Master’s students Analía García ’19 (ITFD) and Lorena Franco ’19 (Economics) organized the seminar to highlight research by female PhD students and professors
This May, BGSE Master’s students Analía García ’19 (ITFD) and Lorena Franco ’19 (Economics) organized the Women in Economics two-day seminar, which meant to highlight female PhD students and faculty members’ research.
Three students and four Barcelona GSE Affiliated Professors presented their work, which varied from family economics to political economics and experimental economics. More information of the speakers and their topics below.
These efforts, nonetheless, started over two months ago when both students, who are from Latin America and the Caribbean, organized an open forum on International Women’s Day. Having prior work experience and noting the clear lack of female representation in economics and academia, they wanted to expand the conversations on the topic and discuss what we could do to potentially “make it better” within their parameters. The Women in Economics seminar was born from the conversations during the first and second open forums, and thanks to the ideas of Marta Morazzoni and Claudia Meza, both PhD students at GPEFM (UPF and Barcelona GSE).
Putting this together was a challenge given this had not been done at BGSE before, but the organizers hope this was insightful for all those who attended.
More female and racial diversity in economics and academia, please!
The speakers and the titles of the work were the following (listed alphabetically):
Marta Morazzoni“Family Dynamics in Macroeconomics: when the representative household does not represent us anymore”
Marta Santamaría“The Gains from Reshaping Infrastructure: Evidence from the Division of Germany”
Alina Velias“When to Tie Odysseus to the Mast: Costly Commitment Under Biased Expactations”
Enriqueta Aragonés“Stability of a Multi-level Government: A Catalonia in Spain”
Rosa Ferrer“Consumers’ Costly Responses to Product-Harm Crises” and “Gender Gaps in Performance: Evidence from Young Lawyers”
Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell“Relative Deprivation in Tanzania”
Rosemarie Nagel“Regularities in the Lab, Brain, and Field: A Cognitive Reasoning Model”
Antonia Esser ’11 (International Trade, Finance, and Development)
I started to work on remittances around three years ago when
I joined my current organization, the Centre for Financial Regulation and
Inclusion (or Cenfri in short) as a
researcher. We are an independent, not-for-profit think-and-do-tank based in
Cape Town, South Africa, trying to answer complex questions around the role of
the financial sector in improving individuals’ welfare in emerging economies.
Remittances is one of our key focus areas and we have received donor funding
from Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSDA)
to understand why the cost of sending funds into Africa is still the highest in
According to the World Bank, the average cost of sending remittances globally stood at just under 7% of the total value of the transfer in the first quarter of this year; in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), consumers had to pay on average 9.25% – by far the most expensive region in the world. The SDGs want to bring down the cost to between three and five percent. Most disturbingly, intra-Africa transfers can cost way more than 15% in some corridors, even when the countries are neighbours (e.g. Nigeria and Cameroon where a transfer can cost 15%). The following graphic shows the average prices some time in 2017 between the UK and selected African countries.
When one considers that around 80% of African migrants stay
within Africa, this is an incredibly high burden in terms of cost that reduces
the positive impact of these essential flows for recipients. Many migrants are
therefore forced to use informal mechanisms that are often cheaper, more
trusted and more convenient. Yet informal mechanisms can be fronts for illicit
financial flows, including money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
They also indirectly influence competition as they mask the true size of a
remittance corridor, deterring providers from entering the market.
Formal remittance flows are now higher than the value of
official development assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investment (FDI). They
have shown to have significant positive impact as they flow directly in the
hands of those that rely on these funds as a primary source of income, and they
tend to be more stable than ODA or FDI.
Based on all this evidence, FSDA asked us to understand the cost
drivers and why it is still so expensive to send money to and within the
continent despite all the innovations in the FinTech space with apps from
players such as WorldRemit. We embarked
on a journey to collect evidence through stakeholder interviews (with private
sector players such as money transfer organisations, banks, FinTechs, and post
offices, as well as regulators, policy makers and experts), mystery shopping, speaking
to consumers, and ploughing through existing literature. We travelled to
important remittance markets such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire and
Uganda last year to understand the situation on the ground.
What I’ve learned since then is that remittances are an
incredibly complicated business. It consists of providers in the first mile
(where cash sending happens), the middle mile (where the processing of payments
happens) and the last mile (where the recipient collects the money). The value
chain is therefore very long and brings with it not only partnership complications
but also technical issues. Cross-border money transfers are heavily regulated
due to money laundering fears and severe risk exposure, but especially in
Africa capital outflows of any kind are also heavily controlled in many markets
still. To get a money transfer license can sometimes take a decade, we heard
from some providers.
