An assessment of the first "scientific accreditation" for university appointments in Italy

Giovanni Abramo, Ciriaco Andrea D'Angelo

Nations with non-competitive higher education systems and with high levels of corruption, are more exposed to phenomena of discrimination and favoritism in faculty recruitment. Italy is a case in point, as shown by empirical studies, judicial reports and media attention. Governments have intervened repeatedly to reduce the problem, with scarce success. The 2010 reforms to the university recruitment system provided that access to the ranks of associate and full professor would now be possible only through an initial "scientific habilitation" to be awarded by sectorial committees of national experts. The objective of this work is to analyze the relationship of the recent habilitation procedure outcomes to the actual scientific merit of the various candidates, as well as to other variables that are explicative of possible practices of favoritism and discrimination. The analyses identify the presence of potential cases of discrimination and favoritism.

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