Schmalenbach Business Review

, Volume 17, Issue 3–4, pp 401–421 | Cite as

Time to Go? (Inter)National Mobility and Appointment Success of Young Academics

  • Agnes BäkerEmail author
  • Susanne BreuningerEmail author
  • Julia MuschallikEmail author
  • Kerstin PullEmail author
  • Uschi Backes-GellnerEmail author
Original Article


We analyze whether and how young researchers’ (inter)national mobility affects their later appointment success. We use data on 330 researchers from business and economics in Germany, Austria and the German-speaking part of Switzerland and measure appointment success by (a) the time it takes a young researcher to get tenure and by (b) whether the researcher succeeded in getting tenure at a highly ranked institution. We find that international mobility is positively related to the likelihood of getting tenure at a highly ranked institution whereas pre-tenure national mobility is negatively related to both measures of appointment success. The latter effect stems from the period when post-doctoral pre-tenure national mobility was uncommon and created a negative stigma – an effect that vanishes after the introduction of Juniorprofessorships.


Academic Mobility Career Success Human Capital Social Capital Signaling 

JEL Classification

I23 J24 J6 



The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (program: “Wissenschaftsökonomie”, grant number: 01PW11008). The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research had no impact on study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data or the writing of the manuscript. We thank the associate editor and anonymous referee. Also, we are grateful for comments by the participants of the Ökonomisches Kolloqium at IAAEU in Trier 2012, the Fachtagung Innovation, Leistungsmessung und Anreizsysteme in Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft in Munich 2012, the 16th Colloquium on Personnel Economics (COPE) 2013, the 13th Annual Meeting of the European Academy of Management (EURAM) 2013, the 73rd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM) 2013, and the XV. Symposium zur Ökonomischen Analyse der Unternehmung (GEABA) 2014. Annika Dehn, Sebastian Kropp, Alessandra Lehmann, Yannick Monschauer, and Manuela Wösle provided excellent research assistance.