Overall, there were many interesting insights but at the end of the day we narrowed the reasons for the high costs down to four categories: business case barriers, regulatory barriers, infrastructure barriers and consumer-facing barriers. We then evaluated the number of citations and their impact on cost and access for the consumer to show how severe the barrier is for both providers and consumers:
From these insights we produced a range of reports, that you
can access here,
if you are interested, with the aim to disseminate them at key events and bring
them into relevant discussions with the various stakeholders.
One avenue we are pursuing is to reduce the regulatory
burden for providers to stimulate competition, especially in intra-Africa
corridors. Many cross-border corridors are still dominated by one or two
companies such as Western Union or MoneyGram that can set their prices freely.
They are helped by the regulation as the licensing requirements in some cases
can be incredibly high. For example, you may need to show capital of USD 20
million, be operational in at least seven countries for at least ten years. Of
course, none of the newer players that can offer cheaper remittances through
using apps, for example, can meet all
We were therefore on the hunt to influence regulators to revise some of the regulations. And a lot of regulation touches cross-border remittances: payment system act, banking act, foreign exchange act, agent banking regulation, e-money regulation, telecommunications regulation, cross-border transfer regulation etc – the list goes on and on. Every country seems to have their own set of rules and regulations that need to be made interoperable or at least harmonise to reduce the regulatory burdens in a value chain that can cross many jurisdictions. Definitely not an easy task! Many African countries are still heavily dependent on natural resources, such as Nigeria on oil for example. Their exchange rate with the dollar is fixed by the central bank. Yet, the Nigerian Naira is overvalued, leading to a parallel shadow market where one can get better rates for dollars on the streets of Lagos, impacting the use of formal remittance channels. But of course, the regulator is very concerned with financial stability and the impact a devaluation could have on foreign exchange reserves, inflation etc. Attracting more formal remittances does not sway the regulator enough to change the exchange rate policies. All of these realities need to be taken into consideration when approaching the regulators to try and achieve change based on research, and of course protocols play a huge role.
As part of this effort to reach regulators and based on the
research we had done, I was recently invited to attend the inaugural meeting of
experts, organized by the African Institute for Remittances (AIR), which is a programme established by
the African Union. We were called from all over the continent based on our
research and professional experience to build a cohort that would give
technical assistance to willing African regulators. Last month we met in
Mombasa, Kenya, and learned more about the planned interventions. On the one
hand, we want to achieve better remittance data quality in the individual
countries as the data can be questionable, but on the other hand we want to
assist with writing the right kind of regulation that fosters innovation,
reduces cost without reducing the access for consumers, and incentivise the
uptake of formal remittance mechanisms.
I learned which data point to allocate to which balance of
payment code at the central bank to make sure there is consistency across
countries. I also learned how we will go about understand the regulatory
background, as of course there is a difference between de jure and de facto
regulation, i.e. we need to understand how regulation is interpreted from a
stakeholder point of view.
So far it has been an exciting journey to see how we can
take our insights into regulatory change. Some countries have already shown
interest in being assessed and assisted and we will receive a list of our
country missions as the expert cohort soon. Judging from our past work with
regulators, this process can take many months, years if not decades but the
potential impact of such fundamental changes is immense, especially for the
individual person on the ground. System-level impact takes patience and
ITFD taught me to be precise and on-point with my research to effect change – policy makers do not want to read 300 pages no matter how well-researched the material is. Insights need to be relatable and digestible, yet you also need to be able to raise funding for important interventions even if they seem cumbersome. We are lucky that FSDA has such a mandate and I look forward to continuing this journey with them and the African Union. Hopefully I will be able to report a significant drop in remittance prices due to regulatory change soon..ish.
It’s our second roundup of articles by Barcelona GSE Alumni who are now working as research assistants and economists at CaixaBank Research in Barcelona (see Vol. 1).
This roundup includes posts and videos from the second half of 2018 and early 2019, listed in reverse chronological order. Click each author’s name to view all of his or her articles from CaixaBank Research in English, Catalan, and Spanish.
The importance of education for people’s well-being throughout all stages of their lives is beyond any doubt. At the economic level, individuals with higher levels of education tend to enjoy higher employment rates and income levels. What is more, all the indicators suggest that in the years to come, the role of education will be even more important. The challenges posed by technological change and globalisation have a profound effect on the educational model.
