic culture and rampant unprofessionalism on the forum. There have been various attempts over time to try and reform the site.

Stricter Moderation Policies

In response to criticism, Econjobrumors has implemented stricter moderation policies to curb abusive speech, doxxing, and overt prejudice. Moderators now quickly delete racist, sexist, or threatening comments. Repeat offenders may face bans. However, many argue this hasn’t gone far enough, as problematic comments still routinely slip through.

Promoting Diversity 

Econjobrumors has tried promoting diversity by highlighting women economists and underrepresented minorities. For example, they featured economist Lisa Cook in their “Economist of the Week” section. However, some view these efforts as tokenism that fail to address deeper issues. Critics argue real change requires overhauling the moderation policies and fundamentally shifting the community norms.

Partnering with Academic Institutions

In 2019, Econjobrumors announced a partnership with the American Economic Association (AEA) to share job ads and promote diversity. Some hoped this signaled meaningful reforms, but others argued it provided undue legitimacy to the site’s ongoing problems with discrimination and unprofessional behavior. The AEA faced backlash and discontinued the partnership within months, though Econjobrumors continues promoting diversity initiatives. Despite stated commitments to reform, many economists feel the core culture remains largely unchanged.

Alternatives for Economists  

The culture of Econjobrumors has caused many economists to seek out alternative online communities. Some key options include:

  • More inclusive forums like MoneyScience – MoneyScience aims to be an open and welcoming platform for economic discussion, without the toxicity found on sites like EJMR. It has active forums on economic theory, policy debates, academic life, and more.  
  • Focused platforms like EconSpark – For those looking for a space just to discuss research and ideas, EconSpark provides active forums on theoretical and empirical economic papers across fields. The discussions tend to be substantive and supportive.
  • Using social media instead – Platforms like Twitter and Facebook offer economists a way to build connections and discuss ideas publicly or privately. Economics Twitter in particular has become an influential online community. While social media has its own challenges, many economists find it less toxic than pseudonymous forums.

The alternatives show there are options for economists who want an open exchange of ideas without the culture on economics. Building more positive communities will benefit the economics profession.

The Future of Econjobrumors

Econjobrumors has developed a reputation as a toxic online forum, especially around issues of gender and minority status. However, it continues to be used by many academics in economics for discussing jobs, programs, research, and gossip related to the profession. What does the future hold for this controversial site?

Many critics have called for Econjobrumors to reform or be shut down entirely. They argue the site propagates discrimination, facilitates harassment, and creates a climate of fear among marginalized groups in economics. There have been petitions and open letters urging the site’s anonymous moderators to address rampant racism, sexism, and unprofessional personal attacks. At the same time, defenders of Econjobrumors argue it provides a space for free speech and valuable industry knowledge not found elsewhere. 

Will Econjobrumors be able to reform its reputation and create an inclusive climate going forward? This seems unlikely without major changes in policies and moderation. However, some users may oppose such reforms as impinging on free speech. Real change would require the anonymous moderators to take concrete steps demonstrating a commitment against bigotry, harassment, and unprofessional behavior. There are few signs they are willing to do so.

It seems inevitable that many in academia will continue using Econjobrumors despite its flaws. For better or worse, it has become embedded in the economics profession as a place to share information and gossip about jobs, programs, journals, and other topics. Boycotting the site puts some at a real disadvantage in terms of access to insider knowledge. Younger scholars in particular may feel unable to ignore such a resource, even if they dislike its culture. 

Ultimately, the economics community itself needs to reflect on Econjobrumors’ role and impact. Scholars should consider whether it lives up to professional standards and values. There may be ways for the profession to incentivize more ethical and inclusive discussion forums as alternatives. Without a larger cultural shift, however, Econjobrumors seems poised to remain influential into the future despite its reputation.


Econjobrumors has had a significant impact on the economics profession, for better and for worse. On the one hand, it provides a platform for open discussion and information sharing about jobs, research, and academia that didn’t exist previously. The ability to exchange ideas, gather insights, and access rankings can be useful, especially for junior economists on the job market. 

However, the often toxic culture and lack of oversight have also enabled bullying, harassment, and discrimination. There are valid concerns about mental health impacts, marginalization of underrepresented groups, and propagation of harmful stereotypes. Attempts to reform the site have had limited success thus far. 

Ultimately, Econjobrumors provides some benefits but also enables some of the worst elements of online anonymous forums. Economists, academic institutions, and professional associations may want to consider alternatives that foster an open exchange of ideas without the negatives of an unmoderated space. More work likely needs to be done to find the right balance, promote diversity, and create a more inclusive profession.

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