A simple stochastic model of promotions is used to estimate the effects of cohort, scientific field, and sex on the rate of productivity of promotion capital (in this case, scientific papers) and promotion standards. The model follows the Yule pure birth process, which is characterized by two parameters. The birth rate is interpreted as an index of productivity representing the rate of production of capital (papers) necessary for promotion. A target level of output is interpreted as representing the criteria for promotion. Data from the NSF Registry of Scientific Personnel and the American Education Council are used to estimate the parameters of this process applied to the promotion of academic scientists to associate professor, full professor, and to tenure. Difficulties in application of the model to comparisons across time, scientific field, and gender are mentioned.
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