Faced with the major transformation of the productive system brought about by technological change and globalisation, as well as the challenges posed by an ageing population, it is important to take action to strengthen social cohesion – an indispensable element if we are to carry out reforms that foster an inclusive and sustained form of growth.
The US and the euro area are at different stages of their financial cycles: while the Fed’s monetary policy is close to becoming neutral or even restrictive, the ECB remains in clearly accommodative territory. However, to some extent, both are facing a common risk: the decoupling between their monetary policy and the financial conditions. The two institutions will try to manage their tools carefully, in order to facilitate a gradual adjustment of the financial conditions in the US and, in the case of the euro area, to keep them in accommodative territory.
Gerard Arqué ’09 (Macroeconomic Policy and Financial Markets)
Thanks to the implementation of the measures introduced following the financial crisis, today the financial sector is more robust than before. This will help to minimise the impact to the economy and financial stability in periods of upheaval, since countries with better-capitalised banking systems tend to experience shorter recessions and less contraction in the supply of credit. However, the outstanding tasks we have mentioned should be properly addressed sooner rather than later.
Central banks are facing the challenge of removing the extraordinary measures imposed during the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the subsequent economic recession. In normal times, central banks would simply raise interest rates up to the desired level. However, monetary policy is currently in a rather unconventional cycle.
We capitalise on the 2006 implementation of a minimum wage for the hospitality sector to make well-evidenced inferences about the impact of the upcoming National Minimum Wage (NMW) Legislation on low-wage workers. Our paper focuses on the two largest low-wage sectors currently without minimum wage regulation, which are manufacturing and construction. Two regression specifications and sensitivity analysis are used to provide insights into the implication for wages, hours worked, employment, formality and poverty rates. In light of our results and a comprehensive review of the literature, we conclude that the NMW will be largely beneficial for low-wage labourers. Our critical recommendation for policymakers is the need for complementary policies to ensure compliance and facilitate the transition of vulnerable groups (particularly black women) into the formal sector.
Conclusions and key results:
From our first specification, our analysis suggests that wages and hours worked will increase in manufacturing and construction sectors as a result of the minimum wage, mostly driven by increases for black and female workers. Although the policy is likely to increase the formality rate among male workers, we predict formality will fall among females as employers try to circumvent the legislation. Therefore it is crucial that adequate complementary policies are implemented to ensure the benefits are captured by all population groups. Our second specification exploits the variation in the median wage across provinces. In doing so, we find no significant effect on wages, which signals regional impacts of the minimum wage are fairly homogeneous. Therefore, compared to other countries adopting a similar policy, the implementation of safety-nets combating the adverse effects of the minimum wage will be relatively more straightforward. By conducting sensitivity analysis around compliance rates and poverty lines already stipulated in the literature, we predict between 100,000 and 300,000 manufacturing and construction workers will be lifted out of wage poverty as a result of the minimum wage. We combine our empirical partial equilibrium analysis with theoretical general equilibrium forces to provide statements on the anticipated lower bound of wage changes.
Miguel Angel Santos was interviewed on CNN’s Global Portfolio where he shared his analysis of the economic crisis in Venezuela.
Master’s alum Miguel Angel Santos was interviewed on CNN’s Global Portfolio where he shared his analysis of the economic crisis in Venezuela. From his post on LinkedIn:
“The collapse of Venezuela has a magnitude never before seen: it is the only country in the top ten of falls in GDP in five years in history (ninth, 45%), of falls in imports (third, 75%), and is also projected as one of the most intense hyperinflations in history, comparable only to Germany and Zimbabwe. There is no country on those three lists which has suffered collapses in imports, production, and hyperinflation at this level of intensity. It’s unprecedented.”
This paper analyzes whether access to imported intermediate goods can raise export performance of Russian firms. We employ an instrumental variable strategy which exploits variation in firm-specific input tariffs to identify the effect of imported intermediates on firm exports during the period 2007-2013, utilizing a unique firm-level database on firm characteristics and customs declarations. We find that input tariff reductions can raise firm exports significantly, as can other measures aimed at increasing imports of intermediate goods of exporting firms in Russia. Import promotion targeted at exporting firms in high-tech sectors can be up to three times more effective. Better access to imports can also help increase the currently low share of exporting firms within the Russian enterprise landscape. Our results suggest that with the rising globalization and fragmentation of production processes, countries interested in raising exports need to think strategically of promoting imports as well. We propose and discuss several policy measures for Russia in the areas of tariff regulation, non- tariff measures, trade facilitation and trade integration.
