The Role of Connections in Academic Promotions

38 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2012 Last revised: 16 Oct 2014

See all articles by Natalia Zinovyeva

Natalia Zinovyeva

Aalto University

Manuel Bagues

Aalto University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 22, 2014


This paper analyzes how evaluators' private information and subjective biases affect promotion decisions in academia. We exploit evidence from centralized evaluations in Spain, where evaluators are randomly assigned to promotion committees. Candidates are significantly more likely to be promoted when they are evaluated by an acquainted evaluator, but the source of the premium depends on the nature of this relationship. Our findings suggest that, when candidates are evaluated by their Ph.D. advisor, a colleague or a co-author, evaluation biases dominate the potential impact of informational gains. On the contrary, weaker links may improve the efficiency of the selection process.

Keywords: academic promotion, connections, information asymmetry

JEL Classification: J44, M51

Suggested Citation

Zinovyeva, Natalia and Bagues, Manuel F., The Role of Connections in Academic Promotions (January 22, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Natalia Zinovyeva (Contact Author)

Aalto University ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
Helsinki, 00101

Manuel F. Bagues

Aalto University - Department of Economics ( email )

PO Box 1210
FI-00101 Helsinki


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