The University of Texas at Austin has published a spreadsheet that shows the cost-effectiveness of its faculty members
David R. Frazier / DanitaDelimont.com "Danita Delimont Photography"/Newscom/File
After carefully studying the spreadsheet posted here, I can now confidently say that I'm one of the world's leading experts on Economists' pay at the University of Texas at Austin. University of California academics have grown used to our salaries being public information so I welcome my UT friends to our club of "exhibitionists".
Other economists should join us by posting their 9 month salary next to their name on their webpage. Perhaps, the NBER could ask each of its family members to post their true 9 month salary next to their name. Such honesty would be refreshing and it would help Deans to decide who might be a tempting hire. Compensating differentials scholars would be able to write a high quality paper on measuring the "combat pay" that is required to lure someone from a Los Angeles to a Houston.
The more interesting piece of the UT experiment is its intent to design some performance metrics for each faculty member to judge their "cost-effectiveness". This is only fair. Education economists are helping elementary schools design "test score value added" criteria to identify which teachers are key inputs in the child quality production process. Such "good teachers" (those with a positive fixed effect) are likely to receive a bonus. In a similar spirit, the Deans want to know who is the Deadwood and who is the highly paid Deadwood. They want Wood that is thinking of slowing down and becoming "Deadwood" to be aware that the Deans will know that they have made this choice. Performance criteria do create accountability.