Drifting on the Academic Highway: Experimental Evidence from a Transition to University

Yotam Sofer, Olof Ejermo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


We examine the effects of the 1999 transition to full university of three former Swedish university colleges: Karlstad, Örebro, and Växjö on scientific output. This change was accompanied by a substantial increase in research funding. Scrutiny of the process reveals that the transition was far from obvious, allowing us to analyze the impact of increased research resources in a quasi-experimental setting. We examine how publications responded when research resources were raised from low levels. We then probe into the consequences on the individual level to understand the difference in gains between staff groups. This work differs from earlier research which has mostly looked at the effects of increases in research funding on established universities or individuals who win research grants. To understand how the transition impacted publication, we use an individual-level publication activity dataset, linked to Swedish register data and university staff registers. We contrast the three treated institutions against a similar group of university colleges that did not become universities in a difference-in-differences analysis combined with matching. We find that treated individual increased their publication rates by 89% per year following the transition. However, we cannot discern any changes in the rate at which publications were cited. On the field level, we show that this effect was mostly explained by increased funding. Additionally, we explore the heterogeneity of treatment effects, potential mechanisms (collaboration, workforce dynamics), and management strategies (using a survey).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-third Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonia Taneja
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2023
Article number12468
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2023: Putting the Worker Front and Center - Boston, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20238 Aug 2023
Conference number: 83


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings

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