What’s driving universities to use more adjunct faculty

September 5, 2019 | Chicago Booth-Review

Over the past several years, policy makers and economists have increasingly voiced concerns about apparent labor-market monopsonies—markets in which employers have the power to set wages—in certain industries and areas of the country. Some have further suggested that monopsony power may help explain the slow wage growth of recent decades.

One such market, according to Chicago Booth’s Austan D. Goolsbee and Chad Syverson, is higher education. They find that US institutions of higher education have meaningful monopsony power over tenure-track faculty, although not over nontenure-track faculty—which could help explain the rising use of adjunct instructors in recent years.

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