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Quasi-experimental analyses of academic mobility policies

Time period: 2019-2022
Financing: National Science Centre
EUROREG research team: Adam Płoszaj

The topic of the proposed study is international mobility of researchers. The ongoing globalization and increasing internationalization of science both stimulate the growing academic mobility and result from it. Academic mobility is also an aspect of a broader phenomenon of global human capital migration. Consequently, the academic mobility phenomenon is essential not only for academic policy but also for other public policies, including socio-economic development policies.

The topic of academic mobility has been widely discussed in scientific literature. The most frequently indicated positive effect of mobility is increase in productivity of researchers, i.e. more publications, greater quality of further research, establishing and strengthening collaboration, and transfer of knowledge. The vast majority of academic mobility analyses, however, are mostly descriptive. Even broad quantitative research includes mostly basic analyses of descriptive data and comparisons of average values of indices. Such an approach does not allow for obtaining solid conclusions concerning cause and effect, and particularly does not allow for assessing the extent to which the observed indicators result from mobility and not from other characteristics of the subjects (age, gender, abilities, etc.) and their environment.

The proposed project responds to the limitations of the aforementioned research. Data analysis will be conducted within the quasi-experimental perspective. Mobile researchers and non-mobile researchers will be compared using advanced statistical methods (regression discontinuity design, difference-in-differences and propensity score matching). The main quantitative analyses within the project will be based on large microdata sets: information about around 3 million researchers and dozen million publications. Additionally, there will be detailed case study analyses presented for selected programmes supporting academic mobility.