- 1 Profile type
- 2 What is this career path?
- 3 Role impact
- 4 Career capital
- 5 Exploration value
- 6 Personal fit
- 7 Job satisfaction
- 8 Alternatives
- 9 Past experience
- 10 Take action
- 11 Best resources
- 12 Research process
What is this career path?
What is it like day-to-day?
What are the people like?
How valuable if don’t get into a top tier school? "Apply to schools outside of the top 20—any school in the top 100 is worth considering, especially if it is strong in areas you are interested in. If your classmates aren’t as elite as you would like, that just means that you will get more attention from the professors, who almost all came out of top programs themselves. When Noah said in his earlier post that econ PhD students are virtually guaranteed to get jobs in an econ-related field, that applied to schools far down in the ranking. Everyone participates in the legendary centrally managed econ job market. Very few people ever fall through the cracks."
According to Malcolm Gladwell being a below average performer has lasting psychological effects on your success, which favours going to tell elite schools.
Direct impact potential
What knowledge do you get, and how useful is it actually? From interview with Robin Hanson: "A firm grasp of basic economics concepts and theory, developed through years of practice, is very valuable for understanding how the social world works, which is helpful for evaluating causes and interventions."
What earnings premium do you get? Is it a positive return taking into account opportunity costs and selection effects?
How easy is it to transfer from economics into other academic disciplines? i.e. social sciences (one of the key selling points is flexibility in academia) What specific policy options does it open? How much does it help you go into industry? i.e. non-policy, non-academia.
Bryan Caplan "Overall, the econ Ph.D. is such a good deal that I would seriously advise people who want to do research in political science, psychology, or even history to just get an econ Ph.D. and become a professor of economics. Even if you have to research topics you don't care about until you get tenure (and you probably won't have to), you could easily earn tenure in econ before you would have defended your dissertation in another field." 
Who can actually get one of these? How can you figure out if you are one of these ppl and not already studying it?
How to transfer into it from other subjects?
Bryan Caplan - "Ph.D.-level econ is so different from undergraduate econ that it isn't that much of a handicap to start from scratch. You do of course need to know a fair amount of math, but you could have learned that math studying dozens of other fields."