|Incentive||Intended Effect||Actual Effect|
|Researchers rewarded for increased number of publications.||Improve research productivity.||Avalanche of crappy, incremental papers.|
|Researchers rewarded for increased number of citations.||Researchers do work that is relevant and influential.||H-index obsession; list of references no longer included in page limit at many conferences.|
|Researchers rewarded for increased grant funding.||Ensure that research programs are funded, promote growth, generate overhead $$.||Time wasted writing proposals, inefficient use of public $$.|
|Maximum of two proposals submitted to an NSF program.||Discourage over-submission.||You’d have to be crazy to not meet your quota these days.|
|Teachers rewarded for increased student evaluation scores.||Improved accountability; ensure customer satisfaction.||Easy courses, inflated grades.|
|Teachers rewarded for increased student test scores.||Improve teacher effectiveness.||Teaching to the tests; emphasis on short-term learning.|
|Departments rewarded for increasing US News ranking.||Stronger departments.||Resources squandered trying to influence rankings.|
|Departments rewarded for increasing numbers of BS, MS, and PhD degrees granted.||Promote efficiency; stop students from being trapped in over-long degree programs; impress the state legislature.||Class sizes increase; entrance requirements watered down; graduation requirements watered down.|
|Departments rewarded for increasing student credit/contact hours (SCH).||The university’s teaching mission is fulfilled.||SCH-maximization games are played: classes are duplicated, turf wars occur over service courses.|
Friday, December 2, 2011
Perverse Incentives in Academia
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