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Are American Universities Mismanaged?: Tenure vs Non-Tenure Faculty Employment Decisions


  • G. Thomas Sav


This paper empirically tests the extent to which public universities in the United States are potentially mismanaged. The focus rests with university managerial employment decisions regarding the continuing substitution of less costly non-tenure track teaching faculty for tenured and tenure track faculty and the extent to which those decisions affect student graduation success. Panel data covering ten academic years, 2004-05 through 2013-14 are employed using ordinary least squares and stochastic frontier analysis specifications. The latter provides tests of the inefficiency effects of managerial employment decisions and academic year estimates of technical efficiency. In both cases, the results provide statistically strong evidence that tenured faculty lead to increased student graduation success while increases in non-tenured faculty have negative effects on student graduation rates. The stochastic results provide strong evidence of efficiency gains due to tenured faculty and increased inefficiency arising from non-tenure track faculty employment. While universities appear to have managed efficiency gains as a possible result of the Great Recession, those gains quickly evaporated in both 2012 and 2013. Separate estimates for research vs. lower level comprehensive universities, indicate that the former maintain greater operating efficiencies. Given that public universities are being subject to new funding models that tie funding to the production of student success rates, the continuing non-tenure track employment substitution suggests that universities are potentially mismanaged in generating funding support for faculty employment and student success.Keywords: Tenure, non-tenure, faculty employment, stochastic frontier, university

Suggested Citation

  • G. Thomas Sav, 2017. "Are American Universities Mismanaged?: Tenure vs Non-Tenure Faculty Employment Decisions," Information Management and Business Review, AMH International, vol. 8(6), pages 19-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:rnd:arimbr:v:8:y:2017:i:6:p:19-31
    DOI: 10.22610/imbr.v8i6(I).1581

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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. George J. Borjas, 2000. "Foreign-Born Teaching Assistants and the Academic Performance of Undergraduates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 355-359, May.
    3. Liang Zhang & Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Xiangmin Liu, 2015. "Changing Faculty Employment at Four-Year Colleges and Universities in the United States," NBER Working Papers 21827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Eric Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2004. "Do College Instructors Matter? The Effects of Adjuncts and Graduate Assistants on Students' Interests and Success," NBER Working Papers 10370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Tim Coelli & Sergio Perelman & Elliot Romano, 1999. "Accounting for Environmental Influences in Stochastic Frontier Models: With Application to International Airlines," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 251-273, June.
    6. G. Thomas Sav, 2012. "Efficiency Estimates and Rankings Employing Data Envelopment and Stochastic Frontier Analyses: Evaluating the Management of U.S. Public Colleges," Information Management and Business Review, AMH International, vol. 4(8), pages 444-452.
    7. Belton Fleisher & Masanori Hashimoto & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2002. "Foreign GTAs Can Be Effective Teachers of Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 299-325, December.
    8. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2010. "Does Cheaper Mean Better? The Impact of Using Adjunct Instructors on Student Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 598-613, August.
    9. Battese, G E & Coelli, T J, 1995. "A Model for Technical Inefficiency Effects in a Stochastic Frontier Production Function for Panel Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 325-332.
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