The web page for the job market candidates from Duke reveals a new development in the marketing of candidates in the economics job market: many of the Duke candidates have video clips on the web, apparently from their practice job talks. For example, I took a look at the clip for Jon James (whose name reminded me of former Washington football coach Don James).
It seems to me that these clips can potentially serve several functions:
First, they provide a lot of information about public speaking ability very quickly. If someone cannot manage two clear minutes during their practice job talk, they probably cannot give the sort of lectures that attain good teaching ratings. That is something that letters, papers and the CV just do not reveal. It will be especially useful for students with first languages other than English (or with names that suggest their first language is something other than English) who want to demonstrate that their skills with spoken English are not a concern.
Second, the videos provide information on both demographics, such as race/ethnicity, and on appearance, in an indirect way. This feature is a bit more ambiguous in its normative and positive implications.
Third, the videos provide a way to get a quick summary of the job market paper without having to read a dry abstract.
I'll be curious to see if this catches on as an equilibrium. I expect it will (but say that in full awareness of the awesome track record of economist predictions).
Who was my favorite student this term?
6 months ago