How many science and engineering Ph.D.s can a nation use and support? Does the United States have a glut, or is it about to have one? What price is a nation able and willing to pay for producing Ph.D.s? What is the relationship between a nation's economy and its production of Ph.D.s? In trying to answer such questions, I examined 1998 data in a variety of countries from three perspectives:
* Total number of Ph.D.s produced,
* Per capita production of Ph.D.s,
* Per capita production, adjusted to U.S. dollar purchasing power.
These comparisons (see table) provided a few surprises that might stimulate some rethinking of national science policy regarding support for Ph.D. training. First, let us compare the annual production of Ph.D.s in the countries that dominate graduate education. The United States is by far the greatest producer of Ph.D.s, producing about twice as...