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In the QC Cégep system, incentives to stay longer were introduced (you can accumulate pension credit, with pension computed on your last 5,better years, up to 40 years... I delayed my own retirement for 5 years till this spring. Many colleges, including mine, are hiring back the retirees, due to manpower shortage.
Hiring for economists is so strong that graduates from Québec City and Montréal don’t want to go to Trois-Rivières, 130 kms away, because it is too far...
New profs begin on the 10th step of the pay scale (on a 17 steps ladder). The scale itself will be raised up to 7.81% on April 2nd.
Old guys (me) clogging the system are not a problem everywhere...

Jacques Rene,

The Ontario document talks about both colleges and universities, but I think this is mostly an issue for research universities, especially research universities outside Quebec.

I would argue that, in teaching-intensive institutions, productivity doesn't fall as much with age, because cutting edge research is a smaller component of the workload. Moreover, the salaries aren't as high. This is especially true in Quebec. At Universite de Quebec en Outouais, for example, the average salary for a full professor is $130,350, which is well below the Canadian average - and Ottawa/Gatineau is not a particularly cheap place to live.

Moreover, the debate here is really about p, rather than q. I ran into a colleague of mine today who has to be well into his 70s. He's still teaching. But he gets outstanding teaching evaluations and, because he's retired, he's paid at just above the contract instructor rate. I'm totally fine with that.

It's also about who gets to decide upon q. It sounds as if, in your case, your employer definitely wants to see q>0!

Frances - this is an excellent analysis.

It should be noted that a similar policy was adopted in the federal Accountability Act for public servants employed in the Govt of Canada.

Inter alia, the act ended "double dipping" by federal public servants ie of collecting both pension and salary. It achieved this by requiring that any federal public pensions received be suspended for any retired public servant who returned to the public service as an employee. The pension payments were reinstated once the public servant left the public service.

This did not apply to federal public servants who returned on a contract (after a 1 year cooling off period), which seems similar to retired profs teaching one or 2 courses on short term contracts.

If I understand the ministry discussion proposal, any salary compensation from the university to a prof, who was also receiving a university pension, would be reduced dollar for dollar.

If we want to retain any support in the wider public, that sees professors in the universities as a very privileged elite, we should support this proposal to end what is widely perceived to be unfair and unjustified "double dipping" in universities.

Problem with prohibiting double dipping is that you simply force a revolving door. We already hire retirees, whether from outside or inside. I can be barred from doing what I do best, or I could answer to the 9 hits I had last week on my LinkedIn profile...
The teal question is: What’s the most productive use for society? We don’t prevent plumbers from working past 65 even if they receive OAP,CPP and private pensions. There are even ,in QC at least, income tax credit for workers 65 and over....
A good part of the rest is sheer demagoguery. And yes it is easier to work past 65 at a higher income if you are an economist rather than a coal miner. Don’t blame me if the revolution failed.

Jacques René

"We don’t prevent plumbers from working past 65 even if they receive OAP,CPP and private pensions"

The appropriate parallel with plumbing would be teaching ECON 1000 at 8:30 a.m. on a contract instructor basis. Can we agree that neither one of us objects to academics who are currently receiving pensions doing onerous jobs on a fee-for-service basis?

The issue I'm concerned about is who gets paid, and how much, for research and elite teaching, that is, teaching the highly desirable seminars offered to a handful of selected students.

There are far more people wishing to be paid for doing research than there are tenured and tenure-track spaces in universities (except perhaps in a handful of applied fields, such as computer science). Research is, for those who remain research active, typically an enjoyable pursuit - it's not something like cleaning out a clogged toilet that you'd be unlikely to do unless someone paid you to do it. So I'm struggling to see the case for paying some academics salary+pension to do research when there are dozens of typically more productive younger academics knocking on the door.

There is no law saying that a person has to stop doing research when they no longer have a full-time salaried university position. I hope I'll still be blogging and writing when I'm 71 plus! The issue is only how much universities should be obligated to pay for that research.

Short as I hope to complete later.
Research should be hived off to research institutes à la CNRS. The main reason is that the Ph.D training system is a Ponzi scheme that is nearing its crisis point. A stable university system would let each prof train its own replacement. One doctoral student in a whole career...or we should admit that the current type of academic career makes no sense.

The best researcher I can read is not a Professor. She does work with an older Professor and is intending to invent an indoor workplace system of neuroimaging. She is Young but her teacher is older. Alot of output is determined by supports, such as a seven or eight figure research building. The Boeing story and chatter about breaking up social media giants suggest the ethics of technology is perhaps a combination of a Cold War era mindset and new applications to use the mindset.

So, it would be a serious mistake if universities start getting rid of incompetent professors?


Two responses: the real problem here is mediocrity, rather than gross incompetence. The 80 year old professor who publishes a minor publication in a minor journal, and teaches his course the same way that he's being teaching it for the past 50 years, and does the bare minimum in terms of departmental administration is not going to be fired for incompetence. A younger faculty member would produce more and cost less - but it's hard to get rid of the older faculty member simply because he's mediocre. Many faculty members go through periods when their output is mediocre for one reason or another - a string of bad luck with journals, aging parents, small children, health problems, etc. Identifying and replacing all mediocre faculty members would be untenable for the university - it would erode job security to an extent that it would become hard to recruit, and all of that firing and hiring would be very epxensive.

Alternative response: whatever the merits of getting rid of incompetent professors, it's a strategic mistake for university faculty associations to embrace any plan that would encourage universities to find more ways of getting rid of incompetent professors - see, e.g., Siow's work on the economics of faculty unions.

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