Researchers’ Mobility and its Impact on Scientific Productivity

University of Turin Working paper No. 13/2013

37 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2013 Last revised: 15 Mar 2015

See all articles by Ana Fernandez-Zubieta

Ana Fernandez-Zubieta

Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA)

Aldo Geuna

University of Torino - Department Cultures, Politics and Society

Cornelia Lawson

University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School

Date Written: December 17, 2013

Abstract

This article analyses the impact of mobility on researchers’ performance. We develop a theoretical framework based on the job-matching approach and the idea that research productivity is driven by the availability of capital equipment (and human capital) for research, and peer effects. The empirical analysis studies the careers of a sample of 171 UK academic researchers, spanning 1957 to 2005. On the basis of a unique ranking of UK institutions that we were able to construct for the period 1982 to 2005, we develop an econometric analysis of the impact of job changes on post mobility performance over five-years, and the overall effect of mobility. Contrary to the assumptions underpinning most policy actions in this area, we find no evidence that mobility per se increases academic performance. Mobility to ‘better’ departments has a positive weakly significant impact, while downward mobility reduces researchers’ productivity (in quantity and quality). Mobility is associated with a short-term decrease in performance arguably or most likely due to associated adjustment costs.

Keywords: Academic labour market, Research productivity, Researcher mobility

JEL Classification: O31, I23, J24

Suggested Citation

Fernandez-Zubieta, Ana and Geuna, Aldo and Lawson, Cornelia, Researchers’ Mobility and its Impact on Scientific Productivity (December 17, 2013). University of Turin Working paper No. 13/2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2244760 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2244760

Ana Fernandez-Zubieta

Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA) ( email )

C/ Campo Santo de los Mártires, 7
Córdoba, Córdoba 14004
Spain

Aldo Geuna

University of Torino - Department Cultures, Politics and Society ( email )

Lungo Dora Siena 100 A
Torino, 10153
Italy

Cornelia Lawson (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School ( email )

Booth Street West
Manchester, M15 6PB
United Kingdom

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