Economists' Preferences Over The Characteristics of Academic Positions
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From April 2002 to February 2003 a choice- experiment survey was offered to all tenured and tenure-track economics professors at the "Top 50" United States economics departments. The survey was designed to collect information on preferences over academic positions. In addition, a great deal of information was collected on the characteristics of the individuals and their departments, including salary, teaching load, and research output.

From this page, you can view the answers to each survey question, broken down by a number of characteristics, including professorial rank, departmental rank, and gender.

You can also view summary statistics on salary data and departmental rank as well as learn more about the study methodology.

Thank you to the 666 faculty who participated in the survey and to the 32 department chairs who participated in the salary survey. Individual salary data was obtained for 23 departments from public records.

Research papers using this data will be posted as they become available.


Research Team:

Edward Morey, Professor of Economics, University of Colorado

Jennifer Thacher, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of New Mexico

Luke Rodgers, Economist, Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, State of Colorado

Summary of Data Collection:

  • Name, academic rank, school, and email address were collected for every faculty member in the "Top 50" departments.
  • Actual salary data was collected for all individuals where this information was available in the public record. This data was used to individualize the choice questions.
  • Department chairs were surveyed to obtain average salary by academic rank and department. This data supplements the individual salary data.
  • The largest component of the collected data is from individualized choice-questions. Each respondent answered a set of five, pair-wise choice questions: "would you prefer Department A with its characteristics or Department B with its characteristics". Characteristics included the department's overall rank, rank in the respondent's field, teaching load, the frequency of seminars, the respondent's salary, and the average salary in the department for the individual's rank (associate and full). So obtaining tenure would not be an issue, assistant professors were asked to answer assuming they had tenure. After each choice question, the respondent was asked whether he prefered his current position or the alternative just chosen.
  • For puposes of sampling, the Top 50 were then allocated into three representative waves and an initial design was created for the sets of choice pairs.
  • A link to an online, individualized survey was then emailed to all of the faculty members in the first wave.
  • A simple logit-choice model was estimated based on the data from the first wave. The parameter estimates from this simple model were used to refine the choice-pair design.
  • The second wave was sampled and the simple logit-choice model was re-estimated with the data from the first two waves. Again the parameter estimates were used to refine the choice-pair design.
  • Finally, the third wave was sampled.
View Results:
Criteria for selecting the Top 50 U.S. Departments
Summary statistics on individual salary data in the public record
Summary statistics on average salary by rank and department
View Choice Question Survey and Results

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Last Update: 04-05-04, visitors since March 1, 2004