Thursday, April 9, 2009

Orthodoxy Entrenching Itself Against Reality At Notre Dame

Mark Thoma at economists view links to a posting at Open Economics about the latest situation at Notre Dame University regarding its economic departments, As most know, the original economics department (now called "ECOP") there had many heterodox people in it, and the administration set up a new "econometrics" department to run the econ grad program in an explicitly "neoclassical" way. There was much protest by many, with basically nobody outside of there defending this, and the critics including many prominent conventional economists, such as Robert Solow, who declared, "the last thing we need in economics is another third-rate MIT graduate program." But the Notre Dame people proceeded with this, although the new department's chairman, Robert Jensen, declared a goal of "equality" between the two departments.

This latest posting reports that the goal of equality is being seriously tossed under the bus, with a collapse in teaching for the coming fall by ECOP. Lying behind this is total inequality in staffing. Four people were hired for the coming year for the econometrics department, bringing it to 19 faculty, whereas there are two retiring from ECOP without any replacements being hired, bringing their numbers down to 7. The poster, nkrafft, reports that these decisions are "being made somewhere between the dean's office and the provost's office." But the outcome has been denounced widely, with 200 people showing up for a talk by "Wolff" (probably Robert, but...?), and him denouncing this as ridiculous in the face of how the credibility of the orthodox approach has collapsed during the current crisis situation. Dumping heterodox and hiring orthodox looks very silly indeed, especially for an institution that is supposedly concerned with its social conscience.


Sandwichman said...

Rick Wolff?

Anonymous said...

Yes, it was Rick Wolff from UMass Amherst.

Eleanor said...

This does not seem the time to bet on orthodox economics.

Maybe this evidence that people in positions of authority are losing their minds under the stress of the current situation.