IS THERE AN INSIDER ADVANTAGE IN GETTING TENURE?

by Paul Oyer

AER Papers & Proceedings, 97, May 2007, 501-505.

ABSTRACT

Conventional wisdom in academic circles suggests that it is easier to get tenure as an insider than it is to attract an offer as an outsider. In this paper, I take a first step towards showing that, at least for academic economists, there is an insider advantage. I analyze the research records of economists with ten years of experience and compare the productivity of those who recently changed employers (suggesting they were hired with tenure) to those that did not (suggesting internal promotion.) I show that the productivity of “outsiders” is higher than the productivity of “insiders” at all but the top 10 economics institutions in the world. The economic significance of the estimates is substantial, but the statistical precision suggests that more work is required to draw strong conclusions.