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COMMITTEE ON METHODS OF FORECASTING DEMAND AND SUPPLY OF DOCTORAL SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
Daniel McFadden (NAS),
University of California, Berkeley,
University of Texas
Caroline M. Hoxby,
University of Arizona
Jack H. Schuster,
Claremont Graduate University
Georgia State University
Charlotte Kuh, Executive Director,
Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel
George Reinhart, Project Officer,
Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel
Cathy Jackson, Administrative Associate,
Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel
OFFICE OF SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING PERSONNEL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
1997 – 98 Membership
M. R. C. Greenwood,
University of California, Santa Cruz,
University of Virginia
University of Michigan
California State University, Los Angeles
Stephen J. Lukasik, Independent Consultant
J. Paul Getty Trust
The Urban Institute
John D. Wiley,
University of Wisconsin, Madison
SmithKline Beecham Corporation
Lockeed Martin Corporation (Retired)
William H. Miller,
University of California
Charlotte Kuh, Executive Director
Marilyn Baker, Deputy Executive Director
This report presents the findings of a workshop organized by the Committee on Methods of Forecasting Demand and Supply of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers. The committee examined the methodologies that have been used to forecast labor market conditions for scientists and engineers, identified and analyzed additional methodologies, and recommended improvements in the way that forecasts are presented to users. The committee was charged with three tasks. These were:
Identify how estimates of supply and demand for scientists and engineers are currently used by policymakers with particular emphasis on how these estimates relate to the level of federal funding for research and development and the financial health of the academic sector.
Identify the sources of uncertainty, outline the importance of definitions and underlying assumptions to state-of-the-art projection methodology, and discuss how these uncertainties and assumptions can be fairly represented so that policymakers can understand both the strengths and limitations of the estimates that they see.
Recommend ways of presenting projections so that the sources of uncertainty are explicitly taken into account.
The Workshop on Improving Models of Forecasting Demand and Supply for Doctoral Scientists and Engineers met on March 19 –20, 1998. Four
panels of experts were invited to participate in presentations and discussions. Biographical descriptions of these participants are presented in Appendix B. The methodological issues focused on four areas:
Forecasting Models: Objectives and Approaches identified the characteristics of good models of supply and demand for scientists and engineers. The panel discussed how adjustment can occur in three dimensions: quality, price, and quantity. The session focused on alternative approaches to these models and described what models could be estimated given available data.
Neglected Margins: Substitution and Quality examined the effects of price, substitution, and immigration on the modeling of labor markets for scientists and engineers.
Models of Scientific and Engineering Supply and Demand: History and Problems focused on shortage/ surplus or “gap” models used for estimation in the past. The panel examined their usefulness, purposes, and their potential for modification of gap models in order to take into account the simultaneous adjustment of quality and quantity.
Presentation of Uncertainty and Use of Forecasts with Explicit Uncertainty investigated the best ways to communicate the sensitivity of model outputs to assumptions and uncertainty. The panel focused on how uncertainty should be presented to policymakers and others who are educated but not expert users.
Forecast users and others with an interest in science personnel policy were invited to discuss their concerns about forecasts and their use. Appendix C lists persons who attended the workshop. Following the workshop, the committee met to formulate recommendations about productive avenues for research, data, and/or dissemination of the results of models for forecasting the
The Workshop on Improving Models of Forecasting Demand and Supply for Doctoral Scientists and Engineers benefited from the contributions of many people and was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Sloan Foundation. The Committee on Methods of Forecasting Demand and Supply of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers acknowledges those who made the workshop successful. First and foremost are those workshop participants who prepared manuscripts that framed the issues for each panel. They include:
Bert S. Barnow, Objectives and Approaches of Forecasting Models for Scientists and Engineers
George Johnson, How Useful Are Shortage/Surplus Models of the Labor Market for Scientists and Engineers?
Sherwin Rosen (and Jaewoo Ryoo), The Engineering Labor Market
Nancy Kirkendall, All Models Are Wrong; Some Models are Useful.
Special appreciation is expressed to Michael McGeary, who prepared Chapter 1 of this report. I wish to thank the members of the committee for their contributions to the workshop. In addition, important contributions to the workshop's success were made by the workshop participants: Michael Teitelbaum, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; Jeanne Griffith, National Science Foundation; John A. Armstrong, IBM; Ronald Ehrenberg, Cornell University; Michael Finn, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education; Paula
Stephan, Georgia State University; Eric Weinstein, MIT; Geoff Davis, Dartmouth College; Charles A. Goldman, RAND; Sarah E. Turner, University of Virginia; Robert Dauffenbach, University of Oklahoma; Daniel Greenberg, Johns Hopkins University; Neil Rosenthal, Bureau of Labor Statistics; Alexander H. Flax, Institute for Defense Analyses; and Skip Stiles, Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives.
This report has been reviewed by persons chosen for their diverse perspectives and expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. This independent review seeks to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel (OSEP) in making its report as sound as possible and will ensure that the report meets institutional standards of objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following for their participation in this review of the report: John Armstrong, Erich Bloch, and Robert Lerman.
The project was aided by the invaluable help of the OSEP professional staff—Charlotte Kuh, executive director; George R. Reinhart, project officer; Cathy Jackson, administrative associate; and Margaret Petrochenkov, who provided editorial input.
Finally, we wish to express our gratitude in memoriam to Alan Fechter, former executive director of the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel. Forecasting demand and supply for scientists and engineers was one of Alan's ongoing concerns, and this report is dedicated to his memory.
Committee on Methods of Forecasting
Demand and Supply of Scientists and Engineers