How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang

5 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2014

See all articles by Alexandre Afonso

Alexandre Afonso

King's College London - Department of Political Economy; Leiden University

Date Written: March 11, 2014


Academic systems rely on the existence of a supply of “outsiders” ready to forgo wages and employment security in exchange for the prospect of uncertain security, prestige, freedom and reasonably high salaries that tenured positions entail. Drawing on data from the US, Germany and the UK, this paper looks at how the academic job market is structured in many respects like a drug gang, with an expanding mass of outsiders and a shrinking core of insiders.

Keywords: academia, labor market, higher education, universities, drug gangs

JEL Classification: I23, J01

Suggested Citation

Afonso, Alexandre and Afonso, Alexandre, How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang (March 11, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Alexandre Afonso (Contact Author)

Leiden University ( email )

Postbus 9500
Leiden, Zuid Holland 2300 RA

King's College London - Department of Political Economy

Strand Campus
Aldych 46
London, WCB 4LL
United Kingdom


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