EJMR Exposed: The Ugly Underbelly of Academic Finance

EconJobRumors (EJMR) is an economics job market discussion board that has been active since around 2004. It is one of the largest online forums for academics in economics to discuss research, gossip, jobs, conferences, and other topics related to the profession. The site is controversial due to its anonymous nature, unmoderated discussions, and reputation for inappropriate comments targeting women and minorities.

EJMR became popular in the late 2000s as an anonymous place for job candidates and faculty to gossip and share information during the stressful economics job market. Users can post without registering an account, leading to unchecked rumors and personal attacks. Moderation is minimal, although some racist, sexist, and egregiously offensive remarks have been deleted over the years.

While EJMR provides useful aggregate information, many economists argue its anonymous format enables unprofessional and hostile discussions that would never occur in real life. There have been several public calls to shut EJMR down, although users argue it provides a unique space for open and honest discussions not possible elsewhere. The site’s impact, particularly on underrepresented groups entering the field, remains hotly debated.

Content and Discussion on EJMR

EJMR, or Economics Job Market Rumors, is an online discussion forum focused on topics related to the economics job market and academia. The site features various forums and threads where users can post anonymously.

Some of the main forums and discussion topics on EJMR include:

  • Job Market Forum – Discussions about the economics job market, interview processes, flyouts, offers, placements, etc. Users share rumors, experiences, and advice.

  • Research and Teaching Forum – Conversations about research, publishing, teaching, academic life, conferences, etc.

  • Rants and Raves Forum – Space for users to vent frustrations or share praise about programs, departments, professors, etc.

  • Off Topic Forum – For casual conversations and discussions unrelated to economics or academia.

  • Wiki Forum – Crowdsourced wiki entries with information, definitions, and documentation on various academic topics.

  • Regional Forums – Specific forums for different geographic regions to discuss local schools, job markets, and happenings.

The forums feature a mix of crowdsourced information, rumors, personal anecdotes, questions, debates, advice, and more. Threads within each forum can run the gamut from pragmatic to controversial. Overall, EJMR aims to provide an anonymous backchannel for candid discussion related to the economics profession.

Gender Issues and Controversies

EJMR finance has faced significant criticism over gender discrimination and sexist content on the forum. There are frequent derogatory comments made towards women, particularly female economists and academics. Many posts mock or degrade women based on gender stereotypes rather than substantive critiques.

For example, female economists may be referred to in crude or demeaning ways, focusing on their appearance rather than their research or credentials. There are also issues with the objectification of women in discussions. Some threads involve rating or assessing female economists mainly on their looks rather than their work.

Many argue this perpetuates existing gender bias and discrimination in academia. Having an anonymous forum where sexist attitudes can be freely expressed creates a toxic environment for women entering the field. There are concerns it may dissuade talented female candidates from pursuing economics.

Critics point out the harmful impact of allowing unchecked misogyny and gender discrimination. The prevalence of these attitudes on EJMR underscores systemic issues that need to be addressed. While EJMR provides anonymity to posters, many argue this enables harmful speech and behavior. There have been demands for reforms and stricter moderation to counter gender bias on the forum.

Impact on Job Market Candidates

The Economics Job Market Rumors (EJMR) forum has had a significant impact on candidates going through the academic job market, particularly in economics. The forum allows for anonymous discussion of candidates, which often includes subjective ratings on research, teaching abilities, interviews, appearance and personality. These anonymous reviews can shape perceptions of candidates throughout the field.

For job seekers early in their careers, negative ratings or comments on EJMR can be damaging. Since ratings are subjective and anonymous, candidates have little recourse to defend themselves or clear up misconceptions. Some candidates have reported emotional distress, anxiety and lowered self-confidence after being criticized on the forum. There are also concerns that women and minority candidates are more frequently targeted for criticism.

At the same time, positive ratings and reviews can help boost a candidate’s standing and lead to increased interest. Candidates are not allowed to promote themselves on EJMR, but they may benefit from others advocating for them. Some candidates obsessively monitor the forum to gauge perceptions of their job market viability.

