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On the Governance of Social Science Research: The Replacement of Profession with Performance Contracts

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The majority of social science research is conducted within public or semi-public institutions, such as universities. Over the past decades, these institutions have experienced substantial changes in governance structures and an increased focus on performance contracts. Obviously, the new structures do not enter into a governance vacuum but replace existing profession-based governance structures. The present paper has a two-fold purpose. First, we map the key features and problems of a profession-based governance system focussing on principal-agent issues and motivational drivers. Second, we study the implications of the current changes in the social science research landscape along with central aspects of mechanism design, validity, employee motivation as well as the ability to establish socially optimal resource allocations. We identify a number of potential problems that may come along with the current changes in governance structures and suggest directions for alternative solutions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Public Policy
Pages (from-to)251-267
Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Research areas

  • University research, Governance system, Performance contracts, Profession

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