Studying Ourselves: The Academic Labor Market

Ronald G. Ehrenberg

NBER Working Paper No. 8965
Issued in May 2002
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8965

Published: Ehrenberg, Ronald G. "Studying Ourselves: The Academic Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, 2003, v21(2,Apr), 267-287.

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