Friday, January 25, 2013

concavity in micro...

Is it just me or is the concave-ness property a conspiracy?


It makes equality Pareto-inferior.

Lame sauce.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

differential tuition, not the fairest

fyi: tumblr is still where it's at with the FERG and fuck yeah radical economixxx pages

In other news....

The University of Florida has been recommended to charge differential tuition rates to students depending on major. Majors that lead to lucrative job offers, like those in the STEM category, receive a discount or subsidy on the cost. Meanwhile, majors that tend to earn less on the job market, like the humanities, pay a higher sum.

Here's a few reasons why this is problematic:

-alternative economic intuition has lead other university to do the complete opposite, charge more for STEM majors since those classes are more expensive to run and the return on investment for the student is higher

-charging relatively higher tuition for non-STEM majors in a sense discriminates against those who are less likely to choose a science or engineering degree, i.e. women (and perhaps other groups too)

-this continues to reinforce male privilege; women often internalize their economic position well before choosing a college major, so would be more likely to study to become a child psychologist or an english teacher than a mechanical engineer, an economic incentive (like a subsidy) likely won't reverse this identity.

-similarly, stereotype threat exists, also not the most responsive to economic incentives.

-further, hedging economic returns to the state (in the form of future income tax from students) by offering this discount is problematic, the market is chaotic and who says we have real reason to believe STEM majors will continue enjoying a high ROI once economic tides shift?

Solution? When we needed more mechanical and agricultural research we did it once before in the form of land grant colleges. If we want to enjoy the social returns of having more STEM majors (across genders, ethnic groups, and identifications), then maybe free public higher education, across all majors and fields of research is a more accessible and fair idea.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The not-so-democratic university, conflict and costs

A recent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education makes a clear case for why college costs are rising- lack of power for faculty. The interests of institutions reflect less of those shared by faculty, and more of those held by administrators and board members.
"A common theme among higher education's critics is that shared governance is to blame for colleges' profligate ways, because faculty have too much influence over how money is spent. And the critics are right: Shared governance does play a role. But it is not the "shared" part of "shared governance" that has failed; quite the opposite. The fault lies in the withering away of the shared part. Reason and data alike suggest that the largest part of the problem is that it is administrators and members of governing boards who have too much influence over how resources are used."
So if resources are allocated less to the interests of faculty, presumably for teaching, then where is the money going? Not to professor salaries, as tenure track job growth ebbs off replaced with fringe adjuncts with lower wages and benefits.

 The article chalks it up to a kind of "bureaucratic entropy", where the number of administrators and staff grow faster than the institution itself, but is that enough to explain the past few decades of tuition hikes? Is this money being allocated "unproductively", and if so, what exactly does that mean?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Homecare work is work too

If I had to try summing up all the various reasons given to why looking at caring labor (that for elders, children, and the disabled) is so important to the agenda in economics, I'd say this article sums it up in dealing with home health care work:
" Establishing the legitimacy of care as productive, necessary labor — a real job — would recognize the realities of both our aging society and our service economy. It would also begin the long-overdue work of updating labor standards for the workplaces of a new century."
All that time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears that go into social reproduction- care, school, physical child-rearing, checking on old folks, making sure that everyone gets by- that stuff is important. And it's work. Hard work.