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PTR  ·  40 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 6, 2017

The GMU Economics department is an interesting creature to me. At my undergrad university, we had two ECON professors from GMU. One of them convinced Alex Tabarrok to come to campus for a keynote and short lecture, and I got to have lunch with him. Which was wild to me because I'd spent the past two years reading his (and Cowen's) blog, Marginal Revolution

GMU is also known for its donations from Charles Koch. Without going into specifics, it was common knowledge in the ECON department at my own school that both GMU-alum professors were on accelerated tenure tracks because of the funding they brought with them from their connections to the Koch Foundation. Of course, both professors were excellent teachers in their own right, but there's a strong norm of procedural justice among academe and this violated it so badly that it was an agenda item in the faculty senate for 3 years in a row.

One of the profs wrote a letter of recommendation for my master's program, so I hope it's obvious enough that I hold no feelings either way about what choices they've made in their academic careers. But, like I said, GMU is an interesting creature. I've been speculatively following high-level graduates of the ECON department for the past 5 years now and researching alums (I'm very familiar with Cowen, Hanson, and Caplan - recommended Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids to my wife). If anything's true about that department, it's a tight network of alumni.