Phi Beta Cons

How Much Is Faculty Research Worth?

That’s one of the key questions Rich Vedder poses in this op-ed, which ran in the Austin American-Statesman.

Looking at the data Texas A&M has collected, he finds that professors who teach few students do a goodly amount of research. But what is the value of that work compared with the value that could be had if they were teaching instead? We have no idea about the value of the research because there is no price on it. This is reminiscent of the “calculation debate” over socialism. Ludwig von Mises observed that economic planners under socialism would never know whether they were using resources wisely or foolishly because they would have no market prices to guide their decisions. Universities are in the same boat, assigning various combinations of teaching and research to faculty members without prices to guide them.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Most Popular


If Amy Wax Is Wrong, Let’s See the Data

Regarding the kerfuffle Jason Richwine addressed here earlier, the economist Glenn Loury has posted an impassioned plea to his Facebook page. Loury, you may recall, hosts the video blog where Wax made her controversial claim that black students at Penn Law School rarely graduate in the top half of the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

San Francisco Bans Fur Sales

San Francisco has banned the sale of fur. From the CBS-SF story: San Francisco has become the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of fur clothing and products. Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure that prohibits the sale of fur clothes, accessories, even souvenirs in stores and ... Read More

For the First Time in Weeks, Relief Sweeps over Austin

Making the click-through worthwhile: The Austin bomber is done in by one of his own devices; some new numbers suggest that a small but significant portion of Trump voters are tiring of the chaos and aren’t showing up to support other Republicans in 2018; and the mixed news for conservatives coming out of the ... Read More

The Baleful Effect of #MeToo on Campus

Remember the series of hurricanes that pounded the Caribbean last summer? Something like that has been occurring on college campuses, as they're hit by one destructive mania after another: diversity, Title IX, anti-speech protests. Now it's the #MeToo Movement. In this Martin Center article, British academic ... Read More
Politics & Policy

A Time for Choosing

This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference was controversial. Invitations to European nationalist populists such as Nigel Farage and Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (the niece of Marine Le Pen) caused many longtime conservatives to question whether they still belong to the conservative movement. Vocal critics ... Read More