Tuesday, September 29, 2015
GREEDY LAW STUDENTS BECOME LAW PROFESSORS: WHO KNEW? -- EVERYONE
I have written so often about the racket of being law professor that I get sick of myself. Sometimes I hear myself saying "Oh just shut up!" "Oh come on" and other things. Sometimes, though, you come across a gem of an article that sums it up in a way you never could. In this case, it is an article by elites about elites. Here is the scaled down version as I have not been able to crack to code to get into the full article in Science.
Anyone generally familiar with behavioral economics (or has taken a decent course in law and economics not taught by an ideologue) knows about the dictator game. Basically it tests whether you are selfish or not or, in more specific terms, do you exhibit self-interested behavior as economists predict, or at least assume.
Ray Fisman, Dan Markovits and other authors varied the game a bit and applied the test to three groups -- Yale Law Students, Berkeley undergraduates, and a panel selected to represent average folks.
The test revealed two things. One was greed as opposed to fair-mindedness and the other was an interest in efficiency as opposed equality.
It will not be a surprise to anyone on a law faculty but the Yale law students and Berkeley undergraduates were far less fair-minded and greedier than the panel of regular folks. Yale law students were efficiency obsessed, even more than the Berkeley students and both were more efficiency oriented than the panel of average people.
I know if no reason the same result would not be found among students of other elite law schools. [I do have one reservation in that they do not appear to have tested law students at schools other than elite ones. This leaves open the possibility that, on average, all law students fall in the greed/efficiency category.]
Look at the law schools most law professors attended and you know the reason law schools are bastions of greed, self-promotion, self-interest, bogus conferences that are vacations, misleading resumes, demands to teach vanity courses, demands for special treatment including two day teaching schedules, truncated semesters, and extra pay for just doing the job.
It was never a mystery to anyone who thought about it but law school hiring committees fish only in the ponds of the greedy and hypocritical.
Best of all is the final part of the article that I think is wishful thinking more than anything else:
"Elites—in both parties—remain baffled by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders’ appeal; and they prayerfully insist that both campaigns will soon fade away. Our study suggests a different interpretation, however. These bipartisan disruptions of elite political control are no flash in the pan, or flings born of summer silliness. They are early skirmishes in a coming class war."