When Colleges Graduate: Micro-level Effects on Publications and Scientific Organization

Olof Ejermo*, Yotam Sofer

*Corresponding author for this work

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We examine the change in status of three Swedish colleges to universities in 1999. This change greatly expanded the inflow of resources in the form of basic funding to the new universities. Using detailed individual data, we follow the careers of staff employed before 1999 at the treated institutions, examining their scientific performance, promotion, affiliation, and coauthorship behavior after the transition to university and comparing them to that of matched sample researchers at control colleges in a difference-in-differences analysis. We find an 89 percent increase in publication by publishing academics, an effect driven by increased funding. But we do not find an increased likelihood of publishing. Publication activity is concentrated among men, those working in technical sciences, and those holding research positions. The change to a university also led to a shift toward research-enhancing practices and organizations, manifested in coauthorship patterns, affiliations, and workforce composition. These changes altogether, enabled the new universities to begin converging in terms of research productivity to the level of established universities. Our results indicate that additional resources to institutions that historically received insufficient investment unlocked the research potential of aspiring researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105007
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number6
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024


  • Science funding
  • Scientific knowledge production
  • University status

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