Envejecimiento y productividad científica individual: evidencia empírica para el profesorado de economía y empresa en Cataluña

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


The future prospects of academics in Spain, as in other developed countries of the OECD, point to ageing. In this context, there is a concern about whether universities will be able to continue contributing to research and innovation as they have done until now. Economic models, as well as internationally available empirical evidence, indicate that individual scientific productivity exhibits an inverted U-shaped relationship with experience, leading to lower productivity in the final stages of academic careers. This work consists of five chapters. The first deals with the design of institutional incentives to promote the scientific productivity of academics in Spain and Catalonia. Between 2001 and 2015, publications in indexed scientific journals have been become the central element of academic careers, especially if initiated after the year 2000. The second chapter shows that, in the context of universities in Spain and Catalonia, the explanatory models of individual scientific productivity offer different results if they use experience or, alternatively, age and doctoral age as explanatory variables. A sample extracted from the Survey of Human Resources of Science and Technology 2009 is used. It is a consequence of differences in the doctoral age of individuals. In addition, the results suggest that the doctorates later in life have lower scientific productivity than the others. The third chapter describes the scientific production between 2001 and 2015 in Econlit of the public universities in Catalonia using an original database. It also establishes individual rankings in different subperiods. It is noteworthy that only one-third of the academics during the 2014/15 academic year have publications in this period. In addition the positions of the individual rankings of scientific productivity are relatively stable over time, suggesting the persistence of productivity of the most productive researchers. The fourth chapter evaluates the impact of academic promotion on individual scientific productivity of academics in the short term. An original database of academics in the Departments of Economics and Business of the public universities in Catalonia between 2001 and 2011 is used. Initially, the differences-in-differences method is used, but considering selection bias, the propensity score matching is preferred. It is concluded that academic promotion does not reduce scientific productivity in the short term. The fifth chapter addresses the analysis of individual scientific productivity over the life. An original database of tenured academics in the Departments of Economics and Business in the public universities in Catalonia for the 2014/15 academic year is used. The results hold that individual scientific productivity exhibits an inverted U-shaped relationship over the experience. They also suggest that legislative changes over the past two decades have influenced academics behavior. This effect is observed at the beginning of academic careers, especially in the younger generation cohorts. These exhibit higher initial scientific productivity and more life-cycle behavior than their predecessor cohorts. In short, the work constitutes an empirical basis for the design of university policies aimed at improving the scientific productivity of academics in a context marked by their ageing.
Date of Award19 Jul 2017
Original languageSpanish
SupervisorJose Luis Raymond Bara (Director)


  • Life cycle models
  • Promotions
  • Labor productivity

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