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Scientific Productivity and Academic Promotion: A Study on French and Italian Physicists


  • Francesco Lissoni
  • Jacques Mairesse
  • Fabio Montobbio
  • Michele Pezzoni


The paper examines the determinants of scientific productivity (number of articles and journals' impact factor) for a panel of about 3600 French and Italian academic physicists active in 2004-05. Endogeneity problems concerning promotion and productivity are addressed by specifying a generalized Tobit model, in which a selection probit equation accounts for the individual scientist's probability of promotion to her present rank, and a productivity regression estimates the effects of age, gender, cohort of entry, and collaboration characteristics, conditional on the scientist's rank. We find that the size and international nature of collaborative projects and co-authors' past productivity have very significant impacts on current productivity, while age and gender, and past productivity are also influential determinants of both productivity and probability of promotion. Furthermore we show that the stop-and-go policies of recruitment and promotion, typical of the Italian and French centralized academic systems of governance, can leave significant long-lasting cohort effects on research productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Lissoni & Jacques Mairesse & Fabio Montobbio & Michele Pezzoni, 2010. "Scientific Productivity and Academic Promotion: A Study on French and Italian Physicists," NBER Working Papers 16341, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16341
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408.
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    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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