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Up or Out: Research Incentives and Career Prospects of Postdocs in Germany

  • Fitzenberger, Bernd

    ()

    (Humboldt University Berlin)

  • Leuschner, Ute

    ()

    (University of Freiburg)

Academic careers in Germany have been under debate for a while. We conduct a survey among postdocs in Germany, to analyze the perceptions and attitudes of postdocs regarding their research incentives, their working conditions, and their career prospects. We conceptualize the career prospects of a postdoc in a life-cycle perspective of transitions from academic training to academic or non-academic jobs. Only about half of the postdocs sees strong incentives for academic research, but there is quite a strong confidence to succeed in an academic career. Furthermore, postdocs who attended a PhD program show better career prospects and higher research incentives compared to others. Academic career prospects and motivation are strongest for assistant professors. Apart from this small group, however, postdocs report only a small impact of the university reforms of the last decade. Female postdocs show significantly higher research incentives but otherwise we find little gender differences. Finally, good prospects in non-academic jobs are not associated with a reduction in the motivation for research.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6407.

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Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6407
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Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
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  1. Lindley, Joanne & Machin, Stephen, 2011. "Rising Wage Inequality and Postgraduate Education," IZA Discussion Papers 5981, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting - Productivity, Preferences and Gender," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 360, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Susanne Warning & Christian Wiermann & Günther G. Schulze, 2008. "What and how long does it take to get tenure? The Case of Economics and Business Administration in Austria, Germany and Switzerland?," Discussion Paper Series 6, Department of International Economic Policy, University of Freiburg, revised Jul 2008.
  4. Gunther G. Schulze, 2008. "Tertiary Education in a Federal System: The Case of Germany," Conferences on New Political Economy, in: Max Albert & Stefan Voigt & Dieter Schmidtchen (ed.), Conferences on New Political Economy, edition 1, volume 25, pages 35-66(32) Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen.
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