Negative Returns to Seniority: New Evidence in Academic Markets

Posted: 28 Apr 2003

See all articles by Bernt Bratsberg

Bernt Bratsberg

Kansas State University - Department of Economics; University of Oslo - Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research

James F. Ragan

Kansas State University - Department of Economics

John T. Warren

Kansas State University - Department of Economics

Abstract

Recent research has suggested that the long-observed negative association between seniority and pay among college faculty largely reflects below-average research productivity of senior faculty - a possibility that most earlier studies did not examine. Overlooked in both waves of studies, however, is match quality. Because the higher quality of the faculty/institutional match implied by higher seniority should, all else equal, result in higher salaries, failure to account for match quality inflates the estimated returns to seniority. Indeed, that positive bias, the authors find, is roughly equal in magnitude to the negative bias caused by failure to account for research quantity and quality. When they account for both match quality and faculty research productivity in an analysis of data on economics faculty at five research universities over a 21-year period, the authors estimate that, holding experience and other factors constant, the penalty for twenty years of seniority is 16% of salary.

Keywords: seniority and pay, faculty seniority, faculty salaries, match quality, faculty research productivity

JEL Classification: J3

Suggested Citation

Bratsberg, Bernt and Ragan, James F. and Warren, John T., Negative Returns to Seniority: New Evidence in Academic Markets. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=384962

Bernt Bratsberg

Kansas State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Manhattan, KS 66502-4001
United States

University of Oslo - Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research

Gaustadalleen 21
N-0349 Oslo
Norway

James F. Ragan (Contact Author)

Kansas State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Manhattan, KS 66502-4001
United States

John T. Warren

Kansas State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Waters Hall 246
Manhattan, KS 66506-4001
United States

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