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A Comparison of Salary Structures Between Economics and Agricultural Economics Departments


  • Christiana E. Hilmer
  • Michael J. Hilmer
  • Jayson L. Lusk


We examine whether differences exist in the prevailing salary structures for doctorate-granting economics and agricultural economics departments at public, land-grant universities in the United States. Within a sample of 440 economists and 375 agricultural economists, we find that economics departments exhibit greater variation in annual salaries, higher estimated negative returns to seniority, and larger estimated returns to career publishing success than do agricultural economics departments. These difference manifest themselves in a hierarchical salary distribution in which members of elite economics departments earn the highest predicted annual salaries, members of elite agricultural economics and middle-ranked economics departments earn middle predicted annual salaries, and members of middle- and lower-ranked agricultural economics and lower-ranked economics departments earn the lowest predicted annual salaries. In 16 out of 22 universities studied, we predict that economists would face salary declines if they moved across campus (or in some cases down the hall) to their respective agricultural economics departments. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Christiana E. Hilmer & Michael J. Hilmer & Jayson L. Lusk, 2012. "A Comparison of Salary Structures Between Economics and Agricultural Economics Departments," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 34(3), pages 489-514.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:apecpp:v:34:y:2012:i:3:p:489-514

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