Monday, March 12, 2012

Interesting article about the rising costs of education

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/business/college-costs-are-rising-amid-a-prestige-chase.html?src=tp

One of the more interesting quotes:

"Researchers have responded as expected to these incentives. But the additional papers they’ve written have added little value. The economist Philip Cook and I found, for example, that in the first five years after publication, many fewer than half of all papers in the two most selective economics journals had ever been cited by other scholars. "

Since being in graduate school I have often thought about exactly this point. The obsession with research has lead to more and more papers, most of which are uninteresting, at least in my opinion. But the marginal researcher is compensated much better than the great instructor, so academics focus most of their energy on research, despite the fact that many of them are not very good at it.

I think there is a benefit to having masters only programs for economics and other fields, where the students can learn all the tools and see what is going on at the frontier without being required to contribute to it. Especially since most of the contributions that I hear about leave me thinking "Who cares?".

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