Age Dynamics and Optimal Recruitment Policies of Learned Societies: An Application to the Austrian Academy of Sciences

Gustav Feichtinger, Vienna University of Technology
Inga Freund, Vienna Institute of Demography
Alexia Fuernkranz-Prskawetz, Vienna Institute of Demography
Vladimir Veliov, Vienna University of Technology
Maria E. Winkler-Dworak, Vienna Institute of Demography

In a hierarchical, constant sized organization the annual intake is strictly determined by the number of deaths and a statutory retirement age. Faced with a rising life expectancy there is a fundamental dilemma of two conflicting goals of such populations, (i.e. an Academy of Sciences): to keep a young age structure while guaranteeing a high recruitment rate. In this paper we reconstruct the population of the Austrian Academy of Sciences from 1847 to 2005. Based on alternative scenarios of the age distribution of incoming members we then project the population of the Austrian Academy forward in time. We introduce an age-structured optimal control model to determine the optimal trade-off between the above mentioned conflicting goals. Our results indicate that it is optimal to elect either young or old aged new members. Moreover, we discuss some interesting policy implications of the obtained optimal recruitment policy (scientific excellence and life-long achievements).

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Presented in Session 156: Studies in Applied Demography