Publication Date



Upjohn Institute working paper ; 20-334




We investigate whether excessively optimistic beliefs play a role in the persistent demand for doctoral and postdoctoral training in science. We elicit the beliefs and career preferences of doctoral students through a novel survey and randomize the provision of structured information on the true state of the academic market and information through role models on nonacademic careers. One year later, both treatments lead students to update their beliefs about the academic market and impact career preferences. However, we do not find an effect on actual career outcomes two years postintervention.

Issue Date

September 2020


Gaulé and Vuletić Čugalj acknowledge financial support from the Czech Science Foundation (GACR grant no 16-05082S). Ganguli acknowledges support from the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Subject Areas

EDUCATION; Postsecondary education


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Ganguli, Ina, Patrick Gaulé, and Danijela Vuletić Čugalj. 2020. "Biased Beliefs and Entry into Scientific Careers." Upjohn Institute Working Paper 20-334. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.