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Unraveling the Academic Productivity of Economists: The Opportunity Costs of Teaching and Service


  • Susan Washburn Taylor

    () (Department of Economics, Millsaps College)

  • Blakely Fox Fender

    () (Department of Economics, Millsaps College)

  • Kimberly Gladden Burke

    () (Department of Accounting, Millsaps College)


This study investigates the relationships among research productivity, teaching, and service on the basis of individual-specific information involving approximately 715 academic economists. Responding to an online survey, these economists provided information regarding their teaching and service commitments as well as personal and institutional information. The publication record of each respondent was then obtained from EconLit. Together, these data constitute a rich field for the systematic study of research productivity. Results of a Tobit analysis reveal much about the nature of research productivity, underscoring, for instance, the importance of gender, coauthorship, presentations at conferences, and peers who publish. Among the more important findings from this analysis is that both teaching and service commitments have a significantly negative impact on the research productivity of academic economists. These relations hold across types of academic employer, though to varying degrees. Taken together, the results provide interesting insights into the roles of academic scholars, teachers, and colleagues.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Washburn Taylor & Blakely Fox Fender & Kimberly Gladden Burke, 2006. "Unraveling the Academic Productivity of Economists: The Opportunity Costs of Teaching and Service," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 846-859, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:72:4:y:2006:p:846-859

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    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General


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