The Dark Side of Academia: Inside Econjobrumors

Econjobrumors is an economics community website and forum that started in 2006. The website was founded by economists and grad students as an anonymous place for candid discussion related to the economics profession.

The main goal of Econjobrumors was to provide a space where economists, academics, and grad students could have open and honest conversations about the economics job market, research, faculty, courses, programs, conferences, journals, and other topics relevant to the field. Users wanted a forum to share information, ask questions, give advice, and voice opinions without worrying about professional repercussions or judgment.

Econjobrumors quickly grew in popularity within the economics community, especially among graduate students navigating the competitive academic job market. While the site provided helpful information and resources, it also developed a reputation for inappropriate content and unprofessional discussions hidden behind a veil of anonymity. Over the years, Econjobrumors has sparked many controversies related to its toxic culture yet continues to be used by thousands looking for insider knowledge about the economics profession.

Content and Discussion Topics

Econjobrumors hosts a wide variety of forums and discussions related to the economics profession and academia. Some of the main forums include:

  • Research: Discussions about economic theory, empirical work, academic papers, and research methods. Users analyze new working papers, critique research, and debate economic ideas.

  • Career: Advice and discussions about the economics job market, interviewing, salaries, and career development. Users share job market rumors, job listings, tips for applications, and strategies for professional advancement.

  • Schools: Information and opinions on economics PhD programs, rankings, courses, professors, and research output. There are forums dedicated to most major economics departments.

  • Business/Policy: Debates and discussions related to economic business, finance, policymaking and current events. Users analyze economic trends, government policies, central banking, and news developments.

  • Lifestyle: Open discussions about day-to-day life in academia, work-life balance, dating, social dynamics, hobbies, sports, and entertainment.

In addition to the forums, Econjobrumors has sections for polls, surveys, wiki glossary entries, reviews of econ programs, and aggregated links to research papers. The wide range of forums and discussions cover nearly every aspect of research, careers, schools, and lifestyle issues faced by members of the economics profession and academia.

User Base

Econjobrumors has a large and active user base in the economics academic community, especially among graduate students and junior faculty. While exact user statistics are not available since it is an anonymous platform, the discussion forum is estimated to have over 40,000 registered members.

The majority of users appear to be current economics PhD students and candidates on the job market looking for advice and information related to the stressful process of applying for academic jobs. There is also a sizable user base of junior economics faculty, typically untenured assistant professors who joined the forum as grad students. Some more senior tenured economics professors also participate, but they appear to be a minority compared to junior members of the profession.

Beyond academic economists, there is a small contingent of industry economists, government agency economists, and even some econ undergraduates who use the platform. However, the discussion is heavily tailored towards academic economics jobs and research. The anonymous culture also seems to skew towards more male than female participation, although exact demographics are uncertain.

Overall, Econjobrumors has become a popular online gathering place for economics PhDs and professors to gossip, vent, troll, and share information related to the economics job market, research, and academia. However, the anonymous format and lack of oversight has also fostered a toxic culture of rumors, harassment, and unprofessional behavior.

Anonymity and Culture

Econjobrumors allows users to post anonymously or with pseudonyms. This has led to both benefits and drawbacks.

On the one hand, anonymity provides users the freedom to discuss sensitive topics like salaries, hiring practices, and workplace issues without fear of professional repercussions. Users, especially junior academics and grad students, can obtain insider information about the economics job market and professorial life that may be harder to find elsewhere. The anonymity makes the forum an open place to vent frustrations and critique issues in the field.

However, the anonymous culture has also bred controversy. Without real names attached, some users make inappropriate, offensive or harassing comments that they likely would not make publicly. There is excessive gossip and speculation about people’s personal lives at times. The tone can become quite toxic, aggressive and polarizing on certain threads. Critics argue the anonymity enables unprofessional behavior and perpetuates discrimination.

There are reasonable arguments on both sides. Anonymity has allowed an unfiltered insider perspective, but also a platform for trolling and hostility. The operators of the site have struggled to balance open discussion with some level of decorum. It remains a controversial aspect of Econjobrumors’ identity and culture.


Econjobrumors has faced significant controversy due to the offensive, discriminatory, and unprofessional nature of many posts on the forum. Users are able to post anonymously, leading some to make inflammatory, abusive, or harassing comments without accountability.

Many posts contain sexist, racist, homophobic and ableist language targeted at women, minorities, LGBTQ individuals, and people with disabilities in economics. There is frequent objectification of women and questioning of their qualifications based solely on gender. Users have reported feeling unsafe participating in the community due to rampant bigotry.

In 2019, Alice Wu, an economics graduate student at UC Berkeley, published a paper analyzing over a million posts on Econjobrumors. She found widespread misogynistic language and biased attitudes that created a hostile climate for women and minorities. Wu’s paper brought mainstream attention to the problematic culture of the site.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Econjobrumors alleging failure to address harassment and discrimination. In 2021, an econometrics professor sued the site for allowing abusive posts about her to remain online. She claimed Econjobrumors refused to remove defamatory content or reveal the identities of anonymous posters for legal accountability.

Critics argue that Econjobrumors has created a toxic environment that marginalizes underrepresented groups and allows harassment to spread unchecked. The biased culture and lack of moderation standards on the site have been detrimental to expanding diversity and inclusion in the field of economics. Though the site maintains high traffic, many have called for reforms or outright removal of the forum due to its history of condoning discrimination.