Using a comprehensive firm-level dataset which combines information on Russian company characteristics, involvement in trade and input tariff rates, we reveal a strong positive impact of intermediate imports on firm exports in the manufacturing sector. These results imply that improved access to intermediate goods at the international market can serve as a means to raise Russia’s currently weak export performance outside the natural resource sector. Import promotion policies targeted at intermediate goods imported by firms in high-tech sectors can be especially effective and raise exports by up to three times more than in other sectors. Better access to imports can also help increase the currently low share of exporting firms within the Russian enterprise landscape.
Our estimation results indicate that a one percentage point decrease in input tariffs would raise firm exports by approximately one percent. Even though tariffs have been significantly decreased over the past decade in the context of regional integration and Russia’s WTO accession (see figure 1), there is still ample room to lower input tariffs in order to promote exports. More than 40 percent of intermediate goods imported by Russian exporting manufacturing firms and more than 30 percent of goods imported by exporting firms in high-tech manufacturing sectors still entered the customs union at a tariff rate above 5 percent in 2015. Besides tariff reductions, Russia could consider lowering non-tariff measures (NTMs) and enhancing trade facilitation, which can also contribute to better access to intermediate goods of exporting firms, as suggested by our IV results. As can be seen from figure 2, NTMs have increased sharply since Russia joined the WTO in 2012. It should be pointed out, however, that trade policies aimed at promoting imports of intermediate goods alone will not be sufficient to boost non-oil export growth and export competitiveness of Russian firms. To bring the desired success, they need to be combined with a range of other important policies, including improving access of Russian exporters to foreign markets and simplifying the existing export regulation, as well as comprehensive structural reforms and measures to improve the business environment.
As a European liberal and free-trade advocate, it has become quite entertaining to skim through social media, opinion pages, or listen to conversations about the latest tariffs imposed by the U.S. administration. One cannot help but wonder why a large fraction of Europeans, who just three years ago where protesting on the streets across all major European cities against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the infamous U.S. chlorinated chicken, are now the ones running their mouth about how “ignorant,” “stupid,” and “dangerous” Donald J. Trump’s decision to impose steel tariffs is. Surely, a lot of this has to be attributed to the very person associated with the tariff. It seems unlikely that people who regularly blame “neo-liberal” politics for the demise of literally everything are now in favor of a liberal stance on free trade and see a trade war as a threat to the welfare of the world.
Whatever one’s personal opinion about the 45th President of the United States is, we should acknowledge one thing: He is not alone in putting up trade barriers. Contrary to recent common belief, it’s not only Donald Trump who’s the biggest threat to increased welfare through global trade but also Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. If you counted the latter, you already know where this is going: G20.
A recent policy brief addressed to the G20 members and their policymakers by Evenett et al. (2018) shows this clearly. The policy brief states that over 6,000 interventions introduced by G20 members since the crises of 2009 that harm commercial interests are still in force. This is quite remarkable given the responses of the G7 members to the refusal of the United States to stand behind a common declaration of the recent sitting condemning protectionism. Moreover, it is in direct contradiction to the G20 summit declaration of 2008 and 2009, which posits that the G20 governments reject protectionism.
Further, the policy brief holds some uncomfortable truths for free-trade advocates as well as for globalization critiques. The former might be surprised by the extent to which trade barriers have grown since 2009, whereas the latter might be dazed by the consequences these barriers have on the least developed countries (LDCs).
Since the Great Recession and the financial crises of the late 2000s, trade barriers have risen sharply. Data gathered by Global Trader Alert, which has the most comprehensive coverage of all types of trade-discriminatory measures according to the IMF, indicates that a total of 200-250 new policies that harm foreign commercial interests have been implemented each quarter by G20 governments since November 2008. This amounts to a staggering 6,842 distortions to global commerce. It is imperative to emphasize that only 34% of them were outright import and export restrictions that a non-economist would normally think of when asked about trade barriers. Almost half of the trade distortions involve some type of state aid (e.g. subsidies, export incentives, and the like). Figure 2 of Evenett et al. (2018) summarizes this trend in the state of trade distortions by G20 members.
