Columbia’s president, Lee Bollinger, came to the school in 2002 with the goal of putting the university on a par with the likes of Harvard and Yale. He knew that it was nearly impossible to be a top university without a first-rate economics department. Undergraduate majors were surging; American universities awarded almost 40 percent more economics degrees in 2004 than in 1999, while most other majors were either flat or declining. And these relatively well-compensated graduates—the average economics major earns more than $40,000 per year in his first job—were, in turn, helping boost their schools’ position in U.S. News and World Report, which considers alumni giving in its rankings.
....Salaries were rising across the field, and there was a run on the top scholars; NYU is rumored to have offered Harvard’s Andrei Schleifer a $500,000 salary in 2003.
Including those forged on the anvil of sci.econ:
Vytlacil is...an applied microeconomist. At Stanford, Vytlacil studied the impact of education on wages and the effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment programs. He is also an innovator in the field of econometrics, the statistical methods economists use to analyze data. Vytlacil was a student of Michael Woodford’s during his undergrad days at Chicago and interpreted his former professor’s hiring as a sign that Columbia was on the rebound.The FLUBA Committee on Sraffadolatry considers this a setback for that movement.