Academic Salaries around the World

There have been quite some controversies about the salaries of university leaders, especially those in the public sector. Philip Altbach and his colleagues from the Boston College Center for International Higher Education have now published a report comparing the salaries of academics around the world. Here are the results, summarised in one single picture: Conclusion? It pays of to work hard in order to get to the top, especially in South Africa, New Zealand and above all, Saudi Arabia. Not so in France and Germany (surprise?). Furthermore, an advice for academics who aspire…Read more …

Philantropy & Higher Education

Universities are becoming popular with donors. A recent report from private banking firm Coutts in association with The Centre for Philanthropy, Humanitarianism and Social Justice University of Kent showed that in the UK, rich donors are more likely to give to universities than any other good cause. The Coutts Million Pound Donors Report (pdf) indicates that higher education received 45 donations of over a million pounds in 2006-2007. The total value of million-pound-plus donations to higher education was £296.5 million. Of direct donations over 1 million pounds in the UK, 42% went to…Read more …

Authoritarianism or Participation? That’s the Question!

Is China proving that developing countries are better off under an authoritarian regime that focuses on developing the economy, rather than under a democratic regime that gives emphasis to political participation? It's the question posed by Randall Peerenboom from UCLA in his new book China Modernizes: Threat to the West or Model for the Rest? He tries to answer the question by exploring China's economy, its political and legal system, and its record on civil, political and personal rights. Peerenboom's answer is "yes". At the forum of the Far Eastern Economic Review, Nicholas…Read more …

Eronomics 101

Isn't economics wonderful? It gives answers to all important questions in life. It even provides the tools for 'understanding the preferences underlying the search for a mate'. Or in other words, an economist goes to a bar and solves the mysteries of dating. At a local bar just off the Columbia campus, Raymond Fisman ran a speed-dating experiment with two psychologists, Sheena Iyengar and Itamar Simonson, and fellow economist Emir Kamenica. Some of their findings confirm the well known clichés, stereotypes and prejudices, other findings are more surprising: 260Read more …

Barclays Financial Center

The outcome of the battle for ABN Amro between the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Barclays will not just affect the banking sector but also have an impact on Dutch higher education. The Volkskrant reports this morning that Barclays wants to invest 20 Million Euros in the Facult of Economics of the University of Amsterdam. The university can use the money to attract top professors in order to improve the quality of its education and research. In return, the faculty will change the name of 'part of its faculty' into the Barclays…Read more …

Asian Godfathers: Collusion of Business & Politics

Another book to add to my ‘to-read-list’: Asian Godfathers: Money and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Newsweek has an article by the author of the book, Joe Studwell. Studwell had expected that the Asian crisis ten years ago would trigger the transition from crony capitalism to a market free of manipulation by bureaucrats and politicians. After the research for his book, he concludes that he was wrong: The architecture of the Southeast Asian economy remains what it was 10 and 50 and 100 years ago. The domestic economies of Hong Kong,…Read more …

Graduates and the Australian Labour Market

Meanwhile, in Australia a discussion is going on about the supply and demand of graduates. Are there enough university graduates or too few, or maybe even too many? And if there is a gap between supply and demand, how can this gap be filled by changing the supply? Or is there simply no such thing as an oversupply of high quality graduates in the knowledge economy? Bob Birrell, Daniel Edwards and Ian Dobson from Monash University published a paper emphasizing the widening gap between demand for and supply of university graduates. 196Read more …

W-E-B links for Today: Economists

What did the internets bring me today? A lot of economists: World news today - former economics professor Dominique Strauss-Kahn is nominated for the IMF: a socialist unafraid of free markets Education & Science news today - one economic school of thought - the orthodox neo-classical economists - are monopolising economics departments, leaving no place for heterodoxy Blog post today - Nicolai Foss, of the Copenhagen Business School, blogging on Organizations and Markets about the imperfect market for brilliant economics articlesRead more …

Reith Lectures 2007

Today the BBC starts another episode in their Reith Lecture Series. The BBC has broadcasted the series since 1948. The Reith lecture series were initiated by Sir John Reith, the first director general of the BBC. He maintained that broadcasting should be a public service which enriches the intellectual and cultural life of the nation. In its long history the series have covered a wide range of topics in the sciences and social sciences. The first Reith lecturer was philosopher Bertrand Russel, speaking about the Authority and the Individual. In economics and the…Read more …

India Rising (or part of it)

Last year October I made my first visit to India. I had heard a lot of stories and read numerous articles about the 'Rise of India' (Thomas Friedman probably topping the list in terms of optimism). So...I arrived with high expectations. After arriving in Delhi Airport, staying three days in Delhi and travelling two weeks through Rajasthan, I was becoming more and more fascinated and disappointed at the same time.Of course I hadn't expected India to have turned in to one big IT science park in just one or two decades (although some…Read more …

Economic Benefits of Higher Education

Universities UK - the umbrella organisation of the Vice-Chancellors in the UK - issued a report (by Pricewaterhouse Coopers) last week on the private economic benefits of getting a degree. The report shows that higher education is still a very good investment: university graduates earn on average about a quarter more than young people who leave school after their A-levels. In total, a degree will bring average additional earnings of £160,000 over a working life. Some more findings:Financial benefit is greatest for men from lower socio-economic groups or from families from lower levels…Read more …

The Globally Integrated Enterprise

IBM's CEO Samuel J. Palmisano claims that the Multinational Corporation (MNC), one of the primary agents of globalisation, is taking on a new form: The Globally Integrated Enterprise. A post of the Dutch blog Sargasso pointed me to this article in this month's edition of Foreign Affairs (the article can also be downloaded from the IBM website).Although international trading enterprises were already in existence in the 17th and 18th century (e.g. the British or the Dutch East India Company), the first international corporations emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. These corporations were mainly based…Read more …

The costs of free education?

Higher Education in 'Old Europe' has had some pretty bad exposure again. Examples from Germany and France show that free education can be pretty costly. The Dutch ScienceGuide has a small item on an awkward German issue. Roughly translated and summarised: Five lecturers for 3000 students in German Linguistics was not sufficient at Paderborn University. "One professor had been ill for a long time and another lectureship was discontinued" the students complained and they took matters in their own hands. They collected money and recruited a lecturer from Bielefeld. She responded: "Of course…Read more …

Multi Billion Pound Meltdown

One evening of BBC News:Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UKUniversity offer 'will cost jobs' Many universities will struggle to honour a pay offer to their staff of 12.6%, a vice-chancellor has said.Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 22:45 GMT 23:45 UK'Meltdown' threat to universities Universities will face "meltdown" unless the dispute over lecturers' pay is quickly resolved, a union leader is expected to warn.Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 22:56 GMT 23:56 UKUniversities 'worth 45 billion Pounds a year' Higher education is worth 45 billion Pounds a year to the UK economy - more than…Read more …

Solid Growth, New Challenges

This morning I attended the launch of the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific Regional Update. For the first time, the launch came directly from Sydney; previously it was launched in Washington and presented in Australia by videoconferencing. This twice yearly snapshot of economic development in East Asia was presented by Jeff Gutman (WB Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific) and Dr Homi Kharas (WB Chief Economist for East Asia and the Pacific). The title was 'solid growth, new challenges' and pretty much covered the message: a lot of optimism, but…Read more …