While EJMR aims to provide transparency into the academic hiring process, the anonymous gossip-like nature of the discussion creates ethical issues. Candidates have described the forum as an intimidating, unregulated Wild West where careers can be harmed without accountability. Others argue the open discussion helps prepare candidates for the competitive job market. But there are ongoing calls to balance transparency with fairness for candidates.

Arguments Defending EJMR

Despite the controversy, some argue EJMR serves a purpose and should not be shut down. Here are some of the arguments in defense of the site:

  • Provides an outlet for frustrated academics to vent and blow off steam anonymously. The culture of anonymity allows candid discussions that might not take place elsewhere.

  • Acts as a source of information for job candidates, warning them about potentially difficult advisors, unreasonable expectations at certain schools, and realities of the field. This helps set appropriate expectations.

  • Gives uncensored reviews of research, revealing flaws and limitations that peer review may miss. This improves accountability.

  • Allows junior scholars to learn about the job market process from others who have experienced it. The discussions provide tips and advice for navigating a complex system.

  • Creates community and opportunities for connection in a rather isolated profession where faculty don’t interact much outside their departments.

  • Provides transparency about the field’s problems and forces important conversations about improving academic culture. The discussions have sparked positive changes at some institutions.

  • Valuable to those who feel they have no other outlet to be heard or cope with difficult situations related to the field. Removing EJMR won’t address those underlying issues.

While these arguments present some valid points, critics say the harms of EJMR’s culture outweigh any benefits. But defenders believe the site serves a unique purpose despite its flaws.

Calls to Shut Down EJMR

The controversial nature of EJMR has led some academics and groups to call for the site to be shut down entirely. Some of the most vocal critics cite the site as enabling discrimination, harassment, and unethical behavior. They argue EJMR promotes an unfair system and toxic culture that is detrimental to the field of economics.

In 2019, a petition was started on Change.org calling for EJMR to be removed. The petition condemned the site for allowing “discriminatory conversations” and said it has a negative impact on the profession. Over 1,000 academics signed the petition demanding action be taken to eliminate the forum.

Similarly, the American Economics Association Committee on Equity, Diversity and Professional Conduct issued a statement in 2019 denouncing EJMR. They cited the site as undermining progress towards diversity and inclusion in economics. The statement called for the website to be discontinued and for departments to forbid faculty from participating on it.

Student groups have also joined in calling for EJMR to be shut down. Economics Graduate Students United circulated a letter in 2020 decrying the site and stating it had no place in the profession. Over 300 graduate students signed the letter saying EJMR promotes harassment and discrimination that harms economics.

While these efforts have brought more attention to the controversial nature of EJMR, the site remains active. Critics argue more tangible action and consequences are needed for the site and its users in order to enact real change in the field of economics. The calls to eliminate EJMR altogether highlight the deep issues and divides that remain.

Alternatives for Anonymous Discussion

Anonymous online forums can provide valuable benefits, such as allowing people to freely share information without fear of professional repercussions. However, EJMR has demonstrated the potential for abuse when anonymous posting leads to harassment, unverified rumors, and toxic speech.

What are some alternatives that could preserve anonymity while discouraging the spread of hate?

One option is having stronger moderation and banning abusive users while still allowing anonymity. Reddit and other platforms use volunteer moderators to enforce rules of conduct. Strict anti-harassment policies combined with proactive moderation could help curb the worst behavior.

Cryptographic techniques like zero-knowledge proofs are another possibility. These algorithms allow someone to prove something about themselves without revealing their identity. For example, a person could prove they are an academic in a certain field without disclosing exactly who they are. This could prevent impersonation while retaining anonymity.

Reputation systems are a lighter-touch approach. Allowing anonymous usernames but tracking reputation over time incentivizes constructive behavior. Abusive posters would be ignored or flagged by the community. New members would have to earn trust before being taken seriously.

Anonymity online has its benefits, but also risks. With thoughtful design and community stewardship, anonymous academic discussion could thrive without the toxicity of EJMR. The goal should be open information sharing, not hiding harmful speech. There are alternatives that meet this goal while allowing anonymity.

