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

Author

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  • Fitzenberger, Bernd

    () (Humboldt University Berlin)

  • Leuschner, Ute

    () (University of Freiburg)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Fitzenberger, Bernd & Leuschner, Ute, 2012. "Up or Out: Research Incentives and Career Prospects of Postdocs in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 6407, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6407
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting: Productivity, Preferences, and Gender," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 556-590, April.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Lindley, Joanne & Machin, Stephen, 2011. "Rising Wage Inequality and Postgraduate Education," IZA Discussion Papers 5981, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Lutter, Mark & Schröder, Martin, 2016. "Who becomes a tenured professor, and why? Panel data evidence from German sociology, 1980–2013," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(5), pages 999-1013.
    2. Alexander Butz & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2016. "Die Ökonomen-Rankings 2015 von Handelsblatt, FAZ und RePEc: Methodik, Ergebnisse, Kritik und Vergleich," ifo Working Paper Series 212, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. Lutter, Mark & Schröder, Martin, 2014. "Who becomes a tenured professor, and why? Panel data evidence from German sociology, 1980-2013," MPIfG Discussion Paper 14/19, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    4. Haucap, Justus & Thomas, Tobias & Wohlrabe, Klaus, 2017. "Publication performance vs. influence: On the questionable value of quality weighted publication rankings," DICE Discussion Papers 277, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    5. Alexander Butz & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2016. "Anmerkungen und Kritik zu den Ökonomen-Rankings 2015 von Handelsblatt, FAZ und RePEc," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 69(10), pages 37-44, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    postdocs; academic career prospects; research incentives; university reforms;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A29 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Other
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J49 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Other

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