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Working paper

Academic Inbreeding and Research Productivity of Russian Faculty Members

The literature on the consequences of academic inbreeding shows ambiguous results: some papers show that inbreeding positively influences research productivity, measured in the quantity and quality of publications, while others show the opposite effect. There are contradictory results both in studies of different countries and within countries. Such a variety of results makes it impossible to transfer the findings from one academic system to another, and in Russia this problem has been under explored. This paper focuses on the relationship between inbreeding and publication activity among Russian faculty members. The results, using Russian data from the Changing Academic Profession survey, showed no substantial effect of academic inbreeding on research productivity. Inbred and non-inbred faculty members do not differ substantially in terms of the probability of having publications, or how many, although for inbreds such probability is slightly higher. These results are robust for different operationalizations of inbreeding and measures of publication activity. However the absence of significant differences in the number of publications may not mean the absence of a difference in their quality. The possible explanations and limitations of the standard measures of research productivity are discussed.