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Why Business Schools Do So Much Research: A Signaling Explanation

Criticism is mounting on business schools for their excessive focus on research and for neglecting teaching. We show that if students have imperfect information about a school’s overall capabilities and if business schools differ in their research productivity, the least productive schools may do as much research as the top-tier ones only to manipulate student’s expectations. In turn, the most productive schools might resort to excess research in order to signal their type in the eyes of future students. This signalling equilibrium is characterized by a relative neglect of teaching by the top-tier schools. Such a situation is socially inefficient as compared to the perfect information case.

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Paper provided by ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School in its series ESSEC Working Papers with number DR 08002.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ebg:essewp:dr-08002
Contact details of provider: Postal: ESSEC Research Center, BP 105, 95021 Cergy, France
Web page: http://www.essec.edu/
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  1. Tom Coupé, 2004. "What Do We Know about Ourselves? on the Economics of Economics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 197-215, 05.
  2. David N. Laband & Robert D. Tollison, 2003. "Dry Holes in Economic Research," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 161-173, 05.
  3. Besancenot, Damien & Vranceanu, Radu, 2008. "Can incentives for research harm research? A business schools' tale," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1248-1265, June.
  4. Siow, Aloysius, 1997. "Some evidence on the signalling role of research in academia," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 271-276, July.
  5. Elizabeth Becker & Cotton M. Lindsay & Gary Grizzle, 2003. "The derived demand for faculty research," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(8), pages 549-567.
  6. Michael Spence, 2002. "Signaling in Retrospect and the Informational Structure of Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 434-459, June.
  7. Besancenot, Damien & Huynh, Kim & Vranceanu, Radu, 2006. "The "Read or Write" Dilemma in Academic Production: A European Perspective," ESSEC Working Papers DR 06021, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
  8. J. S. Armstrong, 2005. "The Devil s Advocate Responds to an MBA Student s Claim that Research Harms Learning," General Economics and Teaching 0502008, EconWPA.
  9. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  10. Hendrik P. van Dalen & Arjo Klamer, 2005. "Is Science A Case of Wasteful Competition?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 395-414, 07.
  11. Arthur M. Diamond, 1993. "Economic Explanations of the Behaviour of Universities and Scholars," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(4/5), pages 107-133, September.
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