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The Role of Connections in Academic Promotions

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  • Zinovyeva, Natalia

    () (Aalto University)

  • Bagues, Manuel F.

    () (Aalto University)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the role of connections in academic promotions. We exploit evidence from centralized evaluations in Spain, where evaluators are randomly assigned to promotion committees. We find that prior connections between candidates and evaluators have a dramatic impact on candidates’ success. For instance, the presence of a co-author or an advisor in the committee is equivalent to a standard deviation increase in candidates’ research output. The effect of a weaker link, such as a member of candidate’s doctoral thesis committee, is one fourth as large. The source of the premium enjoyed by connected candidates depends on the nature of their relationship with committee members. In the case of weak links, informational gains tend to dominate evaluation biases. Candidates promoted by a weak link turn out to be more productive in the future relative to other promoted candidates. However, consistently with the existence of cronyism, candidates promoted by a strong connection exhibit a significantly worse research record both before and after the evaluation.

Suggested Citation

  • Zinovyeva, Natalia & Bagues, Manuel F., 2012. "The Role of Connections in Academic Promotions," IZA Discussion Papers 6821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6821
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ruben Durante & Giovanna Labartino & Roberto Perotti, 2011. "Academic Dynasties: Decentralization and Familism in the Italian Academia," NBER Working Papers 17572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Natalia Zinovyeva & Manuel F. Bagues, 2010. "Does gender matter for academic promotion? Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Working Papers 2010-15, FEDEA.
    3. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Linnemer, Laurent & Visser, Michael, 2008. "Publish or peer-rich? The role of skills and networks in hiring economics professors," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 423-441, June.
    4. Alexander Oettl, 2012. "Reconceptualizing Stars: Scientist Helpfulness and Peer Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(6), pages 1122-1140, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    evaluation bias; connections; academic promotions; information asymmetries;

    JEL classification:

    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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