The higher education market for business professors and legal scholars, for instance, is one in which the professor is paid as if she took her services and sold them on what is commonly call the market. Which is where she, and her talents, manifestly are not. She is here, in the building next to ours, teaching our students and doing the same work we are. If my daughter cuts our lawn, she does not get paid as if she were cutting the neighbor’s lawn.No. Your daughter gets compensated in kind (room. board, perhaps Daddy picks up the smart phone contract or the car insurance, and he's there for difficult conversations) and doing household chores is part of the bundle. If she goes into business, the neighbors compensate in cash: and if the cash compensation exceeds the value received at home, she runs away. The same thing is true of business faculty that hire out at universities rather than on Wall Street.
The business professor has sacrificed the blandishments of the other market for that of the university, where she can work softer hours, have her December/January vacation, go to London during the summer on a fellowship or university grant, and generally live something approaching the good life — which is what being employed by a college or university allows the lucky who earn tenure. She avoids the other market — eschews the long hours in the office, the demands of travel, the oppressive corporate state — so that she can pick up her kids from school on occasion, sleep in on a Saturday, and turn off her smartphone. She may be part of a machine, but it is a university machine, and as machines go she could do worse. This “market” is better than the other one.There is only one market. There may be compensating differentials and incompletely substitutable workers. The mathematically competent introvert is likely to do better in the academic setting: it's worth the smaller university salary to avoid the demands of travel or what the author calls the oppressive corporate state (better viewed as the false bonhomie of being perpetually on display). At the margin, though, that compensating differential reflects substitution behavior by individuals.
But does she bring more value to the university? Does she generate more student hours? These are questions that administrators and business professors do not ask. Why? Because they wouldn’t like the answers. They would find that she is an expensive acquisition. Unless she is one of the Wharton superstars and appears on CNN Money and is quoted in The Wall Street Journal, there’s a good chance that the university isn’t getting its money’s worth.Really? Only those faculty who are also public intellectuals merit the relatively generous academic salaries? None of the students, anywhere, are being served, at all? Bizarre.