Foreign language and international studies specialists : the marketplace and national policy

by Sue E. Berryman, Paul Fritz Langer, John A. Pincus, Richard H. Solomon, Ellen H. Gelbard, Priscilla M. Schlegel

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Investigates the job market and national need for language and area skills. In general (with notable exceptions), concludes that: Federal agencies, the principal user of these skills, have built-in career disincentives for specialists. Business demand for these skills is low unless they are combined with more marketable skills (e.g., economics). Universities, in spite of diminished funding and reduced demand, continue to produce an oversupply of Ph.D.s in language and area studies, and meet resistance in attempting to combine these studies with other disciplines. Meanwhile, inflation and lower funding jeopardize library collections and area research centers. Policies open to the U.S. government include intervening in the marketplace to stabilize supply and demand, offering greater incentives to specialists in government service, funding research libraries and area centers, and ensuring that an adequate supply of specialists is available when international crises arise.

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