Thursday, May 4, 2017

Reflections On A Long Academic Life

Like Caesar’s Gaul, my academic life has been divided into three parts, each 15 to 20 years in length. The first period, 1965-81, was during higher education’s Golden Age. For many years, I received double digit annual salary increases, time off for research, et cetera. Because of soaring enrollments, faculty were scarce so their clout was pretty substantial. It was a great time to become a professor. Academically, I established myself as an economic historian, writing up to a dozen papers a year in the early 1970s, mainly on labor economics topics, like the positive contributions of internal and international migration and the economics of slavery. Federal involvement in higher education was growing, but from an extremely small base and the cost of college was falling relative to incomes.

The second part of my career was from 1981 to about 2000. This was my public policy phase, starting out with a stint with the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. It was the early stages of the supply side economics revolution, and I put my training in public finance to good advantage. In this period I turned out my most important academic work with my colleague Lowell Gallaway, Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America, but also began writing a lot for the popular press, which continues to this day. Lowell and I annoyed the daylights out of Ohio’s Governor (as evidenced by him attacking us at a press conference), which made me feel good in a way: more than some obscure academics thought our work had consequences.

More at:


Post a Comment


Copyright © Justin Urbas - Higher Education Consultant