Notwithstanding, the picture of who imposes trade distortions is quite heterogeneous. Figure 3 of Evenett et al. (2018) gives an impressive graphical presentation of the reciprocal nature of the trade distortions of G20 members vis-á-vis each other. The heat map also unmasks one of Trumps notorious lies, or ignorance, i.e. that the United States is the “fair player” in global trade and that the world is cheating them. From the figure it is evident that since 2009 the U.S. has established a high number of protectionist measures across all G20 member countries, whereas only Germany, India, and Russia seem to have the same level of reciprocal measures against the U.S.. Poster children of free trade are emerging market economies like Turkey and South Africa, whereas the long-standing free-trade advocate United Kingdom is only somewhere in the upper third of free-traders. Unsurprisingly, the country which suffers the least from protectionist measures is Saudi Arabia, given its status as the world’s largest oil producer.
Using fine-grained UN trade data, the authors are able to identify to what extent these distortionary measures are affecting the export of goods of G20 members:
The percentage of G20 goods exports facing harmful policy acts has risen from 40% in 2009 to 80% in the first quarter of 2018.
Close to 9% of G20 goods exports compete in foreign markets where import tariffs have been raised.
Just under 19% of G20 exports compete in foreign markets against subsidies or bailed out domestic firms.
75% of G20 exports now compete in foreign markets against foreign rivals that are eligible for some sort of state export incentive (mostly through incentives in the national tax systems).
79% of LDC’s goods export compete in foreign markets against trade distortions implemented by G20 countries.
Where the final point should be emphasized. The trade distortions that LDCs face in exporting to G20 countries are also present in the competition on third country markets, further limiting the growth and development prospects of the poorest of the poor. Moreover, if the developed countries go ahead with this kind of policy and less developed countries adapt to this new state of the world by imposing trade distortions, we might end up in a bad equilibrium where less developed countries are excluded from global value chains.
We actually see this already happening. In the wake of the financial crises, the U.S. whipped up a massive fiscal stimulus to help their economy (and ours!) recover. However, the stimulus package had a provision that demanded that public procurement should buy national, effectively putting up a huge barrier to import goods. Figure 4 of Evenett et al. (2018) shows how fast this idea spread around the world. Almost all of the other G20 countries followed suit and so did some developing countries. Policymakers might think this kind of procurement provision helps their national industries, however, they have to take into account that it also might have a negative effect on the government budget through higher prices, because domestic producers do not face international competition.
If we want globalization and trade to be inclusive and lead to sustainable growth and development even in the least fortunate parts of the world, we must acknowledge that the trade barriers the G20 put in place are detrimental to this effort.
The policy brief by Evenett et al. (which includes two proposals to reverse the dangerous path we are on) can be obtained here.
Simon J. Evenett is Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and Co-Director of the CEPR Programme in International Trade and Regional Economics. He gives Policy Lessons on the international trade systems to students in the ITFD programme.
We’ve just come across some articles written by several Barcelona GSE Alumni who are now Research Assistants and Economists at Caixabank Research in Barcelona. New articles are published each month on a range of topics.
Below is a list of all the alumni we found listed as article contributors, as well as their most recent publications in English (click each author to view his or her full list of articles in English, Catalan, and Spanish).
If you’re an alum and you’re also writing about Economics, let us know where we can find your stuff!
Gerard Arqué (Master’s in Macroeconomic Policy and Financial Markets ’09)
As we are already in the third term and the time to write the analysis for our Master’s project approaches steadily, I thought it might be a good idea to share some resources about (economic) academic writing I came across over the last years.
John Cochrane of U Chicago, known for his contributions to financial macroeconomics and his blog The Grumpy Economist, provides us with a concise yet comprehensive guide on how to write a paper:
The most comprehensive guide on how to write economics I have come across during my undergraduate is by Robert Neugeboren and Mireille Jabocson of Harvard University. The guide outlines the economic approach, writing economically, the language of economic analysis, finding and researching your topic, as well as formatting and documentation.
Matthew Gentzkow (Stanford) and Jesse M. Shapiro (Brown) wrote a fantastic practitioner’s guide on how you should structure your code, why you should automate almost everything, and how important version control is. More general, the handbook is about translating insights from experts in code and data into practical terms for empirical social scientists. It’s a must-read for everyone working empirically.
A great resource on how to communicate your research using data visualization is given by Jonathan A. Schwabish of The Urban Institute. Schwabish is considered a leader in the data visualization field and is a leading voice for clarity and accessibility in research.
Economics is a very diverse field of social science with sub disciplines ranging from cultural economics, climate change economics, or sports economics to more traditional fields like trade theory or finance. A fascinating sub discipline, however, is economics itself.
In the following, I will give a brief summary of an interesting article recently published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. In this contribution the researchers employ econometrics methods and economic theory to examine their own ecosystem.
