Historical Social Research

Thierry Rossier & Felix Bühlmann: The Internationalisation of Economics and Business Studies: Import of Excellence, Cosmopolitan Capital, or American Dominance? [Abstract]

In recent times internationality has become an indicator for scientific excellence arguing that it will create talent, diversity, and inspiration. But what does “internationality” really stand for in science? In order to answer this question we study two of the most hierarchized and internationalised disciplines – economics and business studies – in one of the most internationalised academic labour markets – Switzerland. Based on a historical database of 411 (full and associate) university professors of economics and business studies at three benchmarks (1957, 1980, and 2000), we investigate the evolution of internationality during the second part of the 20th century, and its link to scientific prestige and recognition. For both disciplines we find an increase in foreign professors and internationalisation of Swiss professors due to doctorial and postdoctoral phases spent in the US and other shorter stays abroad. This development can first be observed in economics, but business studies have managed to “catch up.” Using three negative binomial regression models we show that Switzerland imports excellence among professors and that high scientific prestige is linked to stays abroad, especially in the dominant US fields of economics and business studies.

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