nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2006‒03‒05
five papers chosen by
Jonas Holmstrom
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. Surveying University Student Standards in Economics By Peter Abelson
  2. Estimation of Cost Efficiency of Australian Universities By Jocelyn Horne; Baiding Hu
  3. Is Team Formation Gender Neutral? Evidence from Coauthorship Patterns By Boschini, Anne; Sjögren, Anna
  4. Economists and uncertainty By John Quiggin; Robert G. Chambers
  5. Labour Mobility of Academic Inventors. Career Decision and Knowledge Transfer By Gustavo A. Crespi; Aldo Geuna; Lionel J. J. Nesta

  1. By: Peter Abelson (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)
    Abstract: In late 2003 and early 2004 the Economic Society of Australia surveyed the Heads of Economics Departments in Australia to determine their views on three main issues: student standards, major factors affecting these standards, and policy implications. This paper describes the main results of the survey, reviews the conduct and value of this kind of survey, and discusses policy implications for economics in universities. Most respondents considered that student standards have declined and that the main causes include lower entry standards, high student-staff ratios, and a declining culture of study. However some respondents argued that standards are multi-dimensional and that people may properly attach different weights to different attributes. Strong processes assuring anonymity to respondents minimized strategic responses, but may not have eliminated them entirely. However, these views are based largely on experience rather than evidence and a major finding of this paper is the need for more evidence on standards and on the factors that influence them. Most respondents favour a decentralised university-based approach to dealing with these issues, contending that centralised accreditation is inappropriate and that market forces would promote quality issues. In the writer's view, externally set and assessed exams as part of university examination procedures would lift standards and send out improved market signals.
    Keywords: Universities, Education standards
    JEL: A20
    Date: 2005–01
  2. By: Jocelyn Horne (Department of Economics, Macquarie University); Baiding Hu (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to quantify the efficiency with which Australian universities utilise their teaching resources. The study estimates the cost efficiency of 36 universities over the period 1995-2002 using stochastic frontier analysis. The present study differs from previous cost and efficiency studies of Australian universities in two respects. First, it employs stochastic frontier analysis for the specification of a cost function for Australian universities which allows for the estimation of cost efficiency for each university under study. Second, a panel data set is utilised in the estimation of the cost function which enables not only comparisons of cost efficiency between universities but also an econometric testing of the assumption of an identical cost function for every university. The main finding is that universities are not operating efficiently as measured by cost efficiency and in relative terms. An efficiency ranking is derived and policy inferences are discussed.
    Keywords: Cost efficiency, stochastic frontier analysis, higher education
    JEL: C23 I20
    Date: 2005–03
  3. By: Boschini, Anne (Stockholm University); Sjögren, Anna (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)
    Abstract: We investigate if voluntary team formation is gender neutral. To this end, we model team formation as a random matching process influenced by the agents' preferences for team size and gender composition and derive how team formation depends on the gender ratio in the population of prospective team mates. We then test if the coauthorship pattern in articles published 1991-2002 in three top Economics journals is gender neutral, exploiting the variation in female presence across subfields of Economics. Our main finding is that gender sorting in coauthorship increases in the presence of women. In particular, we find that the gender gap in the propensity to coauthor with a woman increases in the presence of women in the subfield. We also find that women single author significantly more than men. These findings allow us to reject gender neutrality in team formation.
    Keywords: Team Formation; Gender Sorting; Coauthorship Patterns
    JEL: A14 J16 J41 M50
    Date: 2006–01–24
  4. By: John Quiggin (Department of Economics, University of Queensland); Robert G. Chambers (Dept of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland, College Park)
    Date: 2005–04
  5. By: Gustavo A. Crespi (SPRU, University of Sussex); Aldo Geuna (SPRU, University of Sussex); Lionel J. J. Nesta (Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE))
    Abstract: This paper focuses on university inventors mobility in the EU countries. It is the first quantitative assessment of this phenomenon and is the basis for a set of econometric models that try to explain how different factors affect the mobility of academics and their choices: to stay, to move to the private sector, to move to a different public research organisation (including another university). Mobility away from academia is a significant phenomenon, at least for the sub-sample of university researchers that hold patents from the European Patent Office. Among other results, the econometric models provide some evidence that the more valuable the patent the higher the probability of a move to a company. We found that the younger researchers (with less experience and less seniority) are more likely to move, and tend to move soon after the application or the granting of a patent . Also, the more cumulative (or incremental) the knowledge, the higher the probability of moving to a company. Finally, in all models developed scientific and technological output and scientific quality seem not to have any impact (neither positive nor negative) on the mobility of academic inventors. These results are interpreted in the framework that combines aspects of career mobility and technology transfer.
    Keywords: university patenting, labour mobility, technology transfer, tacit knowledge, European universities
    JEL: O3 I28 J6
    Date: 2006–02–27

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