Monday, July 16, 2007

USN&WR to Change Employment Measure

Robert Morse, U.S. News and World Report's director of data research, blogs: "In the upcoming edition of America's Best Graduate Schools, U.S. News will change the way it computes the percentage of law school graduates employed at graduation (and nine months after) as result of changes made by the ABA in its questionnaire." The changes aim to stop schools from gaming the "Emp9" measure, a practice I described earlier.

Specifically, the ABA and USN&WR will now force law schools to classify graduates as either employed, going to graduate school, or unemployed. No longer will schools face the temptation to hide bodies in the "graduates who are unemployed and not seeking work" category—a trick that removes students from the denominator of the Emp9 formula and thereby increases the Emp9 score.

Could schools still game the Emp9 measure? I have little doubt that they will try. But they will have to think up new, and more subtle, tricks.

[Update: Paul Caron and Brian Leiter offer additional observations.]

[Crossposted to MoneyLaw.]

Earlier posts about Emp9 measure:


Glen Whitman said...

As macroeconomists generally define the term, 'unemployed' means seeking work but not finding it, whereas those not seeking work are classified instead as 'out of the labor force.' So there may still be some wiggle room in USNWR's question, though the absence of a fourth option makes it more difficult.

Tom W. Bell said...
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