Tenure-Track criteria


Tenure decisions are, together with offers for tenured positions, the most important decisions the Department of Economics makes. Like offers for tenured positions, tenure decisions have an important and long-lasting impact on the development of the Department and its academic standing. They must, therefore, be taken with special care.

Tenure Evaluations

Tenure evaluations (mid-term and final) primarily consider the research contribution of the candidate as an indicator of his/her expected future academic performance. They are based on external and internal reviews of the candidate’s academic performance and achievements. Mid-term evaluations are necessarily more forward-looking than final tenure decisions. Successful mid-term evaluations do not preclude unsuccessful final evaluations. 

Tenure decisions are based on the quality of the written work, its reception in the international profession, and the expected quality of research to come in the future. The tenure-track committee should form a judgement of the quality of research by taking a comprehensive look at the actual work, independent of its publication or other indirect measures. 

Financial considerations such as the availability of a regularly funded, tenured position in the department’s personnel budget must not enter the considerations for tenure. 

Considering these goals, the following may currently describe an average successful candidate:

  • At least one article published in a top-5 general interest journal in economics (or equivalent in statistics or finance), reflecting the candidate’s quality of research and broader research agenda, and establishing the candidate as a leader in his or her field.
  • In addition, a number of published articles in top field journals and maybe further articles in lower ranked journals.
  • A “pipeline” of unpublished working papers and a strong expectation that at least one of these papers will be published eventually in a top-5 general interest journal.
  • The proven ability and readiness to contribute to the development of the group he/she belongs to in terms of mentoring graduate students, contributing to the writing of major grant applications (CRC, excellence cluster, etc.), and (broadly speeking) contribution to research excellence in the department.
  • A proven record of good teaching performance as demonstrated by teaching evaluations.
  • Tenure evaluations take into consideration the academic importance of a candidate’s work in terms of originality, contribution to his or her field, and impact on the profession. They are not based on numerical publication scores. Specifically, a top-5 publication is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for tenure. For example, a number of articles in top field journals can easily establish a candidate as a leader in a particular area. Conversely, even top-5 papers may not be scientifically strong and judged as such by the committee and/or the external reviewers. Moreover, even if the paper is strong, it may not be attributed to the candidate but rather to a strong co-author or her/his advisers.

What counts as a top publication may also vary across fields.

The top-5 general interest journals in economics are: The American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Journal of Political Economy, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the Review of Economic Studies.
The top general journals in statistics are the Annals of Statistics, the Journal of the American Statistical Association, and the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B.
The top general journals in finance are the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics, and the Review of Financial Studies.
When evaluating a candidate, the tenure track committee should consider the time since PhD (and the length of the PhD), considering publication lags that favor those who are out longer but also special circumstances, especially child-care duties.

Guidelines for Tenure-Track Faculty

Tenure-track faculty should know what to expect and on what basis they will be evaluated. Considering the goals and criteria stated above, it is particularly important that they aim high in publications and develop a coherent research program ensuring their visibility in their fields. This means in particular,

  • not to spread one’s efforts too thinly on different fields, as the time on tenure-track is the time to become a widely known expert in a field.
  • not to go for quick publications of low quality,
  • to assure a clear focus of one’s work recognizable by one’s peers.

In addition, they should build a proven record of good teaching.

Adopted by the Economics Department, May 2018

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