An Interview with Paul Romer on Economic Growth (transcript);
Russ Roberts: I think one of the reasons that we're so well paid relative to the average is the difficulty of entry both into our profession but especially into the university and it's hard to start universities.
And one of the reasons is because they do things unrelated to education that are much more difficult to copy. They create identity and lifestyle experiences that go well beyond the educational process. Interesting challenge.
Paul Romer: Well, the three ways universities get money—research grants, alumni giving, and then tuition—the research grants and the alumni giving set up very serious barriers to entry. Graduate education is funded almost not at all by tuition. If there were students out there with tuition dollars�funded by government vouchers�clambering for graduate education, we might actually see some entry into the creation of new fields of training.
Russ Roberts: Graduate education would look more like MBA training in the sense of its desire to cater to the consumer, which is missing from a lot of graduate education, as you point out.
Paul Romer: Yes and worrying if those people could actually get a job.
Just as an aside, part of why I shifted from an economics department to a business school is I think business schools are somehow the model of how the world should look— that we as professors should live in an environment where tuition is an important part of the incentives that guide what we do. And so I wanted to not just talk the talk from an economics department where I could ignore students and tuition. I wanted to come live and work in a business school and see if that really is the way more of higher education should look.
Watson on Summers: From Strange to Baffling
Well then, would $100 a barrel worry you?
The Difference It Doesn't Make- Thomas Sowell
Very few people have mastered anything that well beyond their own limited circle of knowledge. Even fewer seem to think far enough ahead to consider that question. Yet hardly a day goes by without news of some uninformed busybodies on one crusade or another.
Heathcare Q & A
Go Ahead, Rationalize. Monkeys Do It, Too.
For half a century, social psychologists have been trying to figure out the human gift for rationalizing irrational behavior. Why did we evolve with brains that salute our shrewdness for buying the neon yellow car with bad gas mileage? The brain keeps sending one message — Yesss! Genius! — while
our friends and family are saying,
This self-delusion, the result of what’s called cognitive dissonance, has been demonstrated over and over by researchers who have come up with increasingly elaborate explanations for it. Psychologists have suggested we hone our skills of rationalization in order to impress others, reaffirm our “moral integrity” and protect our “self-concept” and feeling of “global self-worth.”
If so, capuchin monkeys are a lot more complicated than we thought. Or, we’re less complicated. In a paper in Psychological Science, researchers at Yale report finding the first evidence of cognitive dissonance in monkeys and in a group in some ways even less sophisticated, 4-year-old humans.
France's National Audit Office ("Cour des Comptes"): 200 years and counting!
Crowdsourcing Government Transparency
Do immigrants raise or lower wages?
Deregulation and Electricity Prices