15 Responses to New Pres Karl Scholz “handles university administration the way you’d expect an economist to handle it.”

  1. Anonymouse says:

    Better than “the way you’d expect a lawyer to handle it”. If you follow the link you’ll see it’s mostly about the purported downside of secret searches.

  2. Powerball says:

    “Scholz’s contract says he’ll make $725,000 in his first year.”

    IIRC, Schill made $660,000 in his first year starting in July 2015. This means that, accounting for inflation, the position of President of the University of Oregon has taken a real pay cut as well! The Board of Trustees *does* listen to the unions!

  3. honest Uncle Gangsta says:

    Effin’ A!

  4. honest Uncle Gangsta says:

    Seriously, the EW article is all about secrecy, the obsessions about diversity, pseudo-psychiatric evaluation (implicit bias?). Not a word about academics, the life of the mind (to use a very quaint expression), the (free?) exchange of ideas. Nothing about the crisis in the humanities at UO, or the strains brought by the Knight Campus. Really, I would be turned off, as a potential student, faculty member, or supporter.

    • moss defender says:

      the EW is truly an embarrassment….oh well the Emerald feels less guilty I suppose as they put out helpful investigative stories about where to walk your dog or take a selfie on campus or how to easily dump whoever you have been sleeping with….one negative result of having a overlord like megadonor is that UO need not attract smaller more mindful and reasonable donations so lower level supporters can just go jump in the river…..btw in case you missed it EW got sponsored by Google for some pathetic reason related to content that I will not even try to explain

  5. Environmental Necessity says:

    Even economists recognize they are pretty sh*tty at their basic job. They know a lot, of course, playing their modeling games and pretending that captures actual complexities (“as if”) but their performance as predictors is truly awful, worse than random: “the record of failure to predict recessions is virtually unblemished.” Flipping a coin or pissing up a rope is literally a more reliable technique for predicting future economic conditions than the collective wisdom of global economists. They can tell us nothing more about the future than a random person you meet on the street.


    • Anonymous prof says:

      Environmental Necessity — Academic economists are generally not in the business of predicting the future, e.g., when you should time a stock trade; when a recession is coming. By contrast, they are quite good – with very high standards of proof – at using econometrics to explain the the contribution of different factors contributing to an event or outcome in the past, distinguishing between correlation from causation. The models help guide hypotheses, clarify the question being asked, prevent circular logic, prevent double counting, etc. A lot of what you might read in the popular press about “economists” does not represent academic research.

      For what it’s worth, a colleague at my institution (not UO) used to be at UW-Madison with Scholz, and has nothing but good to say, considering the UO lucky to get him.

      • Environmental Necessity says:

        That is all fair, though I would add that if the retrospective view of academic economists does not ultimately yield predictive insights about the future it is relatively irrelevant, given the absence of time machines. Also, read the article. It is a longitudinal analysis of consensus predictions by the world’s leading economists from the world’s leading economic institutions from across the globe regarding several of their most important professional responsibilities. I don’t think “that’s not us” absolves academics; presumably those losers were trained by someone. BTW, I am not picking a fight with economists. I would not claim the other social sciences are really any better, it is just that the impact of their poor predictions are often of less consequence.

        • CSN says:

          The problem with economic forecasting is a little bit like one of the saws about military preparedness: the army is always ready to fight the *last* war they were in.

          The economics profession (particularly macroeconomists) works to understand the causes of recessions and build models to suggest policies that lower the probabilities of recessions generated by those causes. When those policies are implemented (which doesn’t always happen), the models predict that the probability of recession *from the causes they were built to understand* is low. But it’s a game of whack-a-mole (just like medicine): when recession comes, it comes from something you didn’t expect, because if you had expected it, you would have had policies/monitoring in place to ameliorate it. Note, for instance, that while SVB collapsed for reasons that sound in part eerily similar to problems in 2008, the bank’s staff correctly predicted problems with their strategy and the executives ignored them. Unlike in 2008, however, that failure does not seem to be generating a larger contagion, thanks to changes in the policy infrastructure generated by lessons from the Great Recession.

          The research on forecasting performance is a bit more mixed than the paper you posted. That same author has some follow-up work showing that forecasting is substantially more accurate for certain kinds of targets and in “more advanced” countries (which I always take to mean “better input data”). See for example https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0164070415000518

          The assumption that the forecasts that are published are in fact the forecasters’ best bet as to the future path of the economy also fails to consider the incentives placed on forecasters. See for example https://www.nber.org/papers/w22349

          Ultimately, I think the question “can the macroeconomic profession correctly predict future recessions?” is the wrong question and isn’t actually how you want to evaluate macroeconomists. If you did evaluate macroeconomists that way, you would be handing them a massive incentive to *generate recessions* in order to ensure that their predictions came to pass. And while I’m not a macroeconomist, one thing I do remember from my intermediate macro class is how easy it is to generate a recession if you hold the monetary levers and want to do so.

          Instead, I think the question to be asked is: “would people be better off in a world in which macroeconomists did not exist?” I don’t think so.

          • Fishwrapper says:

            My understanding is that modern macroeconomists successfully predicted twelve of the last nine recessions…

    • Cardiac patient says:

      yes, my cardiologist has given me ways to improve my health and strengthen my heart, but she has no idea when I’ll have a heart attack, so I ignored her advice and bought a comfy recliner and a larger stock of potato chips and beer.

      • Environmental Necessity says:

        For your analogy to be responsive, she would had to have claimed the ability to accurately predict the timing and severity of your heart attack, be hired and paid for that ability, praised for that ability, and feted by a media inviting her to prognosticate about your future, all while being wrong about the onset or severity of heart attacks, for anyone, 98% of the time. How would she know if a diet of vegetables would help your cardiovascular system if she had zero idea of how heart attacks occur or whether you are truly at risk and if at risk how much so?

  6. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    meanwhile bad state budget for higher ed proposed by gov. Oregon back in 45th place, with tiny inflation adjustment leaving higher ed far worse off. Is this connected to gov’s homeless and medicaid priorities? In any case, we voted for it?


    • Environmental Necessity says:

      This at a time when the Dem Leader in the House is from the Eugene, the Speaker of the House is from Corvallis, and the Senate President Pro Tem is also from Eugene. If only the other Dem leaders from Portland and living in Mahonia Hall (built by Ellis Lawrence) could find their way to see the value of prioritizing adequate funding for higher education.

  7. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    and don’t forget the story of the big poll showing a collapse of belief that higher ed is worth the cost: