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Incentives, Sorting and Productivity along the Career: Evidence from a Sample of Top Economists

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  • Coupé, Tom

    (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)

  • Smeets, Valérie

    (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)

  • Warzynski, Frédéric

    (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)

Abstract

In this paper we study empirically the labor market of economists. We look at the mobility and promotion patterns of a sample of 1,000 top economists over thirty years and link it to their productivity and other personal characteristics. We find that the probability of promotion and of upward mobility is positively related to past production. However, the sensitivity of promotion and mobility to production diminishes with experience, indicating the presence of a learning process. We also find evidence that economists respond to incentives. They tend to exert more effort at the beginning of their career when dynamic incentives are important. This finding is robust to the introduction of tenure, which has an additional negative ex post impact on production. Our results indicate therefore that both promotions and tenure have an effect on the provision of incentives. Finally, we detect evidence of a sorting process, as the more productive individuals are allocated to the best ranked universities. We provide a very simple theoretical explanation of these results based on Holmström (1982) with heterogeneous firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Coupé, Tom & Smeets, Valérie & Warzynski, Frédéric, 2003. "Incentives, Sorting and Productivity along the Career: Evidence from a Sample of Top Economists," Working Papers 03-16, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:aareco:2003_016
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    Cited by:

    1. Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2003. "Karriereanreize für Wissenschaftler an Hochschulen im deutsch-amerikanischen Vergleich," Working Papers 0051, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Jan 2004.
    2. Corinne Langinier & Stéphanie Lluis, 2021. "Departure And Promotion Of U.S. Patent Examiners: Do Patent Characteristics Matter?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 416-434, April.
    3. Jeanine Miklós-Thal & Hannes Ullrich, 2016. "Career Prospects and Effort Incentives: Evidence from Professional Soccer," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(6), pages 1645-1667, June.
    4. Michael Rauber & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 2008. "Life Cycle and Cohort Productivity in Economic Research: The Case of Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(4), pages 431-456, November.
    5. Sascha Baghestanian & Sergey V. Popov, 2017. "Alma Mat(t)er(s): Determinants of Early Career Success in Economics," Economics Working Papers 17-02, Queen's Management School, Queen's University Belfast.
    6. Pezzoni, Michele & Sterzi, Valerio & Lissoni, Francesco, 2012. "Career progress in centralized academic systems: Social capital and institutions in France and Italy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 704-719.
    7. Ángel Mahou & Álvaro García-Sánchez & Miguel Ortega-Mier & Ana Moreno Romero, 2014. "Red Eléctrica de España Uses Integer Programming for Annual Salary Revisions," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 44(4), pages 384-392, August.
    8. Michael Rauber & Heinrich Ursprung, 2006. "Evaluation of Researchers: A Life Cycle Analysis of German Academic Economists," CESifo Working Paper Series 1673, CESifo.
    9. Smeets, Valerie, 2004. "Are There Fast Tracks in Economic Departments? Evidence from a Sample of Top Economists," Working Papers 04-4, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    10. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick, 2018. "Open access to research data: Strategic delay and the ambiguous welfare effects of mandatory data disclosure," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 20-34.
    11. Carrasco, Raquel & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier, 2016. "The gender productivity gap : some evidence for a set of highly productive academic economists," UC3M Working papers. Economics 23525, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    12. Catherine Haeck & Frank Verboven, 2012. "The Internal Economics of a University: Evidence from Personnel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 591-626.
    13. Evangelia Chalioti, 2015. "Team Production, Endogenous Learning about Abilities and Career Concerns," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2020, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    14. Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick & Mueller-Langer, Frank, 2014. "Open access to data: An ideal professed but not practised," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(9), pages 1621-1633.
    15. Zhang, Haifeng & Zhang, Junsen & Zhang, Yanfeng, 2019. "Do tournament incentives matter in academics? Evidence from personnel data in a top-tier university in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 84-106.
    16. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2013. "Are more senior academics really more research productive than junior academics? Evidence from Australian law schools," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 96(2), pages 411-425, August.
    17. Azoulay, Pierre & Ganguli, Ina & Graff Zivin, Joshua, 2017. "The mobility of elite life scientists: Professional and personal determinants," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 573-590.
    18. Raquel Carrasco & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2014. "The Evolution Of The Scientific Productivity Of Highly Productive Economists," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 1-16, January.
    19. Ana Maria Takahashi & Shingo Takahashi, 2010. "The effect of refereed articles on salary, promotion and labor mobility: The case of Japanese economists," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(1), pages 330-350.
    20. Jed DeVaro & Michael Waldman, 2012. "The Signaling Role of Promotions: Further Theory and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 91-147.
    21. Tolga Yuret, 2018. "Tenure and turnover of academics in six undergraduate programs in the United States," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 116(1), pages 101-124, July.
    22. Günther G. Schulze & Susanne Warning & Christian Wiermann, 2008. "What and How Long Does It Take to Get Tenure? The Case of Economics and Business Administration in Austria, Germany and Switzerland," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 473-505, November.
    23. Michael Rauber & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 2008. "Life Cycle and Cohort Productivity in Economic Research: The Case of Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(4), pages 431-456, November.
    24. Pablo Casas‐Arce, 2010. "Career Tournaments," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 667-698, September.
    25. Pedro Albarrán & Raquel Carrasco & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2017. "Geographic mobility and research productivity in a selection of top world economics departments," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 111(1), pages 241-265, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dynamic incentives; career concerns; sorting; productivity; internal labor markets; human capital; economic departments; promotions; mobility; tenure;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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