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Publish or Perish? Incentives and Careers in Italian Academia

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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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    Cited by:

    1. Marta De Philippis, 2021. "Multi-Task Agents and Incentives: The Case of Teaching and Research for University Professors," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 131(636), pages 1643-1681.
    2. Daniele Checchi & Silvia Poli & Enrico Rettore, 2018. "Does Random Selection of Selectors Improve the Quality of Selected Candidates? An Investigation in the Italian Academia," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 4(2), pages 211-247, July.
    3. Daniele Checchi & Silvia De Poli & Enrico Rettore, 2017. "Does random selection of commissioners improve the quality of selected candidates? An investigation in the Italian academia," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2017-01, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    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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