Thanks so much to all of you who’ve been contributing such thoughtful comments lately. Here’s another one that deserves to be highlighted. I’d be curious to hear some responses to this…as it seems that some answers are called for.
Henry Rosovsky and Michael Spence were both economists and deans of FAS. While Spence was not as successful as Rosovsky it was not because of his relations with FAS faculty. Faculty did not dislike Summers because he is an economist, but because he was an arrogant, unprincipled, unethical and ultimately ineffective leader. But why did so many economists rally around him? Perhaps because he put his friend David Cutler in charge of the social sciences? Perhaps because economics increased its number of faculty appointments by a very large percentage even while other social sciences with large enrollments did not grow at all (Psychology) (History is the other social science to grow a great deal, I wonder why History and Economics grew so much?). Perhaps they liked Summers so much because he made such a big deal about “improving undergraduate education” but did nothing about the economics department which has very unsatisfied undergraduates? Perhaps it is because there is a dirty secret that the economists teach much, much less than other social scientists and humanists. They doctor their teaching loads with team taught classes where they show up a few times a semester and a lot of professors get credit for the same course and they make it look like they are teaching a normal load? Perhaps it is because he said out loud what the economists must believe about women not being smart since they had until this year only two tenured women? Or perhaps it is because he defended their friend Shleifer even while it deeply shamed the university? Or perhaps there are other skeletons in that closet? If Larry Summers had cared one iota about undergraduate education he would have gone after people in his own department and he would have asked them to teach a full load, to hire some women to tenured posts, to pay attention to their undergraduates, to show up in their offices instead of working at the NBER. If he cared about Harvard’s bottom line he would have stopped the process of economists running their grants through NBER and giving them the overhead instead of Harvard. Glaeser is a smart guy, unethical and sleazy, but smart. That is why he did not want to be on the radio with Richard Thomas, who is both smart and ethical and who could counter some of Glaeser’s self serving lies about Larry Summers.