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Faculty employment at 4-year colleges and universities


  • Zhang, Liang
  • Liu, Xiangmin


We examine the variation in employment levels of part-time faculty, full-time teaching faculty, and full-time professorial faculty across 4-year colleges and universities in the United States. Employment structures and practices in higher education institutions are determined by a variety of economic and institutional factors. For example, a 1% increase in the average salaries paid to professorial faculty increases the employment level of part-time faculty by 0.845%. A 1% increase in the average salaries paid to full-time teaching faculty reduces the employment level of full-time teaching faculty by 0.757%. Institutions located in large cities or suburban areas hire 31.3% more part-time faculty but 12.5% fewer full-time teaching faculty. Private institutions hire more part-time faculty than their public counterparts. A 10% increase in FTE student enrollment is associated with a 5.4% increase in the number of part-time faculty, a 10.1% increase in the number of full-time teaching faculty, and a 9.1% increase in professorial faculty. In addition, we find divergent patterns of temporal variability among these three types of faculty. While employment levels of full-time instructors and professorial faculty are rather consistent over time, there is a wide range of fluctuation in the employment of part-time faculty. Finally, the employment of part-time faculty is significantly affected by that of full-time teaching faculty. There is no substitution effect on the employment of professorial faculty.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Liang & Liu, Xiangmin, 2010. "Faculty employment at 4-year colleges and universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 543-552, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:4:p:543-552

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Liang Zhang, 2005. "Do Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    2. Rosen, Sherwin & Nadiri, M Ishaq, 1974. "A Disequilibrium Model of Demand for Factors of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 264-270, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2012. "American Higher Education in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 193-216, Winter.


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