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Multitask Agents and Incentives: The Case of Teaching and Research for University Professors

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  • Marta De Philippis

Abstract

This paper evaluates the behavioural responses of multitask agents to the provision of incentives skewed towards one task only. In particular it studies the case of strong research incentives for university professors and it analyzes their effects on the way university faculty members allocate effort between teaching and quantity and quality of research and on the way they select into different types of universities. I first obtain different individual level measures of teaching and research performance. Then, I estimate a difference in difference model, exploiting a natural experiment that took place at Bocconi University, which heavily strengthened incentives towards research in 2005. I find evidence that teaching and research efforts are substitutable in the professors' cost function: the impact of research incentives is positive on research activity and negative on teaching performance. The effects are driven by career concerns rather than by the monetary incentives and are stronger for low ability researchers. Moreover, under the new incentive regime lower ability researchers tend to leave the university. Since I estimate that teaching and research ability are positively correlated, this implies that also bad teachers tend to leave the university. These results are consistent with a model of incentives where agents allocate effort between two substitute tasks and ability is multidimensional.

Suggested Citation

  • Marta De Philippis, 2015. "Multitask Agents and Incentives: The Case of Teaching and Research for University Professors," CEP Discussion Papers dp1386, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1386
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ali Palali & Roel van Elk & Jonneke Bolhaar & Iryna Rud, 2017. "Are good researchers also good teachers? The relationship between research quality and teaching quality," CPB Discussion Paper 347, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Multitasking; incentives; teaching;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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