This question was raised by our junior job candidate yesterday: why do economics departments require junior job candidates to wear suits, when they will not be required to (and, in nearly all cases, will choose not to) once they have a job.
Not requiring a suit for the job talk would seem to provide a possible recruiting advantage for economics departments relative to biz schools as it would make very salient to the candidate the fact that a decent chunk of that higher biz school salary will be spent at clothing stores and, of what is left, at least some is compensating difference for having to play dress up all the time.
I tried to think of a reason why making the candidate wear a suit could be a good idea, and the only thing I could come up with is that it makes them stand out in the department during their visit. If you see a young person standing in the hall looking lost in a suit in January and February, you know it is a junior job candidate! But this seems like a thin reed to support such a strongly set behavior.
Perhaps the cheap talkers have an answer?
Hat tip: Herr Stroebel
Who was my favorite student this term?
11 months ago