Impact on Economics Profession

Econjobrumors play a major role in the economics job market and research sharing within the field. Many economists and PhD students use the site to discuss job openings, interview experiences, department rankings, and research trends. The anonymity provided by the site allows for open conversations about salaries, job offers, advisor relationships, and other sensitive topics.

However, this anonymity has also enabled harassment, discrimination, and the spreading of rumors that can seriously impact careers. There have been many reports of offensive comments targeting women, minorities, and foreign-born economists. In some cases, false rumors about a candidate have led to lost job opportunities. The culture of toxicity and elitism on the site likely deters many from entering the field.

The site’s influence over hiring and research means those who are regularly criticized or mocked on Econjobrumors may face implicit bias during the job search and tenure process. Economists looking to hire candidates or give promotions may be subconsciously influenced by rumors and comments seen on the site. This has raised concerns about fairness and diversity within economics departments.

While Econjobrumors provides a platform for sharing research and jobs, its harms likely outweigh its benefits for many members of the economics community. Those in charge of hiring and promotions should be aware of these issues and make efforts to avoid any bias from the site. Changes in moderation policies could help make the culture more inclusive.


While Econjobrumors has established itself as the dominant online forum for economics discussions, there are some alternatives that promote more diversity and inclusion.

Other Economics Forums

  • The Economics Job Market Rumors Forum focuses more on job postings and advice without the controversial culture of Econjobrumors.

  • Economics Stack Exchange provides an economics Q&A platform that is professionally moderated.

  • Reddit Economics has general economics discussions and news sharing. While unmoderated, it lacks the toxic culture found on Econjobrumors.

  • Professional associations like the American Economic Association, Royal Economic Society and others provide forums, networking, and discussions in a moderated environment.

Women in Economics Forums

Several sites and groups aim to promote women economists specifically:

  • Women in Economics provides networking, mentoring, and support for women in the field.

  • The CSWEP (American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession) connects women economists and advocates for greater representation.

  • On social media, groups like Women in Economics on Facebook facilitate networking and discussions.

Providing more diversity-focused and professionally moderated alternatives could help redirect those looking for serious economics conversations away from the controversial culture that Econjobrumors has become known for. Promoting the participation of women and minorities in economics should be a priority for the field.

Moderation and Policy Changes

Econjobrumors has had a controversial history when it comes to moderation policies and addressing problematic content. The site started with minimal moderation, leading to a proliferation of inappropriate and unprofessional discussions. However, there have been some changes over the years to improve the culture.

In the early years of the site, moderation was extremely limited. Offensive speech, personal attacks, and unprofessional conduct were allowed to persist unchecked. Many users took advantage of the anonymity and lack of consequences to engage in inappropriate behavior.

Over time, some additional moderation policies were implemented. Certain words were banned and repeat offenders could be blocked from the site. Moderators also deleted some of the most egregious threads. However, many users criticized these measures as being too limited to address the underlying cultural issues.

More recently, Econjobrumors has taken steps to be more proactive about moderation. The site owners have implemented stricter rules prohibiting personal attacks, conflicts of interest, racism, misogyny and other problematic content. Users can now flag inappropriate posts for moderator review. Moderators have also become more active in deleting offensive content and banning abusive users.

However, many believe there is still room for improvement. Critics argue moderation is unevenly enforced and some problematic content still regularly appears. There are also calls for requiring real names, implementing codes of conduct, and finding ways to change the underlying culture that enables unprofessional online discussions. The site continues to grapple with finding the right balance between allowing free speech and requiring civil, constructive discourse.

The evolution of moderation policies on Econjobrumors reflects the broader challenges of anonymous online communities. While recent changes show progress, the site still struggles with fostering a culture of professionalism and constructive dialogue. Further steps may be needed to curb inappropriate speech and make the forums more welcoming to all.

The Future of Econjobrumors

Econjobrumors has come under scrutiny for its controversial culture, but there are possibilities for reforms and improvements. The site’s owners could implement stricter moderation policies to curb abusive speech and doxxing. They may also consider requiring email verification for new accounts and blocking IP addresses of repeat offenders. However, any major changes risk alienating the core user base who value the site’s anonymity.

Predicting the platform’s future is difficult. Econjobrumors still dominate its niche and remain popular among economics students and faculty. Barring any major scandals, it will likely continue operations while making minor reforms. However, a mass exodus to alternative forums is possible if egregious abuses occur. The site may attempt improvements like enhanced blocking tools or private messaging to retain users. But Econjobrumors faces inherent challenges balancing anonymity with accountability.

Ultimately, the site’s future depends on the economic community. If mainstream opinion shifts against Econjobrumors, its user base and influence could wane over time. But the demand for anonymous discussion and gossip remains. As long as that need exists, some version of Econjobrumors will likely endure and evolve, for better or worse. Genuine change requires reshaping academic incentives and culture around transparency and respect.


In summary, Econjobrumors provides a platform for open discussion and information sharing for economics students, professors, and professionals. However, its anonymity has cultivated a toxic culture rife with unprofessional behavior, harassment, and discrimination.

While Econjobrumors offers useful career and academic insights, its lack of oversight enables the spread of misinformation and abuse. Many feel the site degrades the economics profession and perpetuates existing inequities.

Potential solutions include stricter moderation policies, requiring real names, allowing user blocking, and creating a kinder community culture. However, Econjobrumors’ owners have resisted reforms and defended anonymity as essential.

The site reflects larger issues around online discourse, accountability, equity, and the economics field itself. Its future likely depends on how these tensions are navigated. But many believe substantial changes are needed for Econjobrumors to provide a genuinely productive forum advancing economics in a responsible manner.

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