Studying Ourselves: The Academic Labor Market

33 Pages Posted: 30 May 2002 Last revised: 2 Mar 2015

See all articles by Ronald G. Ehrenberg

Ronald G. Ehrenberg

ILR-Cornell University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: May 2002


This paper addresses three academic labor market issues; the declining salaries of faculty employed at public colleges and universities relative to their private institution counterparts, the growing dispersion of average faculty salaries across academic institutions within both the public and private sectors, and the impacts of the growing importance and costs of science on the academic labor market and universities. The decline in the salaries of faculty in public institutions relative to their private sector counterparts is attributed primarily to private institutions' tuition levels rising by more in real terms than public institutions' tuition levels. The growing dispersion in average faculty salaries across institutions within each sector is attributed primarily to the growing disperion of endowmentper student levels across private institutions and the growing dispersion of state appropriations per student across public institutions. Finally, controlling for other factors, those universities whose real research expenditures per faculty from institutional funds are growing the most experience the greatest increase in their student/faculty ratio, other variables held constant.

Suggested Citation

Ehrenberg, Ronald G., Studying Ourselves: The Academic Labor Market (May 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w8965. Available at SSRN:

Ronald G. Ehrenberg (Contact Author)

ILR-Cornell University ( email )

Higher Education Research Institute
Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
United States
607-255-3026 (Phone)
607-255-4496 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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