Does Raiding Explain the Negative Returns to Faculty Seniority?
Bratsberg, Bernt, James F. Ragan, Jr., and John T. Warren
We track faculty for thirty years at five Ph.D.-granting departments of economics. Two-thirds of faculty who take alternative employment move downward; less than one-quarter moves upward. We find a substantial penalty for seniority, even after richly controlling for faculty productivity, and the penalty is little changed when we allow wages and returns to seniority to differ by mobility status. Faculty who end up moving to better or comparable positions are penalized as severely for seniority while they were in our sample as faculty who stay. These results are incompatible with the raiding hypothesis. Faculty from top-ten programs are also punished for seniority but to a lesser degree than other faculty, which could reflect reduced monopsony power against such faculty if they are more marketable. All results persist when we control for prospective publications and allow lower returns for older publications. Match-quality bias has dissipated in the post-internet period, which may be the consequence of greater availability of information.