Friday, March 28, 2008

Everybody likes being number one- even Economists

An interesting comment by Bhagwati on university politics (it is 10 minutes into the end of the podcast, talking about Japan bashing);

Everybody likes being number one, .. is almost an obsession…in the way our culture is… When we were trying to hire Robert Barro from Harvard to Columbia...We happen to have the largest apartment on campus, we actually gave 4 rooms away when our daughter went to Yale, because we don’t derive our utility from how large over apartment is, or how big our office,…may be we’re just crazy people, I guess

We were told, even with seven rooms left over in our apartment...,not to invite Robert Barro to our apartment, because he would want one more room than we had.

Fighting Raids;
The University of California at Berkeley announced last week that it has raised a $1.1 billion fund to fight raids on its faculty by wealthier private universities, such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford. The money will endow chairs for 100 professors and facilitate raises for Berkeley professors who now often earn as much as 30 percent less than their counterparts at private universities.

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said Berkeley would revamp the management of its $2.9 billion endowment, too, in hopes of matching the 25+ percent returns achieved in recent years by the most successfully-managed private university portfolios.

It is a hopeful sign for the nation’s highest-ranked public university. Perhaps it will be enough to counter over the next few years the threat reported here last week to one of the nation’s most creative economics departments.

Mineshaft Canary

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