Changes and Reforms for EJMR

EJMR has faced ongoing calls for reform due to concerns around uncivil discourse and gender bias. Some argue the site should be shut down entirely, while others believe steps can be taken to improve the culture while retaining the benefits of anonymous academic discussion. Potential reforms that could help EJMR become more constructive include:

  • Stricter moderation policies to quickly remove abusive comments while protecting free speech. Moderators could look out for personal attacks, threats, doxxing attempts, and clear violations of site rules.

  • Community guidelines encouraging substantive discussion over inflammatory remarks. These could be developed through a participatory process to gain user buy-in.

  • Blind recruitment of diverse moderators to reduce bias. Volunteers could apply without revealing personal details.

  • Anonymized demographics and metrics to detect systemic biases. For example, tracking gender ratios in comments/ratings.

  • Upvote/downvote buttons to crowdsource community preferences. Uncivil content could be downvoted.

  • Sentiment analysis to detect toxicity levels and guide moderation. Machine learning could help find problematic content.

  • Subforums dedicated to mentoring, ethics, workplace issues and other topics to cultivate a more supportive culture.

  • Surveys, user interviews and focus groups to solicit input on improving site dynamics. Feedback could inform reforms.

  • Transparency reports on rules violations, bans and demographics to build accountability.

With care and creativity, EJMR may be able to chart a path that retains anonymity while reducing toxicity. Constructive reforms could help improve the climate, especially for marginalized groups. But success will require buy-in across the user base.

The Future of EJMR

EJMR has faced intense scrutiny and criticism over its controversial content and lack of moderation. Many believe significant reforms are needed for the site to have a viable future. Here are some potential changes that could help reshape EJMR going forward:

  • Stronger moderation and enforcement of rules against personal attacks, unprofessional conduct, and discrimination. The site needs stricter policies prohibiting abusive speech. Moderators should more actively remove offensive content and ban repeat offenders.

  • Improved identity protections for job candidates and limits on gossip. Candidates deserve anonymity and should not face reputation damage from rumors. Gossip about individuals should be prohibited.

  • Promotion of professional dialogue and constructive criticism. The site could encourage more substantive, thoughtful discussion of research and limit unproductive complaints or venting.

  • Greater diversity and inclusion. EJMR needs more diversity in its user base and should foster a welcoming culture for women, minorities, and other groups.

  • Partnerships with economics associations to develop ethics guidelines. Partnering with professional academic organizations could help establish clear community standards and expectations.

  • Transition to a new platform or ownership. EJMR may need a fresh start on a new platform with different leadership. Or alternatively, scholars could launch alternative forums dedicated to open and ethical discussion.

If EJMR wants to remain viable in the long-term, significant changes are likely required. While anonymous discussion still has a place, the community needs to promote greater professionalism, constructive dialogue, diversity, and mutual respect. With reforms, EJMR could shift its reputation and provide value to the economics profession.


EJMR has been a controversial website in the finance academic community, allowing for anonymous discussion and criticism of research papers, professors, and PhD candidates. Supporters argue it provides a space for open and honest feedback in a high-pressure job market. Critics say it enables unfiltered attacks, especially against women and minority groups.

Key points:

  • EJMR gained notoriety for intense criticism of research and personal attacks, especially against women and underrepresented groups. This has raised concerns about bias.

  • Supporters believe EJMR serves a purpose in allowing anonymous feedback in a hyper-competitive academic job market. They argue removing anonymity could hinder honest discussion.

  • Critics say the site breeds toxicity and unfiltered hostility that harms job candidates. They advocate shutting EJMR down or requiring real names.

  • Attempts at moderating EJMR have had limited effects. Completely banning anonymous sites seems unlikely to stop the behavior.

  • Potential alternatives could be anonymous sites with stronger moderation, or a shift in academic culture to reduce hyper-competition and bias.

  • EJMR remains active but its future is uncertain. Any reforms or replacements would need to balance privacy, honesty and limiting abuse.

The debate around EJMR highlights issues of transparency, bias and hyper-competition in academia. While anonymous forums have pitfalls, completely banning them could also do harm. More cultural and systemic changes may be needed.

Leave a Comment