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Measuring Academic Potential: A Case for Academic Tenure and Process

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Abstract

This paper presents a simple theory and test of an efficiency hypothesis for academic tenure and the process by which it is granted. Our approach argues that tenure is a response to the high cost of measuring academic potential and has survived as a low cost method by which the university can better match potential entrants with incumbents and so promote superior performance by its departments. The probationary period leading into the tenure decision then becomes one where coordination gains can arise from better measurement, evaluation, and integration of new faculty. It follows that tighter tenure standards require greater evaluation efforts with greater turnover and success should result in superior department performance. To test the hypothesis, Dnes and Seaton's (2001) distinction between UK universities that prior to 1988 offered hard versus soft forms of tenure and data from the UK Research Assessment Exercise are used . After controlling for more easily measured inputs into department performance, tenure status remains a positive predictor of ranking across UK departments of economics.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Stephen Ferris & Michael McKee, 2002. "Measuring Academic Potential: A Case for Academic Tenure and Process," Carleton Economic Papers 02-06, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:car:carecp:02-06
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    File URL: http://www1.carleton.ca/economics/research/working-papers/carleton-economic-papers-cep-2001-2010/
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    4. Phipps, Shelley A & Burton, Peter S, 1998. "What's Mine Is Yours? The Influence of Male and Female Incomes on Patterns of Household Expenditure," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(260), pages 599-613, November.
    5. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-6, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    6. Martin Dooley & Ellen Lipman & Jennifer Stewart, 2005. "Exploring the Good Mother Hypothesis: Do Child Outcomes Vary with the Mother's Share of Income?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 31(2), pages 123-144, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Academic tenure; organization theory; measurment costs; team production;

    JEL classification:

    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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