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Publish or Perish? Incentives and Careers in Italian Academia

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Abstract

We derive a theoretical model of effort in the presence of career concern based on the multi-unit all-pay auction, and closely inspired by the Italian academic market. In this model, the number of applicants, the number of new posts, and the relative importance of the determinants of promotion determine academics' effort. Because of the specific characteristics of Italian universities, where incentives operate only through promotion, and where all appointment panels are drawn from strictly separated and relatively narrow scientific sectors, the model fits well Italian academia, and we test it in a newly constructed dataset which collects the journal publications of all Italian academics working in universities. We find that individual researchers respond to incentives in the manner predicted by the theoretical model: more capable researchers respond to increases in the importance of the measurable determinants of promotion and in the competitiveness of the scientific sector by exerting more effort; less able researchers do the opposite.

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  • Daniele Checchi & Gianni De Fraja & Stefano Verzillo, 2014. "Publish or Perish? Incentives and Careers in Italian Academia," CEIS Research Paper 323, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 07 Aug 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:323
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    1. Baye, Michael R & Kovenock, Dan & de Vries, Casper G, 1993. "Rigging the Lobbying Process: An Application of the All-Pay Auction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 289-294.
    2. Daniele Checchi & Gianni De Fraja & Stefano Verzillo, 2014. "And the Winners Are… An Axiomatic Approach to Selection from a Set," Discussion Papers 14/05, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
    3. Chang, C-L. & McAleer, M.J. & Oxley, L., 2010. "Journal Impect Factor Versus Eigenfactor and Article Influence," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2010-67, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
    4. Stijn Kelchtermans & Reinhilde Veugelers, 2011. "The great divide in scientific productivity: why the average scientist does not exist," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 295-336, February.
    5. Yasar Barut & Dan Kovenock & Charles N. Noussair, 2002. "A Comparison of Multiple-Unit All-Pay and Winner-Pay Auctions Under Incomplete Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(3), pages 675-708, August.
    6. Durante, Ruben & Labartino, Giovanna & Perotti, Roberto, 2011. "Academic Dynasties: Decentralization and Familism in the Italian Academia," CEPR Discussion Papers 8645, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Checchi, Daniele & De Fraja, Gianni & Verzillo, Stefano, 2014. "And the Winners Are... An Axiomatic Approach to Selection from a Set," IZA Discussion Papers 8344, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Natalia Zinovyeva & Manuel F. Bagues, 2010. "Does gender matter for academic promotion? Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Working Papers 2010-15, FEDEA.
    9. repec:spr:scient:v:98:y:2014:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-013-1075-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Vincenzo Scoppa, 2009. "Intergenerational transfers of public sector jobs: a shred of evidence on nepotism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(1), pages 167-188, October.
    11. William E. Becker Jr., 1975. "The University Professor as a Utility Maximizer and Producer of Learning, Research, and Income," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 10(1), pages 107-115.
    12. Ciriaco Andrea D'Angelo & Cristiano Giuffrida & Giovanni Abramo, 2011. "A heuristic approach to author name disambiguation in bibliometrics databases for large-scale research assessments," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 62(2), pages 257-269, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marta De Philippis, 2015. "Multitask Agents and Incentives: The Case of Teaching and Research for University Professors," CEP Discussion Papers dp1386, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Checchi, Daniele & De Poli, Silvia & Rettore, Enrico, 2017. "Does Random Selection of Commissioners Improve the Quality of Selected Candidates? An Investigation in the Italian Academia," IZA Discussion Papers 10844, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Career concerns; Applied auction theory; Publications; Academic job market; Nepotism.;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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