A Two-Level Structural Equation Model for Evaluating the External Effectiveness of PhD
structural equation modeling, multilevel analysis, latent variables, external effectiveness
In recent years the number of PhDs in Italy has significantly grown and purposes of PhD courses have expanded from the traditional ones. The analysis of the contribution of PhD title for job placement and employment condition of PhDs is an important tool for evaluating the quality and the effectiveness of PhD courses. For this reason, knowledge of the employment status and career of PhDs becomes essential and can help to reduce the gap between academia and labour market. The aim of this paper is to estimate a two-level structural equation model with latent variables to assess the external effectiveness of PhD. The analysis is performed using data from the research "Current situation and employment prospects of PhDs", commissioned by National Committee for the Evaluation of the University System (CNVSU) to the Department of Statistics "G. Parenti" of the University of Florence. The proposed measure of "external effectiveness" is a latent variable obtained by evaluating the level of satisfaction with the employment status of PhDs who achieved the title in 2008. The opinion was expressed one year after obtaining PhD on a ten ordered point scale. External effectiveness indicators used are Consistency with studies, Utilization of the acquired skills and Compliance with the cultural interests.