But why would economists be interested in conducting research about their own profession? Colander (1989, p.1) provides some insight:
“The economics profession is interesting to economists for a number of interrelated reasons:
(1) For prurient and professional interest: It is fun to know about oneself and one’s profession.
(2) As a case study: If economic theory is correct, it should apply to the economics profession. Since economists have firsthand knowledge of the economics profession and relatively easy access to data, it makes an excellent case study.
(3) Because one has an interest in the sociology of knowledge: Recent developments in methodology and philosophy of science have made a knowledge of the scientists an important aspect of a knowledge of science; they are the lens through which science is interpreted. Understanding the tendency of scientists to aim that lens in particular directions and to distort the reality they are studying is necessary if one is to interpret their analyses correctly.”
In the current issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP, Vol. 32, No. 1 – Winter 2018), Brogaard and company published an interesting contribution on the impact of tenure on research productivity. The authors examine whether the granting of tenure leads faculty to change their research and publishing behavior by using a sample of all academics who pass through top 50 U.S. economics and finance departments from 1996 through 2014. By using the extreme tails of ex-post citations as a measure of risk-taking in research, they find that both output of research and quality of output peak at the point where tenure is granted and decline thereafter. However, the opposite patterns hold true for the weak end of the tails with rising numbers after tenure. Using a subsample of academics at top 10 U.S. departments, the authors are able to show similar outcomes.
To obtain their results, the authors hand-collect a sample of employment and publishing data of academics at top 50 economics and finance departments in the United States. The sample encompasses the years from 1996 through 2014 and contains a total of 2,763 names, of whom 2,092 are eventually tenured at some point prior to 2014. Brogaard et al. (2018) consider two variables in the years before and after being granted tenure: the total number of publications, which serves as a measure of output; and the number of “home run” publications, meaning highly influential writings, as a measure of quality. By matching these names to publications in the 51 leadings journals in finance and economics, the authors are able to obtain their measure of output. The measure of quality, “home runs”, is defined as publications among the 10 percent’s most cited of all papers published in a given year.
Their findings indicate that both variables peak at the time tenure is granted and decline thereafter. The average output of annual publications by just tenured academics in economics declines by approximately 30 percent over the two subsequent years and further falls by an additional 15 percent over the next eight years. The average number of “home run’s” also falls by 30 percent over the two years after being granted tenure. Moreover, in the subsequent eight years it drops by another 35 percent. Given these findings, the authors calculate that the likelihood of a given publication to receive “home run” status declines by approximately 25 percent during the ten years following tenure.
Given their results, the authors set out to test different explanations which could have effects on the quantity and quality of tenured academics. Among those are:
Age effects the ability to produce top-rate tenure
Rise in non-research related work which is associated with becoming tenured
Tenured academics might branch out into our (sub) disciplines
Truly novel research may need time to gain momentum
Some schools may have poor tenure contracting
However, the authors test for those and claim that none of the explanations above seem likely given the data.
Brogaard et al. (2018) suggest two explanations which fit their general results: On the one hand, the decline in publication rates is coherent with the idea that tenure is granted once an academic has proven her merit through publishing success. On the other, tenure might reduce risk-taking behavior which leads to lower quality output. Overall, their findings indicate that “tenure is not providing incentives to undertake research in the same quantity and quality that led up to the tenure decision.” (p. 181).
In their conclusion the authors hasten to clarify that “[t]his paper should not be read as an indictment of the institution of tenure” (p. 192) as they only consider one aspect of tenure. Moreover, their work focusses on economics and finance only and cannot be generalized to other fields. However, they believe that their findings raise some practical questions for economic academia and it’s institutions (p.193):
“For economists, the findings suggest that they should be wary of allocating their research time in a way that seems likely to lead to low-impact papers, and instead consider if there is a way for them to continue their earlier research efforts—at least in terms of quality, if not necessarily in quantity. When making a tenure decision, departments of economics and their home institutions should be aware that the research productivity of the person receiving tenure is likely to decline, in both quantity and quality terms, over the following decade. Thus, institutions should consider whether there are methods to sustain (or at least not to impede) high-quality research efforts.”
The paper is available as a PDF using this link to the AEA website:
Colander, David. 1989. “Research on the Economics Profession.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 3(4): 137-148.
Brogaard, Jonathan, Joseph Engelberg, and Edward Van Wesep. 2018. “Do Economists Swing for the Fences after Tenure?” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 32(1): 179-94.
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