nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2019‒01‒28
two papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. Scientific Output of US and European Universities Scales Super-Linearly with Resources By Benedetto Lepori; Aldo Geuna; Antonietta Mira
  2. Are Professors Worth It? The Value-added and Costs of Tutorial Instructors By Feld, Jan; Salamanca, Nicolas; Zölitz, Ulf

  1. By: Benedetto Lepori (Universitá della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland.); Aldo Geuna (University of Turin; BRICK, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Italy.); Antonietta Mira (Universitá della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland.)
    Abstract: By using a comprehensive dataset of US and European universities, we demonstrate super-linear scaling between university revenues and their volume of publications and citations. We show that this relationship holds both in the US and in Europe. In terms of resources, our data show that three characteristics differentiate the US system: (1) a significantly higher level of resources for the entire system, (2) a clearer distinction between education-oriented institutions and doctoral universities and (3) a higher concentration of resources among doctoral universities. Accordingly, a group of US universities receive a much larger amount of resources and have a far higher number of publications and especially citations when compared to their European counterparts. These results demonstrate empirically the pervasiveness of a social order where financial resources are tightly coupled with a measure of ‘excellence’ associated with international rankings and, additionally, where the widely accepted measures of ‘excellence’ in reality ‘prime’ resources. They therefore raise important questions for policy-making and for the management of higher education institutions.
    Keywords: Social Sciences, Economic Sciences
    Date: 2018–11
  2. By: Feld, Jan (Victoria University of Wellington); Salamanca, Nicolas (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research); Zölitz, Ulf (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: A substantial share of university instruction happens in tutorial sessions—small group instruction given parallel to lectures. In this paper, we study whether instructors with a higher academic rank teach tutorials more effectively in a setting where students are randomly assigned to tutorial groups. We find this to be largely not the case. Academic rank is unrelated to students' current and future performance and only weakly positively related to students' course evaluations. Building on these results, we discuss different staffing scenarios that show that universities can substantially reduce costs by increasingly relying on lower-ranked instructors for tutorial teaching.
    Keywords: teacher value-added, higher education, instructor rank
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2018–11

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