Monday, February 4, 2019
Michael Simkovic (USC), Raising Tenure Standards Is No Free Lunch:
Brian Leiter and Paul Caron both recently noted a study by Adam Chilton, Jonathan Masur, and Kyle Rozema which argues that law schools can increase average faculty productivity by making it harder for tenure track faculty to get tenure. While this seems plausible, denying tenure more often is no free lunch.
A highly regarded study by Ron Ehrenberg (published in the Review of Economics and Statistics) found that professors place a high monetary value on tenure, and a university that unilaterally eliminated tenure would either have to pay more in salary and bonus or suffer a loss in faculty quality. After controlling for faculty quality, university rank, and cost of living, university economics departments that are less likely to offer faculty tenure must pay untenured faculty more, in part to compensate for increased risk. Reduced tenure rates is associated with higher productivity, but it is costly. ...
Unless a law school has a large pot of money ready to increase faculty compensation, increasing tenure denial rates is risky business.
Brian Leiter (Chicago), On the Costs of Denying Tenure:
In almost all other fields, elite departments deny tenure at much higher rates than in law, where 95% get tenure according to Professors Chilton et al. By contrast, in other fields, rates of tenure appear to hover around 25%, maybe a bit higher. Somehow all these other fields have pulled this off; the interesting question is what's holding law back?