A new study, based on data from all people who earned Ph.D.s in 2010, suggests the opposite, reports InsideHigherEd
“In the year after earning their doctorates, those in the cohort who did interdisciplinary dissertations earned, on average, $1,700 less than those who completed dissertations in a single field. The study was conducted by Kevin M. Kniffin and Andrew S. Hanks, two postdoctoral fellows at Cornell University, and has been released by the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.
“Kniffin and Hanks used data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates, and focused on the more than 26,000 people who earned doctorates that year who are U.S. citizens. The income of new Ph.D.s, of course, varies by such factors as discipline, whether postdoctoral employment is within academe or outside it, and whether the first job after the Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellowship. Kniffin and Hanks came up with their $1,700 gap by controlling for discipline, age, gender and ethnicity. They reasoned that because some disciplines are more likely than others to produce new doctorates who seek employment outside academe, they could address various differences in post-graduation patterns of various new doctorate holders.
“The Survey of Earned Doctorates specifically asks if new Ph.D.s did a multidisciplinary dissertation, so that information was readily available for the study. Continue reading “Interdisciplinary losers”