  1. Albers, Sönke. 2011. Esteem indicators: membership in editorial boards or honorary doctorates – discussion of “quantitative and qualitative rankings of scholars” by Rost and Frey. Schmalenbach Business Review 63(1):92–98.Google Scholar
  2. Backes-Gellner, Uschi. 2011. Rankings upon rankings – and no end in sight – discussion of “quantitative and qualitative rankings of scholars” by Rost and Frey. Schmalenbach Business Review 63(1):99–108.Google Scholar
  3. Bäker, Agnes. 2015. Non-tenured post-doctoral researchers’ job mobility and research output: an analysis of the role of research discipline, department size and coauthors. Research Policy 44(3):634–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bailyn, Lotte. 2003. Academic careers and gender equity: lessons learned from MIT. Gender, Work and Organization 10(2):137–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bedeian, Arthur G., David E. Cavazos, James G. Hunt, and Lawrence R. Jauch. 2010. Doctoral degree prestige and the academic marketplace: a study of career mobility within the management discipline. Academy of Management Learning & Education 9(1):11–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bolli, Thomas, and Jörg Schläpfer. 2015. Job mobility, peer effects, and research productivity in economics. Scientometrics 104(3):629–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chlosta, Kristin, and Kerstin Pull. 2010. The incentive effects of appointment tournaments in German higher education. Schmalenbach Business Review 62:378–400.Google Scholar
  8. Connelly, Brian L., S. Trevis Certo, R. Duane Ireland, and Christopher R. Reutzel. 2011. Signaling theory: a review and assessment. Journal of Management 37(1):39–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cox, David R. 1972. Regression models and life-tables. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B (Methodological) 34(2):187–220.Google Scholar
  10. Dickmann, Michael, and Harris Hilary. 2005. Developing career capital for global careers: the role of international assignments. Journal of World Business 40(4):399–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dickmann, Michael, Noeleen Doherty, Timothy Mills, and Chris Brewster. 2008. Why do they go? Individual and corporate perspectives on the factors influencing the decision to accept an international assignment. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 19(4):731–751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fernandez-Zubieta, Ana, Aldo Geuna, and Cornelia Lawson. 2015. Productivity pay-offs from academic mobility: should I stay or should I go? Industrial and Corporate Change 25(1):91–114. doi: 10.1093/icc/dtv034.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fiedler, Marina, and Isabell M. Welpe. 2008. If you don’t know what port you are sailing to, no wind is favourable. Appointment preferences of management professors. Schmalenbach Business Review 60(1):4–31.Google Scholar
  14. Fiedler, Marina, Isabell M. Welpe, Kathrin Lindlbauer, and Kathrin Sattler. 2008. Denn wer hat, dem wird gegeben: Publikationsproduktivität des BWL-Hochschullehrernachwuchses und deren wissenschaftlicher Betreuer. Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft 78(5):477–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fiedler, Marina, Isabell M. Welpe, and Arnold Picot. 2006. Terra Incognita. Forschungsleistung und Qualifizierungswege des deutschsprachigen Hochschullehrernachwuchses für Betriebswirtschaftslehre. Die Betriebswirtschaft 66(4):464–486.Google Scholar
  16. Fiedler, Marina, Isabell M. Welpe, and Arnold Picot. 2008. Young researchers in the field of management: assessing the relation between the work environment for creativity and job satisfaction, self-confidence, and publication productivity. Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft 58:91–113. Special Issue “Economics and Management of Education”.Google Scholar
  17. Franzoni, Chiara, Guiseppe Scellato, and Paula Stephan. 2014. The mover’s advantage: the superior performance of migrant scientists. Economics Letters 122(1):89–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Frey, Bruno S., and Katja Rost. 2010. Do rankings reflect research quality? Journal of Applied Economics 13(1):1–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fries-Britt, Sharon. 2000. Developing support networks and seeking answers to questions. In Succeeding in an academic career, ed. Mildred Garcia, 39–56. Westport: Greenwood.Google Scholar
  20. Heining, Jörg, Jürgen Jerger, and Jörg Lingens. 2007. Success in the academic labour market for economists – the german experience, working papers in business Nr. 422, University of Regensburg Google Scholar
  21. Joecks, Jasmin, Kerstin Pull, and Uschi Backes-Gellner. 2014. Childbearing and (female) research productivity: a personnel economics perspective on the leaky pipeline. Journal of Business Economics 84(4):517–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kahn, Shulamit. 1992. Gender differences in academic career paths of economists. The American Economic Review 83(2):52–56.Google Scholar
  23. Krapf, Matthias. 2011. Research evaluation and journal quality weights. Journal of Business Economics 81(1):5–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kyvik, Svein, Berit Karseth, Jan A. Remme, and Stuart Blume. 1999. International mobility among nordic doctoral students. Higher Education 38(4):379–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lähteenmäki, Satu, and Anni Paalumäki. 1993. The retaining and mobility motivations of key personnel: dependencies in the Finnish business environment. International Journal of Human Resource Management 4(2):377–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lane, William R., Stephen W. Looney, and James W. Wansley. 1986. An application of the Cox proportional hazard model to bank failure. Journal of Banking and Finance 10(4):511–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Long, J. Scott, and Robert McGinnis. 1985. The effects of the mentor on the academic career. Scientometrics 7(3–6):255–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lunn, Mary, and Don McNeil. 1995. Applying Cox regression to competing risks. Biometrics 51(2):524–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Melin, Göran. 2004. Postdoc abroad: inherited scientific contacts or establishment of new networks? Research Evaluation 13(2):95–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Muschallik, Julia, and Kerstin Pull. 2015. Mentoring in higher education: Does it enhance mentees’ research productivity? Education Economics 24(2):210–223. doi: 10.1080/09645292.2014.997676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pellens, Maikel. 2012. The motivations of scientists as drivers of international mobility decisions, working paper, University of Leuven. Google Scholar
  32. Reinartz, Werner. 2011. Discussion of “quantitative and qualitative rankings of scholars”: feeling good or feeling right? Schmalenbach Business Review 63(1):109–114.Google Scholar
  33. Richardson, Julia, and Steve McKenna. 2002. Leaving and experiencing: Why academics expatriate and how they experience expatriation. Career Development International 7(2):67–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rost, Katja, and Bruno S. Frey. 2011. Quantitative and qualitative rankings of scholars. Schmalenbach Business Review 63(1):63–91.Google Scholar
  35. Schulze, Günther G., Susanne Warning, and Christian Wiermann. 2008. What and how long does it take to get tenure? The case of economics and business administration in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. German Economic Review 9(4):473–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Spence, Michael. 1973. Job market signaling. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 87(3):355–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Stahl, Günther, and Jean-Luc Cerdin. 2004. Global careers in French and German multinational corporations. Journal of Management Development 23(9):885–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft für Betriebswirtschaft e.V. (SG) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.School of Business and EconomicsUniversity of TübingenTuebingenGermany

Personalised recommendations