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Academics’ Attitudes toward Engaging in Public Discussions – Experimental Evidence on the Impact of Engagement Conditions


  • Vitus Püttmann
  • Jens Ruhose
  • Stephan L. Thomsen


Academics are increasingly expected to engage in public discussions. We study how engagement conditions affect academics’ engagement attitudes via a survey experiment among 4,091 tenured professors in Germany. Consistent with the crowding-out of intrinsic motivation, we find lesspositive attitudes when emphasizing public authorities’ demands and public expectations regarding science’s societal relevance. Effects are particularly strong among professors endorsing science–society relations. Moreover, effects are similar when highlighting risks associated with engagement, but more pronounced for females, and absent when emphasizing public support for academics’ engagement. We conclude that considering individual incentive structures and safeguarding against repercussions may promote academics’ engagement.

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  • Vitus Püttmann & Jens Ruhose & Stephan L. Thomsen, 2021. "Academics’ Attitudes toward Engaging in Public Discussions – Experimental Evidence on the Impact of Engagement Conditions," CESifo Working Paper Series 9258, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_9258

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    science communication; public engagement; professor; survey experiment; intrinsic motivation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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