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Why business schools do so much research: A signaling explanation

  • Besancenot, Damien
  • Faria, Joao Ricardo
  • Vranceanu, Radu

Criticism is mounting on business schools for their excessive focus on research and the relative neglect of teaching quality. This paper shows that if students have imperfect information about teaching quality and if business schools differ in their research productivity, the least productive schools would do as much research as the top-tier ones only to manipulate students' expectations. In turn, the most productive schools might resort to excess research in order to signal their type in the eyes of prospective students. Since resources are limited, they also tend to neglect teaching quality. Such a situation is socially inefficient as compared to the perfect information case.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 7 (September)
Pages: 1093-1101

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:38:y:2009:i:7:p:1093-1101
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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  1. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  2. Besancenot, Damien & Vranceanu, Radu, 2006. "Can Incentives for Research Harm Research? A Business Schools Tale," ESSEC Working Papers DR 06003, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
  3. Elizabeth Becker & Cotton M. Lindsay & Gary Grizzle, 2003. "The derived demand for faculty research," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(8), pages 549-567.
  4. Besancenot, Damien & Huynh, Kim & Vranceanu, Radu, 2006. "The "Read or Write" Dilemma in Academic Production: A European Perspective," ESSEC Working Papers DR 06021, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
  5. David N. Laband & Robert D. Tollison, 2003. "Dry Holes in Economic Research," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 161-173, 05.
  6. J. S. Armstrong, 2005. "The Devil s Advocate Responds to an MBA Student s Claim that Research Harms Learning," General Economics and Teaching 0502008, EconWPA.
  7. Arthur M. Diamond, 1993. "Economic Explanations of the Behaviour of Universities and Scholars," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(4/5), pages 107-133, September.
  8. Michael Spence, 2002. "Signaling in Retrospect and the Informational Structure of Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 434-459, June.
  9. Hendrik P. van Dalen & Arjo Klamer, 2005. "Is Science A Case of Wasteful Competition?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 395-414, 07.
  10. Siow, Aloysius, 1997. "Some evidence on the signalling role of research in academia," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 271-276, July.
  11. Tom Coupé, 2004. "What Do We Know about Ourselves? on the Economics of Economics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 197-215, 05.
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