Monday, January 17, 2011

Elites and Gaming

I posted a piece over on moneylaw about a shameful law school ranking that is now posted on the internet. It's not shameful because its rankings may or may not be correct but because of the strategic voting revealed. Roughly it was a ranking of 57 law school. A huge number of the respondents ranked the school where they are teaching or the one from which they graduated number 1 and all the others tied for last. In short, they did the maximum possible to have the ranking show what they wanted it to show and not the reality. And, like someone who cheats on an exam and then boasts about it, they no doubt wave the ranking around as though it is gospel.

Should anyone be surprised? Of course not. Elite gaming of any system is the norm. Let's not count all the ways but clearly sending out articles to be reviewed by pals is one way. And, it includes legacy admissions to elite schools. The fact is with elites it's always about show more than go. A talk to the local Women's club becomes a "presentation" to be included on a resume. A two page book review becomes "My piece in Harvard." Not writing things down for fear of losing deniability is one of their favorites. And if you are a parent be sure to feed your kid a performance enhancing drug when they take the SAT.

Do non elites game the system? I suppose so but I honestly believe they do not display the same level of obsession.

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