chapter  2
9 Pages

The Neoclassical Labor Market Model and the Academic Marketplace

ByLionel S. Lewis

The neoclassical labor market model assumes that both buyer and seller are informed and guided by economic rationality, and that the exchange takes place where supply and demand intersect. An implication of the neoclassical labor market model is that the buyer offers remuneration consistent with the marginal value that services at a given level of skill will add to productivity. Most simply, a labor market is the locus for the meeting of the supply and demand of labor services. Prestige rather than economic reward is of paramount concern to sellers in many exchanges in the academic labor market. The prestige of a hiring institution often figures prominently in the calculations of faculty seeking an academic position. For most of the twentieth century and certainly since World War II, with the exception of the 1960s, the academic marketplace has favored buyers rather than sellers.