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Congratulations or condolences? The role of human capital in the cultivation of a university administrator

  • McDowell, John
  • Singell Jr., Larry D.
  • Stater, Mark

Administrative skill is essential to organizational effectiveness. Yet, few studies examine how human capital investments over a career affect selection into administration. We use panel data for economists to estimate the probability of choosing administration over a pure academic track. The results show that, while research-specific human capital reduces the probability of becoming an administrator, general human capital increases it. There are also inferior administrative opportunities for women that have not improved over time and variation in the role of human capital according to institutional research mission. Thus, our results suggest academic leaders are not merely born, but cultivated through their human capital investments.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 258-267

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:28:y:2009:i:2:p:258-267
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  1. Graves, Philip E & Marchand, James R & Thompson, Randal, 1982. "Economics Departmental Rankings: Research Incentives, Constraints, and Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1131-41, December.
  2. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "Adam Smith Goes to College: An Economist Becomes an Academic Administrator," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 99-116, Winter.
  3. John M. McDowell & Larry D. Singell & Jr & James P. Ziliak, 2001. "Gender and promotion in the economics profession," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 224-244, January.
  4. Hansen, W Lee & Weisbrod, Burton A & Strauss, Robert P, 1978. "Modeling the Earnings and Research Productivity of Academic Economists," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 729-41, August.
  5. Jeffrey Pfeffer & Alison Davis-Blake, 1992. "Salary dispersion, location in the salary distribution, and turnover among college administrators," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(4), pages 753-763, July.
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