Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 13 No. 1 (Winter 1999)


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Tenure Issues in Higher Education

Article Citation

McPherson, Michael S., and Morton Owen Schapiro. 1999. "Tenure Issues in Higher Education." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 13(1): 85-98.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.13.1.85


The system of academic tenure has come under increasing scrutiny. The authors provide a brief review of the tenure literature, discuss some recent tenure controversies, and present basic data on the percentage of faculty subject to the tenure system. The issue of tenure is discussed in terms of how the authority necessary to run a college or university is delegated. The authors believe that this perspective sheds light on some underlying reasons for why tenure differs from other forms of labor contracting and on the reasons for the relative importance of the tenure system in different parts of higher education.

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McPherson, Michael S. (Macalester College)
Schapiro, Morton Owen (U Southern CA)

JEL Classifications

I21: Analysis of Education
J44: Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing


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