Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Multi-Tasking vs. Screening: A Model of Academic Tenure

Kou, Zonglai and Zhou, Min (2009): Multi-Tasking vs. Screening: A Model of Academic Tenure.

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The paper develops a model of academic tenure based on multi-tasking and screening. A professor has two tasks, researching and teaching. We assume that researching performance is easy to measure but teaching performance is immeasurable. Then Holmtrom and Milgrom's (1991) classical muli-task principal-agent model implies that the only way for the the university to "incentivize" teaching activity is decreasing the incentive power to researching activity. This justifies the low-powered contract to tenured professors. However, with low-powered contract, the university will face serious informational problem in the process of enrollment, either transferring rents to the candidates with low ability if the wage level is high, or suffering from the potential occupational vacancy if the wage level is low. To this dilemma, the up-or-out contract is a possible solution.

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