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Job choice in academia

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  • Janger, Jürgen
  • Nowotny, Klaus

Abstract

The asymmetric international mobility of talented scientists is well documented, yet there is little evidence about the reasons why scientists choose particular jobs. Building on an extended human capital model of science, we unify a dispersed literature relevant for job choice to formulate hypotheses which we test in a unique international quasi-experiment among more than 10,000 researchers. We find that attractive jobs satisfy researchers’ “taste for science” and increase their expected scientific productivity, responding to both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. In particular, while salaries, research funding and working with stimulating peers matter, we provide unique estimates of the importance of organisational and institutional factors: early stage researchers are willing to trade off a substantial amount of salary for early independence and tenure perspectives; later stage researchers favour jobs which make it easy to take up new lines of research. Research-only positions are considered as less attractive than jobs with a moderate amount of teaching. Our findings have important implications for the organisational design of research universities and the competitiveness of European science in light of the brain drain of highly talented scientists towards the U.S.

Suggested Citation

  • Janger, Jürgen & Nowotny, Klaus, 2016. "Job choice in academia," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1672-1683.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:45:y:2016:i:8:p:1672-1683
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2016.05.001
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:10:p:1863-1872 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jürgen Janger & Agnes Kügler & Andreas Reinstaller & Fabian Unterlass, 2017. "Austria 2025 – Measuring and Determining the Frontier in Science, Technology, Innovation and Economy," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 90(2), pages 141-151, February.
    3. N. N., 2017. "WIFO-Monatsberichte, no 2/2017," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 90(2), February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job choice in academia; Academic labour market; University organisation; Brain drain; Scientific productivity; Stated choice analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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