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The Rise of Professors of Economics and Business Studies in Switzerland

Between Scientific Reputation and Political Power

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 August 2017

Thierry Rossier
Affiliation:
IEPHI, Lausanne [thierry.rossier@unil.ch]
Felix Bühlmann
Affiliation:
Université de Lausanne [Felix.Buhlmann@unil.ch]
André Mach
Affiliation:
Université de Lausanne [Andre.Mach@unil.ch].
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Abstract

This paper studies the rise of professors of economics and business studies in the second half of the 20th century in Switzerland. It focuses on three types of power resources: positions in the university hierarchy, scientific reputation and extra-academic positions in the economic and political spheres. Based on a biographical database of N = 487 professors, it examines how these resources developed from 1957 to 2000. We find that professors of economic sciences were increasingly and simultaneously successful on all three studied dimensions – especially when compared to disciplines such as law, social sciences or humanities. This evolution seems to challenge the notorious trade-off between scientific and society poles of the academic field: professors of economics and business increased their scientific reputation while becoming more powerful in worldly positions. However, zooming in on their individual endowment with capital, we see that the same professors rarely hold simultaneously a significant amount of scientific and institutional capital.

Résumé

Cet article étudie l’affirmation des professeurs d’économie politique et de gestion d’entreprise durant la seconde moitié du xxe siècle en Suisse. Il se centre sur trois types de ressources de pouvoir : positions dans la hiérarchie universitaire, réputation scientifique et positions extra-académiques dans les sphères économique et politique. A partir de données biographiques au sujet de N = 487 professeurs, il examine comment ces ressources se sont développées entre 1957 et 2000. Nos résultats montrent que les professeurs de sciences économiques ont de plus en plus de succès dans les trois dimensions étudiées – spécialement si on les compare à d’autres disciplines comme le droit ou les sciences humaines et sociales. Cette évolution semble infirmer la soi-disant incompatibilité entre le pôle scientifique et le pôle mondain du champ académique : en effet les professeurs d’économie et de gestion augmentent leur réputation scientifique tout en occupant de plus en plus de positions exécutives au sein et en dehors de l’académie. Cependant, si l’on se penche sur la dotation individuelle en capital, nous voyons que ce sont rarement les mêmes professeurs qui détiennent de manière simultanée un volume important de capital scientifique et institutionnel.

Zusammenfassung

In diesem Artikel untersuchen wir den Aufstieg der Professoren der Volks- und Betriebswirtschaft in der Schweiz der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Wir konzentrieren uns auf drei Arten von Machtressourcen: Positionen in der Universitätshierarchie, wissenschaftlicher Ruf und ausserakademische Positionen in Wirtschaft und Politik. Basierend auf einer biographischen Datenbank von 487 Professoren, untersuchen wir wie sich diese Machtressourcen zwischen 1957 und 2000 entwickeln. Unsere Resultate zeigen, dass wirtschafswissenschaftliche Professoren bezüglich aller drei Machtdimensionen gleichzeitig erfolgreich sind – insbesondere im Vergleich mit den Rechts- sozial oder Geisteswissenschaften. Diese Entwicklung scheint der notorischen Unvereinbarkeit der Akkumulation von wissenschaftlichen und ausserakademischen Machtressourcen zu widersprechen: Wirtschaftsprofessoren erhöhen ihre wissenschaftliche Reputation und ihre ausseruniversitäre Macht gleichzeitig. Ein Blick auf die individuelle Ausstattung mit Machtressourcen zeigt allerdings, dass nur selten dieselben Professoren gleichzeitig wissenschaftliches und institutionelles Kapital besitzen.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © A.E.S. 2017 

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