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Path to success: an analysis of US educated elite academics in the United States

Tolga Yuret

Scientometrics, 2018, vol. 117, issue 1, 105-121

Abstract: Abstract Few academics go on to become professors at prestigious universities. Candidates must have a very strong educational background in addition to demonstrating a high level of effort and academic ability. We analyze the educational backgrounds of elite academics with two main objectives. First, we evaluate the educational institutions in terms of the number of graduates who have become professors at prestigious universities. Second, we analyze the professor’s path to success to shed light on issues such as mobility and inbreeding. We analyze the educational backgrounds of 14,310 full professors from 48 top universities in the United States. We confine our analysis to undergraduate and graduate degrees attained within the United States. Some of our main findings are as follows: (a) 72% (44%) of the professors obtained their Ph.D. (undergraduate) degrees from 20 universities. (b) The top 17 universities with the highest number of Ph.D. alumni who became professors at prestigious universities were also among the top 20 universities with the highest number of undergraduate alumni who became professors at prestigious universities. (c) 70% of the professors who work at private universities obtained their degrees from private universities, whereas only half of the professors who work at public universities obtained their degrees from public universities. (d) Only 16% of the professors live in the same state in which they obtained their undergraduate degrees, which indicates a much higher mobility than the average graduate degree holder. (e) Only 4% of the professors work at the universities from which they graduated. (f) Professors graduate significantly faster than the median Ph.D. graduate.

Keywords: Academic rankings; Inbreeding; Financing of education; Labor mobility; Time to graduate (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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