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Merit and placement in the American faculty hierarchy: Cumulative advantage in archaeology


ABSTRACT: If faculty placement in the American academic hierarchy is by merit, then it correlates with scholarly productivity at all career stages. Recently developed data-collection methods and bibliometric measures test this proposition in a cross-sectional sample of US academic archaeologists. Precocity—productivity near the point of initial hire—fails to distinguish faculty in MA- and PhD-granting programs or among ranked subsets of PhD programs. Over longer careers, on average archaeologists in PhD-granting programs outperform colleagues in lower programs, as do those in higher-ranked compared to lower-ranked PhD programs, all in the practical absence of mobility via recruitment to higher placement. Yet differences by program level lie mostly in the tails of productivity distributions; overlap between program levels is high, and many in lower-degree programs outperform many PhD-program faculty even when controlling for career length. Results implicate cumulative advantage to explain the pattern and suggest particularism as its cause.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC8803199 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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