Life-Cycle, Effort and Academic Inactivity
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It has been observed that university professors sometimes become less research active in their later years. This paper models the decision to become inactive as a utility maximising problem under conditions of uncertainty and derives an age-dependent activity condition for the level of research productivity. The model implies that professors who are close to retirement age are more likely to become inactive when faced with setbacks in their research while those who continue research do not lower their activity levels. Using data from the University of Iceland, we find support for the model’s predictions. The model suggests that universities should induce their older faculty to remain research active by striving to make their research more productive and enjoyable, maintaining peer pressure, reducing job security and offering higher performance related pay.